The Kill Club

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 18 Feb 2020

Member Reviews

So you decided to make a deal with the devil....but the devil doesn't deliver his end.. or does he? Welcome to The Kill Club.

"First rule of murder club, don't talk about murder club." I loved this line! Wendy Heard has dished out a thrilling ride with this book. Upon starting it, the overall theme rang a bit similar  to another book I had just read- The Other People ( which I loved, by the way). Yet the concept may be similar, the story line went into a completely different direction.

Random murders are happening all over the city. People are terrified to leave the house, as people are being killed off in very public places. There is a serial killer on the loose that leaves his calling card...a playing card at the scene of the crime. Every victim is killed by an injection of poison that brings them to a painful death. By the way, if my Starbucks tastes at all funky, it will promptly go in the trash...just saying...yet the detectives are stumped, because the killer seems to get a bit sloppy at times and sometimes he is "dead on" perfect in his techniques.

I loved Jasmine- a gritty, hard working girl, that has seen some very dark things in her life. Working long days at Trader Joe's she is just trying to make ends meet. When her brother Joaquin's life is in danger, she feels she must do whatever it takes to save him. Would she have to draw the line at murder? Would you?
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Favorite Quotes:

“Okay,” I say, and in that one word is contained an ocean of acceptance. This is where I am. This is what I’m doing. 

I think about what the reporter said, that the people who have been killed have had records of stalking, domestic violence. It actually sounds like the voice on the phone is who they say they are. They invented a serial killer. The police are searching LA for a murderer that doesn’t exist.

I don’t know how I feel about this, morally. Is it bad to kill someone like Carol? Does she deserve the death sentence? Do I have any feelings about her being dead? … I remember the guy I saw die at Villains. I heard him scream. It’s definitely not painless. But then I remember Carol with her baseball bat crunching through my bones like glass, and I think, Good.

How is she so put-together at six in the morning? When I work early shifts at Trader Joe’s, I look like an orphan in a Christmas movie.


My Review:

This book was devilishly clever and fiendishly addictive, I was taut with tension and unable to put my Kindle down without deeply resenting the intrusion to my reading.  The main character of Jasmine was deeply flawed and horribly unlucky, and though well-intentioned she was a total screw up in every arena.  I cringed for her while simultaneously wanting to give her a smack to the back of the head.  The storylines were highly active, heartbreaking, twisted, brutal, gripping, and fraught with tension with unexpected and greatly welcomed glints of snarky levity and sharply edged wit.  This was my first exposure to the cunning storytelling of Wendy Heard and I was an instant fangirl, I greedily want to amass all her clever words.
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This book reminds me of something that I just can't *quite* put my finger on and it's driving me crazy!  This is one of those ripple effect kind of books.  You do one thing then that thing make another thing happen and so on and so forth.  When you're desperate, why wouldn't you take what seems like a fairly reasonable, albeit deadly, deal? There are rules set in place of course... and you must follow them, but sometimes you're just damned if you do and damned if you don't.  

I flew through the first 75% of the this book.  When the big reveal came, I was like.. wait, who? Somehow I was at a complete loss - that's how little this character seemed to take my notice. Oopsie! So I was fairly disappointed there. But then of course, it hit me and I was all DOH!  In any case, regardless of a rather muted reveal and a couple of questionable things... I really enjoyed this book.

Moderately paced, addictive and I just fell in love with Jazz and Joaquin.  And I also really liked the ending, regardless of the slight predictability. Ya Heard? *wink*
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When I first picked up this book, I wasn’t sure where the story was going. Less than an hour in, though, I knew I’d have to skip a few regularly scheduled chores to find out how it would all end!
Wow! I don’t start a lot of my reviews with this, but WOW! The Kill Club is the second novel by Wendy Heard, and I’m now definitely planning to check out her first (Hunting Annabelle, published in 2018).

