Author: T. M. Goeglein
Series: Cold Fury #1
Publication Date: July 24, 2012
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 313 (ARC)
Jason Bourne meets The Sopranos in this breathtaking adventure
Sara Jane Rispoli is a normal sixteen-year-old coping with school and a budding romance--until her parents and brother are kidnapped and she discovers her family is deeply embedded in the Chicago Outfit (aka the mob).
Now on the run from a masked assassin, rogue cops and her turncoat uncle, Sara Jane is chased and attacked at every turn, fighting back with cold fury as she searches for her family. It's a quest that takes her through concealed doors and forgotten speakeasies--a city hiding in plain sight. Though armed with a .45 and 96K in cash, an old tattered notebook might be her best defense--hidden in its pages the secret to "ultimate power." It's why she's being pursued, why her family was taken, and could be the key to saving all of their lives.
Action packed, with fresh, cinematic writing, Cold Fury is a riveting and imaginative adventure readers will devour.
This is one of those books that can only be described as average. I didn't hate it, but I didn't necessarily like it either. I liked parts of it, I disliked others. I don't know how else to describe it. But I can say that for every book I liked more than this one, there's a book that I liked less, too. This book overall disappointed me and did not reach my expectations, but still delivered a good tale that kept me reading.
I went into this novel thinking that it had a lot of potential. After all, this is pretty much the daughter of a crime boss suddenly realizing she's the daughter of a crime boss when she comes home from the school dance on her sixteenth birthday to learn that her house was ransacked and both of her parents and younger brother were kidnapped. This book could have been so awesome, but it just wasn't. However, Sara Jane Rispoli does take us on some amazing adventures while she kicks butt and attempts to save the world one old mobster at a time.
What really should have made this book was the action. Some of it was really awesome. After all, Sara Jane had taken boxing lessons since she was seven years old due to the suggestion from her Uncle Buddy. I loved this part of the book because it did create such a strong main character and since it was incredibly obvious that this girl knew how to deliver a serious butt-whooping, I wasn't surprised that there was a decent chunk of fight scenes in this book. What I didn't like was that though some seemed really interesting, like knocking out a double agent cop with a fire extinguisher in the back of an ambulance, others can only be described as the written equivalent of watching a high school drama where supposed fight scenes include slow kicks aimed in the general vicinity of the mark but never truly make contact. It was all stage-play and hard to believe. A 16 year old girl fighting a guy twice her size with an insane, deranged three year-old girl's voice and somehow always gaining the upper hand? Really? I was rooting for her, too, but lets bring some form of realism into this, please.
Another thing that I had a problem with was the characters. Obviously, I really enjoyed Sara Jane as the main character. She was full of strength and determination to save her family. Her little brother, Lou, was a freaky genius who I admired. Her parents fell flat to me, as did most of her fellow classmates. The only other people I liked were Willy and Knuckles for their undying loyalty, though Knuckles was a badass gangster. Most of the characters were insane, holding grudges to the point that they'd risk lives or threaten the lives of others. Some of the taunts of the bullies in this book were pre-school level when they were in high school! Again, realistic instances should have replaced this childishness and the overall theme of adults being deranged due to an intense need for power.
Last but not least is the plot progression. I was ready to DNF this one for the first third of the book, but I kept pushing through it because I chose to read it and didn't want to put this book to waste. I'm glad I read it because once the story picked up and we got to the actual kidnapping instead of reading more about Sara Jane's past and her back-story, the book was easily a page-turner. It took a while to get into, though.
The ending was also disappointing. Clearly, this is going to be a series, so Sara Jane is going to be back kicking butt once more. But the book cut her tale off out of nowhere. The entire story she was learning about her family's past so that she could hunt them down and save them by running for her life. This book decides to cut the story off before she can find her family. As a reader, this frustrated me immensely because I felt as if this tale was incomplete and I was sold short in an attempt to make me want to buy the second book in the series whenever it comes out.
All in all, this was an average read. It had an amazing plot idea that could have been highly improved upon if this book underwent the editing process more. What this book lacked was realistic and believable scenes throughout the novel. It kept waffling between things I could believe, interesting tidbits like the use of Capone doors and the Rispoli rat army, to things that were beyond stupid and unbelievable. Even the title of the book taken from a special "power" that the Rispoli's had seemed slightly outlandish.
If this book underwent a more thorough editing process that added more detail and a slight re-write, I'd be a happy camper. Despite the long list of qualms that came with this one, I did find aspects of it enjoyable because it's been a while since I've read a thriller anything like this one. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a book full of action with a strong female heroine if their local library happens to carry it.
This book is receiving three stars because it's decent, though I am in no rush for the sequel.