4 1/2 stars!
Michael Sykora felt this world collapse when his love, Christina, was raped and strangled. Her killer was a steroid abuser with a history of sexual assaults. Michael knew he needed some closure so after his associate, Sean, found the murderer, Michael made sure the killer would never bother another person. Michael found killing evil doers was providing a new reason to live so began his career as a part time hit man pursuing those who prey on the weak.
One day, Michael got a call from an old friend, Nicki. She was a former prostitute who Michael had a relationship with. Now, Nicki had gotten out of the street life and returned to school. She achieved her associate degree and worked at a women's shelter. One of her clients, Isabel, was constantly being beaten by her boyfriend, Antonio Lott. Nicki recommended that Isabel leave Lott before he hurt her even worse. Antonio thought that Isabel was telling Nicki about his cocaine dealing and child pornography distribution and wants to silence her, permanently.
Nicki can't go to the police because of her former occupation "Who'd believe a former hooker?" In addition, Lott had hidden some cocaine in her apartment so if the police came there they'd find the drugs and discredit her statements.
Michael agreed to help Nicki but learns that Lott has a gang that includes two cousins and two others. He also learns that police are investigating Lott and want to find who he deals with in the pornography so they are following him. How will Michael get to Antonio before Antonio can silence Nicki?
This is a well developed plot. The author states that she is influenced by Tami Hoag and James Patterson and her sense of drama might be due to that influence. Michael is a good protagonist. He has his humane features seen in dealing with his father's terminal illness, yet he cares for those less able to care for themselves. Nicki is also a well developed character. The author, Darcia Helle, states that she is also influenced by Janet Evanovich and Nicki seems like she could have jumped out of one of Evanovich's books to this one.
Overall, well done and recommended.