Wild Justice – Kelley Armstrong

Wild Justice by Kelley Armstrong

Wild Justice is book three in the Nadia Stafford series about the eponymous hired assassin with a conscience.

Stafford, known professionally as ‘Dee’ (could be a stripper), is a former cop who has entered the market as a killer for hire, but with the caveat that she will only eliminate those who offend her moral, vigilante sensibilities.

This story sees Dee delve into a case that has major personal ramifications connected to an episode from her childhood. She enlists the help of her former lover, Quinn, and her ‘mentor’, Jack, and Jack’s ‘mentor’, Evelyn. Where do all these ‘mentors’ hang out? I want one.

Now where was I? Oh, yes, this is a reasonably decent book. It has its good points, such as likeable characters (even if they are all fairly one-dimensional and wholly predictable), and an interesting premise. The penmanship (penpersonship?) is good and the story flows along. The dialogue is consistent, if bland.

It has its bad points. OK, here I go…

What the fuck is it with some authors who have no concept of what it means to get shot. In this book, we have a hitman who is shot twice, once in the shoulder, and yet he strolls off as if a bee stung him. He then turns and pursues his two targets in a darkened park, even though they were the ones who shot him. For Christ’s sake, does Kelley Armstrong have any idea of how sore and incapacitating it would be to get shot? Shot! Fuck me pink! The world according to some authors is full of super-humans who can fight non-stop for ages without sustaining a bruise or cut or broken limb. The movies are the same. Cowboys beat the living shit out of one another, and then walk off, relatively unscathed. If they are damaged, they heal by the next scene.

It must come as a hell of a shock, for anyone who gets into a fistfight for the first time, to realise that getting punched really fucking hurts. So does getting kicked in the balls. Getting stabbed is not pleasant either. So take a wild guess, Kelley Armstrong, author of Wild Justice, as to how goddamn painful it would be to get shot, twice. Sweet suffering mother of god! She should try sticking a knitting needle into her ribs as a means of better understanding physical injury.

This story was written with big enough, and plenty enough, holes in the plot-line to allow Donald Trump’s fat ass to fall through whilst sitting on a pregnant elephant, accompanied by a herd of hippos gorging on cream buns. It’s goddamned ridiculous how a best-selling author, with talent and an imagination (as evidenced by her other books), could allow such indiscretions to creep into, and all over, a story.

Again, we have miraculous gadgets to help our heroes out. Does every protagonist in a modern novel have access to a technological whizz-kid? Where do all these whizz-kids hang out? I want one.

Some of the actions that are carried out by supposedly professional hit-persons in this book are laughable. I don’t need to be trained in the art of killing to know that a lot of what this author described would never happen. I believe that Kelley may have been watching Mission Impossible before writing this.

The character format is, in some ways, reminiscent of J.D Robb’s Lieutenant Eve Dallas series, with a comparable inclusion of a dangerously sexy Irishman. As much as I enjoy women across the world believeing that all Irishmen are like Roarke or Jack, I just wish it could be slightly more realistic. Nora Roberts never allows her roguish Irish hero to fart. They’re not really Irishmen unless they fart, overtly smell it, and then blame it on someone else, usually the woman standing closest.

The story also reminded me, vaguely, of Twilight, in that there are two love interests for poor Dee. But Wild Justice is not in the same league as the two aforementioned series. I feel that Kelley Armstrong really lacks originality with this story. As good as her overall writing is, she lacks creativity with this one, and it leads to what is a fairly mediocre book.

I admit, I would read Armstrong again. I didn’t hate Wild Justice. Yet neither will it inspire me to seek out the next, or previous, installment. Even the sex scenes were mundane. At least Nora Roberts knows how to depict great sex. I am left wondering if Kelley Armstrong is Victorian, or perhaps she has never had sex… with her eyes open…

Karin Slaughter states that Kelley Armstrong is ‘one of my favourite writers’. If so, then it must be because she makes Slaughter look good. And what the hell sort of name is that for a female author? How is Slaughter going to ever write children’s books without traumatizing the little ones?

Anyhow, Wild Justice wasn’t the greatest waste of time ever. Reading it was slightly more productive than trying to explain to a Zionist why it is wrong to steal another person’s land. If you are OK with gaping holes in a plot, a predictable narrative and wooden characters; in short if you enjoy Thunderbirds, then this may be the book for you.

And if you ever figure out where the mentors, and whizz-kids, and weapons specialists, and sexy assassins hang out, be sure to let me know. I want one of each.

Sult Scale rating: 5 out of 10. Only if you’re stuck for something better.