I can certainly see why the synopsis is so short, as it’s hard to summarize this intriguing murder/mystery plot without giving too much away. It’s all about righting wrongs, for some of the underprivileged and underrepresented in society, and the author says at the ends that the stories are all based in truth. Besides Joaquin and Jazz’s story of abuse at the hands of their foster/adoptive mother, there are abused spouses, and a custody battle skewed by the legal influence of one parent. The secret network can help even the score, and get what most would think is the fair result in the end. Tempting, eh? If only things always went according to plan…

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys psychological thrillers. Based on the ending, I really hope the author follows up with another book with Jazz and Joaquin. I need to know what happens next! I’d give this 4.5 out of 5 stars. It was a little confusing in the beginning, as the story went from normal life for Jazz, into a chapter with a murder with the killer and victim completely unknown to the reader. A little further on it all fell into place, and then it was just ignoring the rest of my life and turning the pages as fast as I could.
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The Kill Club is dark and twisted and grabbed hold from the very beginning. This one is definitely a thriller with its many sit up and take notice scenes as we follow Jazz from one crazy situation to the next. Whether we should or not, it's easy to empathize with the vigilantes in this one, including Jazz and her determination to save Joaquin. The story does move at a fast pace with a steadily rising tension with the exception of a few lags here and there, and we also get a couple of solid twists. I'm usually pretty good at guessing the big bad in these types of stories, but I admit that I didn't see the big reveal coming, although looking back, I should have. We do have some hints if we're looking for them, but they aren't obvious by any means, and you have to think outside the box a bit to get there. I do think the story went on a bit longer than necessary after that reveal, and the extra twist at the end really wasn't needed. The book was already good, and the added twist at the end was just overkill in my opinion. Nevertheless, the story did hold my interest, and Jazz is a truly great character, one who is easy to like and root for. She's got a great sense of wit and sarcasm, and it shows up with perfect timing. In the end, this one did have a couple of issues with the lags and that extended ending, but I still enjoyed the thrill and would have to say that The Kill Club is my favorite book from Wendy Heard so far.
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The first rule of murder club ...What happens in murder club, stays in Murder club.

   could you murder a stranger if in return a stranger would murder someone who is harming you? That is the premise of this highly addictive game of cat and mouse. Jazz is running out of options as to what to do about her younger brother Joaquin and his foster mother who refuses to give him the insulin he needs to survive. When she receives a mysterious phone call with a solution to her problem, she is tempted. BUT can she kill a complete stranger even if that means she will be rid of Carol forever? Could you if you were in Jazz’s shoes?

   This is my second book by Wendy Herd. Both books have been captivating thrillers with unique premises and complex characters. I was completely sucked into Jazz’s Life, her hopes and her obstacles. The idea of a string of murders across the LA area seeming to be connected but with many contradictions was extremely intriguing. My heart was racing as Jazz got herself deeper and deeper into this crazy trap. Throughout the story I was not entirely sure of the good guys and the bad guys were, and if I’m being honest I still don’t. A compelling and disturbing story that had me on the edge of my seat and an ending that left me satisfied.

This book in emojis  📱 💉 🥊 ☠️  

🎧🎧🎧 The audiobook was narrated by Almarie Guerra. This is the first book I listen to from her and I think she did an excellent job. There are so many characters and different perspectives and she gave each of the characters a unique voice.

*** Big thanks to Harlequin and Harper Audio for my copy of this book ***
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Jazz (Jasmine) has not had an easy life so far. She lives in a small cheap apartment and works a boring job at a grocery store. Her only real mission in life is to take care of Joaquin, her 13 year old brother. She and Joaquin were fostered by a woman called Carol, but Jazz was badly beaten by her and as soon as possible Carol threw her out and bullied her into letting her adopt her brother. A religious fanatic, Carol often fails to give diabetic Joaquin his life dependent insulin, and, after one occasion where he nearly died, Jazz has taken on all responsibility for his health, even if she has to break into Carol's house to do so. The authorities are no help to Jazz and as Carol is becoming more deluded by her church's teachings, Jazz is terrified that her brother may die this time without her help. She approaches the school and makes a friend of the Assistant Principal Sonia who agrees to help her. Meanwhile detectives in LA are desperately searching for a serial killer responsible for what have been dubbed the "Blackbird Killings" after playing cards left at the scene, these are seemingly motiveless and without suspects. But someone is masterminding these killings and after she witnesses one of these murders, Jazz is contacted by a group offering to take care of Carol for her. Only there is a price to pay and that is to kill for them. When Carol blocks all access to Joaquin, Jazz starts to feel she has run out of options and agrees to their deal, little knowing that failure will not be tolerated by the "murder club". As things spiral out of control, Jazz has to fight hard and dirty to keep those she cares about alive. Fast paced, this was a real page turner, watching the story unfold from both Jazz's and a third person perspective. It was easy to have sympathy for the "killers" who all had suffered at the hands of their abusers and were not being helped by normal legal channels, and, although we get a glimpse, I would have liked to have heard more from their leader about how it had all begun. The author made a good case for how desperation could drive some people to murder in very risky situations when offered "help" and showed how things are maybe not always black and white. The characters and settings were all well described and felt very real, showing there is far more to LA than the bits in the travel brochures! Overall an exciting thriller with a very satisfying ending. 4*
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A special thank you to Harper Collins Publishers and Harlequin Books for the opportunity to participate in the Winter 2020 Mystery/Thriller Blog Tour!

