BABY SHARK (Suspense-Texas-1950s) – G+
Fate, Robert – 1st book
Capital Crime Press, 2006- Trade Paperback

Kristin Van Dijk is a young woman who travels with her father, a pool hustler. He hustles the wrong person in a small town in Texas resulting in his murder, the beating of the pool hall’s owner and his friend, Henry Chin, the murder of Henry’s son, the brutal beating and gang rape of Kristin and the burning down of the pool hall by a motorcycle gang and their leader whom Kristin names “Blue Eyes.” Henry saves Kristin from the fire, takes her off to heal. When they find the case has been buried by the police, Henry finds her teachers. Her classes are in pool, close-in fighting and shooting. Kristin’s focus is revenge and she emerges as “Baby Shark.”

I really vacillated on this one. Although I originally listed it in my Top Reads of 2006, the more I thought, the more it bothered me. It is well plotted and paced with a unique protagonist, strong characters and sense of place. They story grabbed me at page one and didn’t let go until the end. Kristin, Henry and Otis are wonderfully drawn; you can feel the relationship grow amongst them. I was appalled by what happened to Kristin, but also by the actions she then took. It is a book about violence, friendship, revenge and trust. It is also that age old question of legality, which failed in this case, versus justice. What changed my rating from Ex to G+ is purely personal. I have a problem with glorifying the anti-hero. I shall be interested to see how Fate avoids her becoming a one-dimensional in the future. Although I understand why so many people rated this at the top, I just couldn’t. This one is up to you.

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