The Kill Club

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 18 Feb 2020

Member Reviews

4.5 stars. This fantastic thriller felt like a mix of Strangers on a Train and Stephen White's Kill Me (which I wholeheartedly recommend if you liked this book.) Jasmine "Jazz" Benavides is trying to figure out how to save her younger brother, Joaquin, from their religious nut foster mother, Carol, who won't give him his insulin, when she finds herself in the middle of an organization that will get rid of Carol for her if she kills someone else first. When things go wrong, Jazz becomes a target and is caught up in a race to both save Joaquin and evade the Kill Club. 

My eyes were glued to the page as the story raced along, and if you are looking for an exciting thriller, look no further. As it entertains, this book also highlights stories of injustice like Jazz's, which might just be dire enough to kill for. It's hard to know who to sympathize with at times, but Jazz is always easy to root for. I loved this book and can't wait to read more from Wendy Heard.
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This book was packed with a chilling story. The ending was just okie for me, I thought there was going to be more a ‘Punch’ then there was. I did like the idea of the story, but something was lacking for me. 
One of the things that I need like about this book was Jazz she was dark and determined to protect the ones that she loved.
This book may not have been for me; however, this may be the perfect book for you if you love suspense and thriller books.
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If you're into being stressed out and wondering who you pissed off on any given day, is this the read for you. All Jazz wants is to be in proximity with her brother, whose foster mother recently went full religious and refuses to treat his diabetes. A series of murders terrorizes Los Angeles and Jazz finds herself involved with a murder club, in which one person takes out on target in exchange for another.

The morality in this book is so wonderfully complicated. Murder is clearly bad, but if it saves your family from a terrible situation, how bad is it, really? If takes out other bad eggs, what is the harm? Jazz is also really smart, very impolite, but will do anything for her brother. The intricacy of how the murder club operates was also super immersive. Heard keeps a keen eye on modern technology and the ways in which human error and emotion can make or break even the best laid plans.

In addition, all the side characters are given such depth and gray morality (except Joaquin, which is a sweet baby angel who deserves none of the things thrown his way). The romance is unexpected and fraught in ways so befitting of a good thriller, but it's really good to see women loving women on page (Jazz herself identifies as a lesbian).

Intense and paranoia-inducing with a grounded family story to maintain the tight tension from start to finish.
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Book: The Kill Club
Author: Wendy Heard
Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

I would like to thank Mira Books for sending me ARC. 

So, The Kill Club is an adult thriller-let me just put that out there. I seem to be reading a lot of thrillers lately and I must say that I am really enjoying my time reading this genre. I did really enjoy a lot about this book. I love the idea of a murder club and having to kill people in order for someone who don’t like to die. This concept is really what pulled me into this book. Wow, was it done really good. You had no idea who was really the killers and who was the targets. A lot of times this role was actually switched around. I just loved the suspense that surrounded it and how we just really didn’t know what was going to happen from one minute to the next. It was this that really sucked me in and I read huge chunks of this book in one sitting. 

The characters were developed pretty well. Wendy did keep a lot about them from us, which was great. I love getting fed bits of information about our characters as we read. It really does keep us guessing until the end. However, I do have to say that the ending really didn’t make any sense to me. I’m just putting that out there. 

Anyway, I love Jazz. She has a rough life and is very rough around the edges, but as you get deeper into her character, you get to see another side of her. You see that she care so much about those who she loves and will do anything for them-even if it means breaking the law. It is this love for her younger and sweet brother that gets her involved in the kill club. What I love about this book was the relationship between Jazz and Joaquin. I love how she will do anything for him and how he just loves her. I just love books that explore the relationships between siblings. 

This book does a lesbian relationship in it. However, unlike other books I’ve read, this one didn’t feel like it was just trying to get LBGTQ in it. This relationship made sense and you could actually feel the bonds between the characters. This is what I love about romance in books. I want a relationship that feels real and makes sense. I don’t want it for the sake of trying to claim that your book is diverse. So thank you for doing something that makes sense. 

Anyway, it was ending that made me give it a four star instead of a five star. The big reveal just really bothered for some reason. 