"First rule of murder club. Don't talk about murder club. Got it."

With a Fight Club meets Strangers on a Train vibe, this book was nearly impossible to put down. You fly from chapter to chapter on the edge of your seat biting your nails to the quick wondering what could possibly happen next. How far would you go to save the ones you love? Would you kill for them? How far down the rabbit hole do you go before you do whatever it takes to get out? Jazz finds that once she's in the murder club there isn't a clear out to live the happily ever after she was promised. After all, she just had to accomplish one little task. Murder a stranger. Once she does this there's no going back. She must become everything she has tried not to be her whole life so that she can get the one she loves away from someone worse. But if she does this, does that make her just as bad? This was a constant struggle between good and bad as we follow Jazz on this wild ride to find out how far she will go to save her brother Joaquin from their corrupt foster mother, Carol. I honestly was rooting for Jazz to just go ahead and off Carol she was such a despicable character but I get that its not that easy. Too bad, because Carol was just plain awful. I couldn't stand a single thing she did or said and would have probably gotten myself into all sorts of trouble had I been put in the same place as Jazz. I commend Jazz on her ability to really think on this decision though and all the consequences that might come along with it. She didn't jump at the idea of murder and actually tried time and time again to say no. But once you know about murder club they don't let you go that easily. And soon our ever brave and moral heroine is dragged into the dark circle of murder and favors and once she's in she finds its a lot more difficult to get out than she was told.

The writing in this book keeps you in it until the very end. I read this in one sitting unable to tell myself to take a break. The chapters fly by as you try and find out who's going to pop up next and what might happen to them. The intermittent chapters of random characters read like a movie with cut scenes to other mystery characters in the murder club that we don't know at first but eventually we see how they all fit into the big picture. I was so involved in the book trying to guess who the Blakcbird Killer was the entire time only to find in the end it wasn't at all who I expected. I was also extremely satisfied with the ending of this book, wrapping everything up neatly and efficiently. There was a pretty sad part that had me pretty bummed but the rest was exactly as you'd hope it would be. This was my first book I've read by Wendy Heard and I think she now has a new fan. I'm going to have to start seeing what else she has that I can devour like I did The Kill Club. If you get this book make sure you have the entire day to devote to this intense read.

Just don't answer the flip phone that arrives in a mystery box if you aren't willing to pay the price of your freedom. Welcome to The Kill Club.
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I have to say The The Kill Club is one of the best thrillers I have read in 2019.  It's a hard one to review without giving away key plot points. The story is told through multiple points of view with the main focus on Jazz.  Jazz is just trying to figure out how to get her foster brother out of the clutches of their religious fanatic foster mother.  She is approached with a tempting opportunity that could solve all of her problems.  But, it comes at a cost that she isn't sure she is willing to pay.  The use of multiple view points really worked for the story.  It helped move the plot along while giving away key information just at the right pace.  If you are looking for a fast paced thriller with several twists and a chilling ending, I highly recommend this one.
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Loved the concept of this "eye for an eye, quid pro quo" kind of book.  

"First rule of murder club, don't talk about murder club." 

4.5 stars.  This really has you guessing almost the whole time of who is behind it, how are they finding people to contact, can you really ever trust anyone?  There were a couple of spots where my jaw dropped, I had to reread a section or I said "What?!?" out loud.  It was such a fun ride.  I really felt for Jasmine and Joaquin, I really questioned what I would do about Carol myself if I ever had someone in that situation.  Fantastic thriller.  

