My rating: 5 of 5 stars
In Dirty Deeds, by Christy King, Cameron James is a private investigator in Chicago who only takes on special clients. When a guilty person slips through the cracks of the justice system, Cameron is hired to make sure that justice is served; an avenging angel. She’s been trained by the best, a man named Onyx, who holds a special power over Cameron and acts more as adversary than friend. Cam’s newest case brings her to Cole, a man who seems to be more than he appears, and as Cam digs into whom Cole is Cam’s on-again/off-again (currently off) boyfriend, Dev tries to renew their relationship. Things begin to quickly spiral out of control for Cameron as she learns that Cole and Dev are not who they say they are, and Cam’s business doling out her vigilante justice must take a backseat as her life spirals out of her control.
Christy has created a strong, powerful character in Cameron James. Cameron is confident and determined, unafraid to perform necessary castrations or deal out death to those who deserve it. She doesn’t let her size (Cameron is petite), or her appearance (think wholesome girl-next-door), prevent her from doing her job. In fact, she uses her traits to her advantage. She is a complex character, able to deal out swift justice, but has a burning desire to do right. (She never takes a case if she can’t prove that the target is truly guilty of the crime.) The story is fast-paced and filled with many revelations that will keep the reader on their toes. We can guess part of the outcome for Cam as the story progresses, with little hints deftly added to the story. But the actual revelation at the end is a surprise. In fact, I didn’t particularly like how the story was resolved – I had been expecting something different – but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a well-developed and interesting turn to the story. (I would have gone down a different path had I been writing, probably making it more obvious and less dramatic than what Christy has done. I applaud Christy for concluding Cam’s story the way she did.)
Some of the supporting characters are not as well developed as Cameron, but I think that has to do more with how the story is written (first person as opposed to third person) so we are not privy to the internal thoughts of the supporting cast. It’s a fine line to walk as a writer, and in this case, while I would have liked to have known more about what motivated Cole, Dev, and Onyx, their portrayal is perfect for the story that Christy has crafted. Christy adds in supernatural elements into the story in quick flashes and glimpses, allowing us to experience the new revelations along with Cameron. This makes the final reveal all the better as all of the puzzle pieces fit into place. Astute readers will guess as to who Cam is well before Cam ever does, but when all of the pieces are in place the truth will be a surprise.
I highly recommend Dirty Deeds to any reader who loves a good action-adventure thriller. There are undercurrents of romance and the supernatural as well that spice up the story and take a simple action-thriller to a new level of enjoyment.