Anyway this book comes out on December 17, 2019. 

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I am always looking for books featuring people in their twenties that are exciting and have the tone and fast pace of a YA thriller, and that's exactly what this is. It was edge of my seat enjoyment about a woman who has run out of ways to save her little brother from their foster  mum until she gets a phone call offering to end her problems if she'll do the same for the next person. Basically a murder club for people killing someone else's abusers so they don't get caught. I loved the setting and I felt the sheer desperation of it all mixed with the hope and love from the characters relationships. At one point it did get so twisty with every possible thing going wrong that I did get less invested BUT it definitely saved it and drew me back in towards the end.

CW: there is a well developed and adorable f/f but it does end in a death, and one of the bad guys is a POC
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Wow. This was very intense and very stressful. The pacing was almost non-stop, and the various perspectives gave me just enough information as I followed Jazz that the ending made sense but still felt like the twist you'd expect from a thriller. 

I have a really hard time doing full reviews for thrillers because I have a hard time talking about details without giving away important bits of plot, but I will mention that there is a wlw romance that not only doesn't distract from the plot but helps construct it beautifully. 

This was an incredible thriller with murder swapping and justice being taken into people's own hands when the law can't do what they need.

Content warnings for abuse (especially abuse based on Christianity) and stalking.
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Wow! What a great book! I didn't think Wendy could do any better than Hunting Annabelle (which I absolutely loved, btw. 4.5 stars for that one.), and then she writes this beautiful story. This story is the story of Jazz, who would do absolutely anything for her brother. Including kill. It's a very intriguing idea. While I personally would not consider it, if I were in Jazz's place, I would totally seriously contemplate it. This was an excellent, unputdownable novel for me. Solid 5 stars! This one isn't even officially out yet and I am already anticipating her next one!

Thank you to Wendy Heard, Mira Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy. I hope to be considered for an advanced copy of ANYTHING Wendy Heard writes from here on out.
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Jazz has a lot of baggage in her life and is really feeling the strain with her relationship with her foster mother.  She has been abused and kept herself in the situation due to her brother Joaquin.  When she finds she cannot get his insulin to him all hell breaks looks.  The foster mother is part of a cult church that believes that disease can be healed without medicine.  Before she knows what is happening, Jazz is caught up with a group that will end Carol and hopefully get her custody of Joaquin.  Things have gone wrong with the murder club and Jazz has to find a way to protect herself and other people in her life.  I really liked the premise of the book, however it did become repetitive in some ways.  I wish it would have been more cut and dried as opposed to cutting off right at the end.  Thanks for the ARC, Net Galley.
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How far would YOU go to save the people you love? 

That's been the central question in a number of things I've read/watched lately, and Wendy Heard's take on the topic was a trip through the dark that demonstrated just how badly the "system" often fails the very people who need it the most. When it does, someone/something always steps in to try to address the failure - and The Kill Club is what happens when that someone/something plays out...

This was a fabulous and fascinating consideration of justice - in the personal, biblical, eye-for-an-eye sense. We like to think we are all civilized, living in a civilized world. But the veneer of civilization proves pretty thin when it is OUR loved ones at stake. Heard capitalizes on that realization here and populates her utterly engaging novel with the types of "system failures" that statistics render cold and dispassionate but that are, in actuality, warm-blooded examples of the vast unfairness that so often populates modern society. 

Jazz is a fantastic protagonist and voice for this truism. Her struggles are described in painful detail, rendered all the more real by her arch tone and the pain that underlies it. She is surrounded by a parade of horrible stories, each as desperate as her own, and the way Heard manages to find the hidden inner strength in all of these victims of a system that over-looked, over-ran, or over-abused them is brilliant and heart-breaking. It allows the reader to cling to the thinnest shred of hope that somehow justice will prevail, despite the force-feeding of brutal reality that shrouds the tale like oil on water... 

It's sometimes a difficult read, but for all the right reasons.

I loved everything about this one - the premise, the characters, the writing, the ultimate resolution...  It was a marvelous find and Wendy Heard is DEFINITELY on my to-watch list now!
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Jazz is a bad-ass. She's had a hard life and now she is doing everything in her power to protect her little brother from their foster mother, Carol, a religious nutjob who decides the boy doesn't need his diabetic medication as God is going to heal him. 