*I received an e-arc from publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
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Random murders are happening all over Los Angeles. People are being killed in very public places. These murders are linked and the police are advising people that there is a serial killer on the loose, Victims are injected with a poison that results in a very painful death. "The Blackbird" leaves his calling card, a playing card, at the scene of the crime. The killer is slick, until he starts to make mistakes. Jazz, a young woman who was raised in foster care, is trying to take care of her young brother who has been adopted by their foster mother, Carol. She is a religious fanatic and refuses to fill his prescriptions for insulin or even take him to a doctor's appointment. Jazz finds out that she has pulled Joaquin from school and moved from her house. Jazz is worried that he will die. Enter, the murder club, as she calls it. Would you be willing to kill a person who is a danger from a stranger's life in exchange for an equally bad person being eliminated from yours? A bit of quid pro quo. Jazz agrees, as she wants to get rid of Carol, once and for all. Things do not always work out as planned. People get nervous, someone knows someone else, you stick the needle in the wrong spot. What is happening. I love the line, "First rule of murder club, don't talk about murder club." that Jazz coins. What follows is a twisty, thriller that kept me hooked from start to finish.

I loved the character of Jazz. She was a tough, kick-ass heroine, who only gets involved in order to save her brothers life. We learn more and more about Jazz and her relationship with Carol and Joaquin, that just made me love Jazz more and dislike Carol immensely. She was not an inherently bad person, but has very dangerous beliefs, bordering on mental health concerns. Jazz is afraid to develop relationships with anyone due to her past, but when she finally takes a chance, it leads her down a path she can't turn back on. The plot of this book was well-written. It started with a bang and got even more frenzied as the story went on. I had no idea who was behind the Kill Club, or the Blackbirds until the final reveal and it blew me away. This was a story that I was not expecting and I am glad I read/listened to it. I recommend this one to anyone who enjoys a fast-paced thriller with a satisfying ending.
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Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for my honest review

This was exactly what I was needing when I picked this new thriller up. THE KILL CLUB by Wendy Heard was an addictive and really quick read. I flew through the first 80ish percent of the book and couldn’t put it down. From the very start, Heard ramps up the pacing and sucks you in. This was my introduction to Heard and I will definitely be picking up her other book the next time I’m at the bookstore!

Talk about one hell of a plot – would you kill an evil person in someone else’s life it if meant someone just as evil in your life would be killed? Of course, all things come at a price, but how far are you willing to go to save those you love? Well, this is the situation that Jazz finds herself in. She desperately is trying to save her younger brother Joaquin from their religiously zealous foster mother, Carol. The Kill Club can solve her problems, but there’s a catch, she must kill someone else.

I loved the characters of Jazz and Joaquin – their relationship with each other felt so real and both were flawed in their own ways. The only real reason why this wasn’t a 5 star read for me was that the end felt a little lackluster in comparison to the rest of the book. Otherwise this was an incredible read. I would highly recommend this to those wanting a quick thriller with a plot that will make you question your own morals if you were in the same situation.
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Their foster mother, Carol, has always been fanatical, but with Jazz grown up and out of the house, Carol takes a dangerous turn that threatens thirteen-year-old Joaquin’s life. Over and over, child services fails to intervene, and Joaquin is running out of time. Then Jazz gets a blocked call from someone offering a solution. There are others like her—people the law has failed. They’ve formed an underground network of “helpers,” each agreeing to eliminate the abuser of another. They’re taking back their power and leaving a trail of bodies throughout Los Angeles—dubbed the Blackbird Killings. If Jazz joins them, they’ll take care of Carol for good. All she has to do is kill a stranger.
When I started reading this book, I was a little apprehensive. I’d never heard of the author and the last two books I just read by favorite authors were disappointing. I was really glad I started it though, because when I started to get into it, I really enjoyed it and didn’t put it down until I was finished. I really liked Jazz and enjoyed following her as everything in her life became unraveled. This book wasn’t anything I’d expected from a harlequin and I loved it! I highly recommend. 
**I voluntarily read and reviewed this book
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The Kill Club by Wendy Heard is a psychological thriller. 

