REVIEW

All Things Violent, Nikki Dalson

Review Written By
Gordon Duncan

“It was like someone was squeezing the air from my lungs. I slipped from the bed to the floor. The very same hardwood floors we put down three months ago were cool against my cheek and they said nothing about my tears”.

Determined to avenge the death of her best friend Laura Park kills the man responsible but has no idea what to do next. Luckily, or unluckily perhaps, the next man on the scene is Simon who just so happens to run a contract killing agency. Simon offers Laura a job, and his bed as well, and she’s now a contract killer who’s also sleeping with the boss. Making up the trifecta is Frank, Simon’s main killer who’s not happy about training the bosses girlfriend. In normal circumstances this shouldn’t end well but this is noir, so it may just end violently as well.

Laura and Frank are the best pairing in All Things Violent. Although Laura wants Frank’s respect and for him to trust her, she’s not going to fawn to get it. The reverse of this is that Frank respects and cares for Laura more than he shows and that makes for an interesting dynamic. Laura is of course the hero of the story and if you think Frank is some sort of new-age contract killer, his constant use of cupcake as nickname for Laura keeps any such thoughts at bay. Simon is not unsurprisingly the sleaze of the novel and things take a turn for the worse when he dumps Laura for someone else. As the title suggest All Things Violent doesn’t hold back when it comes to the violence. Each hit is chronicled in a series of almost short vignettes and as Laura’s confidence grows her confusion over the situation with Simon also intensifies and as you could imagine this could also lead to fatal mistakes. 

All Things Violent is a hellavu lot of fun to read and in this 21st century, where a girl should be able to aspire to be anything she wants, it makes me ask the question, why not a contract killer? Although it may be better if that thought was rhetorical, it is kinda fun to imagine.

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Once upon a time, Laura Park was a normal college sophomore with her best friend at her side. A year later, Laura was on a deserted road on the outskirts of Las Vegas killing a man. 

She didn’t expect to get away with it but she did with the help of a stranger named Simon who took her in, liquored her up, and broke her down. 

Soon the ambitious Simon introduces her to Frank Joyce, a man who would teach her how to become a stone-cold professional killer. 

Laura learns her deadly trade and earns her money. Twenty-six years old and she thinks she’s found her happily ever after. Sadly it all falls apart when Simon leaves her for another. Now some other woman, blonde and polished, all shiny and new, is living Laura’s happy life.

Heartbroken, but knife always at the ready, Laura waits for any opportunity to get Simon back. The question is, when she gets her chance, will she take it? 

In Laura’s world anyone can become a target, loyalties can shift in a blink of an eye, and when everyone is homicidal, people are definitely going to die. 

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