As Jazz takes on beatings and sneaks the boys' meds to his teacher or through the bars of his window, things are getting worse. Then she gets a call from an unknown number and learns that she isn't alone and there could be an end to Carol's reign of terror.

All she has to do is kill someone. Can she do that? Learning about an underground group calling themselves The Blackbirds, they kill a stranger and a stranger kills their problem. Sound familiar?  Strangers on a Train?

There is a lot at stake in this thriller and the author has made Jazz very real and vulnerable, but also very brave. 

Heard is so great at the build-up that by the end of the book you hope you have a fingernail left!

Well Done!

NetGalley/ December 17th, 2019 by MIRA
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The Kill Club, by Wendy Heard

Short Take: Here, have a supersize twist, with a side order of twist, and an extra scoop of twist on the top.

Greetings nerdlings! I come to you from the great frozen north…. Err, some bit of Appalachia which is currently freezing its tiddlywinks off for no particular reason. It looks like a snow globe outside, which, while pretty, means that I am not leaving the house for any reason. So it’s vodka o’clock, right? 

Ok, maybe it’s still just a teensy bit too early in the day for booze, but it’s ALWAYS a good time for a revenge fantasy, and believe me when I say that my fevered little nerd-brain always has a few of those kicking around. We’ll start with gathering up all the girls who bullied me in high school, shaving them all bald, and forcing them to work for an MLM for the rest of their lives….. 

Sorry, got distracted there for a second. 

The truth is that just about everyone has a name in mind when they hear “The world would be better off without…”, and in Wendy Heard’s latest, there’s a shadowy someone who can make your wish come true. An abusive parent, a dangerous stalker, an ex who cheats the system in family court - anyone can be targeted, and there’s not even any money involved. It’s a very simple setup - your tormentor will be killed, and in return, at a later date, you’ll kill someone else’s. 

For Jazz, the voice on the other end of the phone seems like a godsend at first. She’s been struggling to get custody of her little brother Joaquin from their horrifically abusive, religious-fanatic adoptive mother Carol. Jazz agrees to kill another abuser in exchange for Carol’s death, but if home renovations have taught me anything, it’s that nothing is ever as simple as it first appears. 

Complications arise and multiply, and I’m not going to elaborate on what those complications are, because The Kill Club is best experienced with as much surprise as possible.

And oh, my darlings, what delicious surprises they are! Even though some of the plot elements are a bit outlandish, the characters are so richly drawn (especially Jazz, my god, she’s so damaged and imperfect and real), the tension is so relentless, I was all-in. And the most awful/amazing trick in the author’s arsenal this time out is the too-mundane ways in which we humans are terrible to each other: A parent abusing a child. A man who will take by force what he wants from a woman. The guy in the office who eats chips with his mouth open. Revenge isn’t a new idea, someone being driven to murder by the callousness of another isn’t a new idea, but a person or persons quietly organizing those crimes so that victims are given justice without ever being directly tied to the death of their tormentor…. Now that’s just brilliant.

And more than a little scary, if I’m being honest, because of how attractive the idea is. It’s kind of a good news/bad news thing, I guess, that in real life, eventually there’d be one moron to bork the whole thing and bring everyone down, as anyone who’s ever had to do a group project at work can attest. 

Which is why even when The Kill Club veers into the implausible, it still works perfectly because I think deep down we all believe that people who have been hurt should get their pound of flesh, and the bad guys deserve to be sent straight to hell. Or an MLM.