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher  Harlequin - MIRA, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)

People are being poisoned in public places, and the police fear there is a serial killer on the loose.  Mind you, most of these people deserve to die.  Someone out there is a vigilante, killing those who the law has not punished.  In reality, there is not one killer, but many.   To avoid detection, individuals are killing people that are totally unknown to them, so that someone else will kill their nemesis.  The person behind all this is not even getting their hands dirty.

Jazz is approached when it becomes evident that her abusive foster-mom Carol is not going to provide her "brother" with much needed insulin.  All Jazz has to do is kill someone, and someone else will kill Carol.  But can she do it?  Can she kill another human being to save Joaquin?  You bet she can.  

Unfortunately, things do not go smoothly with the "assignment" that Jazz is given, and soon Jazz is the one being hunted.

 
My Opinions:  

Take "Strangers on a Train" by Patricia Highsmith...and kick it up a number of notches.

This was a wild, fast, and compelling read. It also ended up being rather emotional. I didn't want to put it down.  Even though the premise of the book was a little dark, and a little scary, this was actually a fun read, mostly due to the characters. 

I absolutely loved the characters.  Jazz was wonderful.  She is tough, she is scarred, she has not had much of an up-bringing, but her heart is enormous, and the raporte she has with Joaquin was great, and felt real, as did her budding relationship with Sofia.  The characters all had a realistic feel about them.

I can't wait to see what Wendy Heard comes out with next!
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A fast-paced, twisty, psychological story. I enjoyed this and think it's a very solid 3 star read. Nothing about it really stuck out to me, even with the mostly original story. Parts of this were good and parts of it were super far-fetched, even more than my brain could handle. I do like this author a lot and would love to read more by her.
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“The first rule of Murder Club, you don’t talk about Murder Club.” ~  Jasmine Benavides

The Kill Club follows a young woman named Jazz, who lived with her brother Joaquin until their fanatical and zealous foster mother Carol threw Jazz out of the house.  With Jazz out of the house, Carol’s zealotry goes to extremes, endangering Joaquin’s life in the process.  Jazz has tried to get child services to intervene with no luck.  And now, time seems to be running out.

Then, Jazz receives a phone call from a stranger, offering to take care of the problem for her.  If Jazz agrees, she’ll become part of a network of people who are taking back their power by doing what the system has failed to do.

All Jazz has to do is kill a stranger in return.  And that’s where things go terribly, terribly wrong.

For me, Kill Club was an unputdownable thriller with plenty of heart-in-your-throat moments. I thought the premise of the story was brilliant:  having an anonymous stranger take down a scumbag such as a serial abuser, rapist, etc. and in exchange, you’re expected to kill someone else’s scumbag. It’s vigilante justice at its finest.  

But when things go horribly wrong for Jazz, there’s then an insidious stomach-churning undercurrent of dread that truly made for an addictive reading experience. I could feel her terror and tension escalate with the numerous plot twists until the final surprising pages of the story. 

I thought the intensity and poignancy of the relationship between Joquin and Jazz was believable as well as heartfelt, and the depth of it, caused me to really care about what happened to them and to root for their success throughout the story.  Jazz was a delightful heroine: determined, brave, independent, relatable, and entirely devoted to Joquin.  For me, the most poignant element of this story is the profoundly selfless love demonstrated by Jasmine for Joquin, which asks the questions:  “How far are we willing to go for someone we love?”

All in all, I loved this diabolically clever story. Wendy Heard has written a captivating, haunting, and mesmerizing novel here.  It’s a high-stakes novel that’s creepy, unsettling, and I couldn’t put it down.
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This electrifying book is actually pretty amazing. I couldn’t put it down. Jazz is fighting to help her younger brother get the meds he needs after their foster mom decides to stop giving him meds believing that God will cure him of his diabetes. But Jazz is not a minor anymore and is already living on her own. And her former foster mom will make it impossible for her to reach her brother to give him his meds. Things get even worse when he is pulled out of the school. If only there was a way to get rid of her former foster mom? Then she ends up entangled by accident in the Kill Club, a club where one helps someone else by killing the person that is making their life a hell, and, in exchange, someone kills someone for them. This Robin Hood murder exchange group of sorts ends up generating all types of trouble for Jazz, and you get an electrifying page-turner where you have no idea what’s gonna happen next. Will she be able to kill someone so someone can kill for her? What’s going to happen with her brother Joaquin? This pretty exciting thriller is for sure one of the best books I read this season.
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Justice for Ordinary People

The setting is the other face of Los Angeles where homelessness is common, many children experience foster care, and abuse and crime abound but often there’s no justice for ordinary people.

