Thirty-Seven-year-old Karen Sullivan is a woman with a childhood secret. Raped by a teenage neighbour, when she was just twelve, Karen never speaks to anyone about her experiences. Self-employed, she skirts the law, working as a corporate hacker who can find out anything about anyone, just by their digital footprint. In Ready or Not, by AB Plum, Karen and her only true friend, RJ, are volunteers for the Kansas City Rape Crisis Hotline. In the middle of one of the biggest snowstorms to strike Kansas City in years, Karen is left alone in the Hotline building, when she receives calls from a “perv” called Seth, along with photographs from long ago, showing her, her teenage rapist and her parents happily smiling for the camera. When RJ is brutally raped and murdered, it seems the past has come back to haunt Karen, but how can that be? Karen’s father had told her, many years ago, that her rapist, Eddie died not long after her rape… but did he? What follows is a hunt for RJ’s attacker, in tandem with a grizzled and careworn Lieutenant from the Kansas City Police Department, who wants to catch this attacker, just as much as Karen does.
Ready or Not, is a fast-moving and taut suspense thriller that keeps the readers guessing and on the edge of their seats right from the get-go. Author AB Plum’s style is harsh and frantic, drawing the reader along at breakneck speed. The two principal characters Karen and Wiley are both drawn as extreme caricatures of the roles they perform and as such, they work together and mesh perfectly. The abrasiveness and walls of defence Karen has built around herself, over the years, are slowly whittled away by the Lieutenant’s persistence and equal amount of grizliness. In many ways, this story works because of the author’s ability to mesh these two characters whom in many ways are extremely similar. The twists and turns of the narrative are clever and artfully done, with the bad guys and their extreme narcissism, misogyny and evil, splendidly filling out the story. This was an excellent read and one I would highly recommend to fans of the genre. It’s probably not for the squeamish, but if you like suspenseful murder/mysteries, this one will be right up your alley.