Book review: Sharp Shooter

Sharp ShooterMarianne Delacourt– Sharp Shooter (Tara Sharp #1)

Synopsis: (From Goodreads) Introducing Tara Sharp, a fun, feisty, kick-arse crime fighter for fans of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum.

Tara Sharp should be just another unemployable, twenty-something, ex-private schoolgirl… but she has the gift – or curse as she sees it – of reading people’s auras. The trouble is, auras sometimes tell you things about people they don’t want you to know.

When a family friend recommends Mr Hara’s Paralanguage School, Tara decides to give it a whirl – and graduates with flying colours. So when Mr Hara picks up passes on a job for a hot-shot lawyer she jumps at the chance despite some of his less-than-salubrious clients. Tara should know better than to get involved when she learns the job involves mob boss Johnny Vogue. But she’s broke and the magic words ‘retainer’ and ‘bonus’ have been mentioned. Soon Tara finds herself sucked into an underworld ‘situation’ that has her running for her life.

Marianne Delacourt is the pseudonym of a successful Australian scifi-fantasy author who is sold throughout the world

Review: Sharp Shooter is a fast paced crime fiction novel that I was instantly engrossed in and by the end was left wanting more. In her late 20’s, Tara Sharp is unemployed, newly single and now living out the back of her parents’ house. She has always had a knack for reading people’s auras and when it gets her fired and into trouble one too many times she needs to find a way to use this skill to her advantage. So, with the advice of a shrink, Tara becomes a student of Mr Hara’s wisdom and this quirky character with broken English shows her the ropes of how to hone her skills and make a living.

Tara is hired for her first big job by Johnny Viaspo, the lawyer of drug lord Johnny Vogue. She is hired to suss out Tozzi a basketballer entrepreneur married to a cocaine addict. Tension sparks between Sharp and Tozzi and this makes for an intriguing romance sub-plot. I can say that an author has nailed
characterisation when I struggle to retain my morals during a novel i.e.
encouraging Tara to snap up a married man! I would have liked Mr Hara to be a
bit more present in the storyline as he seems to disappear for most of the novel.

Tara is a big mouth larrikin from Perth, always getting herself into uncomfortable (yet hilarious) situations such as catching a thief with a cockatoo on her shoulder and no pants! Tara is really quite likeable though. She has quite a unique voice which took about 20 pages or so to get used to as she is a bit ‘rough around the edges.’ As it is the first in the series, there is a bit of backstory which clogs up early in the book particularly around her two best mates Smitty and Bok but it is told in Tara’s candid, witty tone so you aren’t left bored. I
also really enjoyed the Perth setting in the novel. I visited Perth a few weeks
back so I could easily visualise the riverside and main streets that the author
mentions.

I’m definitely hooked on this series and cannot wait to see what Tara gets up to in the sequel, Sharp Turn. The third in the series, Too Sharp! is due out in 2012 and the fourth, Sharp Edge in 2013. Check out the Tara Sharp website HERE. The author also writes YA under the alter-ego Marianne de Pierres, check out her YA site HERE.

4/5 rating

* I received a review copy from the publisher, Allen and Unwin- Thank you!

Sharp Shooter is available for purchase at Fishpond (free shipping in AU) and Amazon.

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