Jazz and Joaquin, her brother, are products of the foster care system. Jazz, much older, was able to escape their abusive foster mother, Carol, but Joaquin is still trapped. Although not living in the same house, Jazz keeps track of her brother. This is important because he’s diabetic and needs insulin regularly. Carol’s latest fad is believing that God will heal him, so she tries to keep Jazz from bringing him the needed medicine. 

Jazz feels enough rage to kill. Then she receives a blocked phone call offering to help her get justice by killing Carol, but there’s a catch. She must kill a stranger to help someone else. 

As Jazz struggles with what to do, we meet others whose justice is meted out by strangers. The plot makes for a pulse pounding thriller as anonymous murders terrorize LA, and the police can’t figure out what’s happening. 

In addition to being an exciting thriller, the character are great. You can’t help but love Joaquin and Jazz. She’s a tough, but loving character. You want them to get away from Carol’s influence, but at what price for Jazz? 

If you like thriller’s that have a message and great characters, you like this book.

I received this book from Harlequin for this review.
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The Kill Club by Wendy Heard was insane - in the best way possible. This thriller/suspense combo pulled me in literally from the first page with Heard's absolutely fantastic writing. I didn't plan to read it in one sitting, but that's what happened. An all-nighter was pulled, sleep happily sacrificed to find out what happened next. It was addictive.


The Kill Club asks - how far would you go to protect someone you love? This premise steered the story to some very interesting, very intense places. Dark, gritty, fast-paced - this book kept me on the edge of my seat until the epic ending. I loved the ending. I still keep thinking, "No way, no way, no way!" 😮


I loved the representation in The Kill Club, and the very honest look into the present realties of our foster care system. A hard but necessary truth.


I was fond of all the characters, each vividly written, but Jazz was my favorite. She's got so many layers to her. She's been through a lot and her exterior is rough as sandpaper, but underneath she has such a a fierce, loving heart. She will do anything for those she loves. Especially her baby brother, Joaquin. This badass chick will go to any lengths to keep him safe. Even kill. Or will she? When The Kill Club comes knocking, you'll have you answer...


I'm still shaking off the adrenaline from this crazy awesome ride. You will be too when grab your copy and hop on. What are you waiting for?!
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Jazz loves her younger brother Joaquin. Joaquin in thirteen and, when their foster mother Carol won't give him the insulin he's dependent on, Jazz starts to fear for her brother's life. 

That got me scared for the both of them since Carol is not the nicest of foster mums. Jazz longs to find some way to get a safer better life for her and her brother but how will they get out of Carol's home? 

I saw the stakes were pretty high very early on in the novel and Jazz is a real fighter all the way through. 

After a call that gives Jazz an opportunity to get back at Carol, she finds herself part of a club spookily named The Kill Club where anything must be done to protect foster kids. But when being in the club means Jazz must kill a stranger in return for Carol "being taken care of", will she be strong enough? 

Will she really have what it takes to save herself and Joaquin from Carol and will they ever have a chance at a better future? 

Novels about the foster system are of interest to me and I loved Cathy Glass's novels although they are a completely different genre and set in England but I've never reviewed a thriller about this topic and that's what appealed to me most about The Kill Club. That and the dark LA setting.

Wendy Heard explores the workings and failures of the foster system in LA and Jazz is a very well formed character. I found myself concerned, rooting for and scared for her and fell she was the standout character although Joaquin was well fleshed out too, but I felt Jazz really leapt off the page. 

The Kill Club is an action-packed thrill ride from start to finish and it's also the first novel I've reviewed by Wendy Heard. She has a gripping writing style and a good attention to detail. 

I was impressed with this novel and have her other books on my list. 

Be prepared to be scared gripped and hooked by this incredibly twisty thriller! 

Thanks to Wendy Heard and Harlequin for my ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. The Kill Club is book #1 for me on the Harlequin Mystery and Suspense Blog Tour during Winter 2019/20.

4 stars
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