The Nerd’s Rating: FIVE HAPPY NEURONS (and a few shots of Fireball, let’s get some heat in here!)
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Holy moly. This one was quite the ride.
What worked: This started off very fast paced, making the pages turn quick. The ending was also well done. One twist I saw, another not so much. The connection between the characters was well written and there were not too many.
What didn't: There was one death in the book that was so sudden, that it felt forced. That character could have done more for the plot. The plot dragged a bit in the middle, with the relationship that was forced. Main character was not my favorite.
Overall: 3.5 stars
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Another hit written by Wendy Heard!  This book had me flipping pages and losing sleep! Absolutely chilling and thrilling, must read for my fellow mystery/thriller reader!  You will find yourself emerged in this story Heard created and while wanting to finish, needing it to continue!  Highly, highly recommend! 
Will make sure I buzz it up!!
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An absolutely wonderful book that asks the question "what would you do to protect your family"?  While the overall story line is not original, Wendy Heard's writing skills have taken it to a new level.  Jazz has run out of options to keep her brother safe and healthy when she's approached with a permanent solution to their current problems.  But the cost of her actions are extreme.  The Kill Club is definitely a 5 star read!
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Well that was a wild ride! I could not flip the pages quick enough while reading this crazy suspense/thriller. Wendy Heard created an action packed, intense, and chilling story with a very likable main character - Jazz. This was an interesting read, with a clever and thought-provoking plot, and I would have probably given it a 5 star rating however, I was left a little unsatisfied with the ending. I am not sure if I missed something when reading the second part of the book (maybe I was flipping those pages too fast) but I did not fully understood the motive of the main villain, the mastermind/creator of the murder club. Overall, this book is an excellent read for all the adrenaline-craving readers, and I will definitely read other books by this author.

Thank you NetGalley, Harelquin - Mira Books, and the author for providing me with an ARC copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Author Wendy Heard brings us Angelenos who don’t always appear in popular fiction—the working class, the undomiciled, the ones facing personal tragedies that aren’t being seen and addressed by society. And, so, in "The Kill Club," an unnamed and faceless individual has devised a plan to kill off the abusers, the deplorables, the willfully evil individuals crushing innocents beneath their abusive heels. Noble? Or morally repugnant? I’m not going to answer that. Good books—discussable books, debatable books—present characters and motives mired in ambiguity and outcomes that don’t fall clearly on one side of the line dividing right from wrong. Heard pulls this off in a book that speeds breakneck through an LA where we don’t know whom to trust nor whether death lay in wait around the corner. Don’t expect to read this book in more than one or two sittings.
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Have you ever watched Strangers On A Train?  This book reminds me of that movie.  Jazz gets a phone call from a blocked number that offers her a solution to her problem.  Her Brother is being raised by a woman who is dangerous to his health, she thinks she can heal his diabetes thru prayer.   Jazz will stop at nothing to help him, but can she commit murder?  The plot was great. There are all sorts of twists and turns, a few that caught me off guard.  Thank you to net galley for an advanced readers copy of this book.
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The Kill Club is a fast and furious roller coaster ride! Jazz is caught up in this powerful crisscross thriller ride. Jazz finds herself coming up against grim social issues crashing into serious moral issues, as she acts on her overwhelming desire to save her brother. If child services can’t, or won’t, act to protect Joaquin—will Jazz? In this fast-paced thriller, we find out just how far Jazz is willing to go to protect her brother.
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I've never read anything by Heard, and I thought the blurb sounded interesting, though not totally original. It began strong, but the second half felt rushed. I had a harder time engaging with it. There were scenes that could've benefited from a tighter edit (to condense things a bit and remove some of the wordiness). I guessed a few of the twists. I didn't quite understand the villain's motivation. I found the characters overall, particularly Jazz, to be well developed.
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Thank you NetGalley and Harlequin - MIRA for giving me this advanced readers copy.

Talk about a book that keeps you engaged. The kill club was very well written I thought and not hard to follow along. It was an all-around enjoyable read.

Jazz is this very edgy hip kind a girl who grew up in the foster system. She has a younger brother about half her age that still lives with the same foster mother she had. Unfortunately the foster mother is not the best to care for her brother. So Jazz spends her time trying to make sure that he has everything that he needs to have a happy healthy life. Until one day a foster mother cuts Jazz out of his life.This is the pivotal part of the book, a part that some cannot come back from. She’s approached by what she calls a kill club. And she is asked if she would like the foster mother taken care of. You will just have to read the book to see what direction she goes.

I literally couldn’t put this book down it was so packed with action that you continuously wanted to read on to see what was going to happen. This is definitely one of my top 10 reads so far this year.
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