The Kill Club

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 18 Feb 2020

Member Reviews

The latest novel by Wendy Heard is a non-stop thrill ride from start to finish. I was hooked early and could not put down the novel after a certain point. When the main character, Jazz, receives a mysterious phone call from a blocked number offering to help her permanently solve her problems with her foster mother, Carol, it is clear that the story is going to take the reader to some unexpected places. Jazz no longer lives with Carol, but her younger brother, Joaquin, who suffers from diabetes, still does and is in danger. Child protective services has failed Jazz and Joaquin repeatedly, and Jazz is desperate to extricate him from Carol's fanatical clutches. 

The caller tells Jazz that she's been selected to join a network of others like her, people the law has failed. This network of "helpers" has agreed to eliminate the abuser of another. The group leaves a trail of bodies across the city of Los Angeles, being dubbed the Blackbird Killings. If Jazz agrees to join them, they'll take care of Carol. All she has to do is kill a stranger -- no big deal, right?! As soon as Jazz makes her decision, the tension is amped up and only intensifies as the plot unfolds, especially after Jazz's assignment does not quite go according to plan. 

The novel is told from multiple viewpoints, introduced by the name of a character at the start of each chapter. I really like that aspect and the dimension it gave to the story overall. Chapters featuring Jazz are written in the first person, which drew me even closer to her character and made me root for her to succeed in getting Joaquin away from Carol by any means necessary. The reader can't help but wonder, what would you do if faced with a similar choice? How far would you go to save a loved one? 

Many thanks to the author, Wendy Heard, for including me on the Street Team, and to NetGalley and Mira Books for an early look at this novel!
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Kill Club is an absolutely fantastic take on the serial killer mystery. I was drawn in by the idea of a kill club that centered on helping the marginalized and abused escape their tormentors. The novel did a fantastic job of examining what the effect of that much power would be. I wish there was a little
More development / backstory for the person ultimately behind the kill club (trying to avoid spoilers). There were several small twists after the major confirmation and reveal that really added to the plot although again, I wish the character involved could have had a more developed backstory. Jazz was a full and rich character but some of the smaller characters who ultimately ended up being important could have had a much richer arc.
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Second book by this author and just as enjoyable, if not more...

This is sort of like chain mail but with murder. The concept is pretty genius - murder someone ( supposedly evil) who you have no connection to and then someone else will do the same favor for you. Nobody would suspect you as you have no ties to the victim. Brilliant if your conscious can take it right?

This one moves fast. Even with that pace though the characters are well layered and interesting. Jazz is fantastic and I couldn’t help but to root for her no matter the scenario😉.  The foster care system and the legal shortcomings in relation to this scenario are heartbreaking. 

A lot happens in a very small amount of time, many twists and surprises. There are multiple characters, but you don’t have to get too invested in them if you catch my drift. You will be able to keep up with the main players. 

The conclusion was pretty good and pretty crazy! I flew through this one and was highly entertained. Look forward tot the next! Thanks to NetGalley, the author and HARLEQUIN -MIRA (U.S. and Canada) for a copy in exchange for a review.
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Wendy Heard’s new release Kill Club has an exciting premise and works on many levels although there are times that some of the main characters choices make you want to go and shake her.  This does not take away from the excellent story telling found within the pages but it is probably good thing that this novel is not interactive.

Upon starting to read this novel, it has an interesting plot which carries the story forward with a lot of interesting ideas that work in quite a realistic manner.  The quick page turner, leads the reader down a dark path and raises questions on what would you do if you found yourself in a situation that there seemed to be no answer.  A world that celebrates the perpetrator and turns the victim into the villain; a world that is full of injustice.  Funny, what reads as fiction becomes more prominent in the real world as years pass by.  This is the driving force of this novel.

The characters are well drawn and through some bad decision making on part of some of these characters, Heard has managed to not make them annoying which is quite a feat.  Under another master’s hand, this could have been a total fail but Heard is able to balance this with heart, drive and interesting character plots.  The characters are likable, infuriating and you generally care about them to see where their choices lead them.

Overall, this is a very good thriller that works on many levels and Heard has been able to handle the many strands of plot very expertly.  Moving the narrative advice from first person (Jazz) and third person for everyone else works extremely well.  The only low point is the novel does have quite a few endings that seem a bit elongated but is still interesting but probably could have been a bit better handled.  It does give closure whilst giving a wink about the reality of the situation but could have been executed.  It doesn’t let the book down in any way, shape or form.  I did love the open ending that comes in at the last couple of pages which I really enjoyed.

This is highly recommended and thoroughly enjoyed myself whilst reading this.  The author does say that this is a fictionalised account on real life events which does lead you to think, well tell me more but she does really expand on this.  Could this be true or is she teasing the reader?  I guess we won’t really know until she writes another book which I am hoping she is heavily working on at the time of this review. Waiting patiently.
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Quid pro quo, with a twist. Wendy Heard puts the reader’s morals to the test in this full-length novel. Her cast and characters are extensive, which means the reader must pay close attention to the frequent narrator change. While the plot holds a tinge of familiarity, the story dynamic is intriguing and presents a plethora of twists and turns. However, the pivotal plot twists lacked shock-value as the story was constantly throwing surprises at the reader. These all lent to desensitize those one or two critical moments. Overall, it was an okay read, definitely kept me turning the pages. 3 stars.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of #TheKillClub from #NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Thank you Netgalley for the advance copy of this title in exchange for my honest review/opinion. Kill club was an interesting book in the dynamics of what people are capable of to get their way if the offer sounds good. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it for anyone who likes a fast paced title!
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What a ride this book takes you on! What if someone offered to "get rid" of a truly horrid person in your life, I mean a really bad person. Would you do it?? If what it required of you was for you to kill another rotten person? With a poison injection?? Hmmm ~ sounds intriguing. Jazz, the main character in the book, is offered just such an opportunity - to get rid of the awful foster mother keeping her brother locked in her house and refusing to give him his diabetes medicine for "religious" purposes.  The whole story leads you on a crazy journey thru Los Angeles - thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for allowing me to read this ARC!
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An unputdownable thriller that's also an incisive look at the failings of the foster care/child protective services systems and a love letter to East LA. In this Strangers on a Train world, the women of LA have an answer to the testosterone-fueled black-market justice of Fight Club, and no one—not even the killers of Kill Club—are safe. Explosive, compelling, and one hell of a good time, do not miss Wendy Heard’s propulsive dive into revenge noir.
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Review previously posted on my blog: www.carocsmith.com/blog

Disclaimer - I was given a digital ARC by the author, Wendy Heard, prior to the book’s publication and was asked to give an honest review

CONTENT WARNINGS:
Murder - Violence - Stalking - Domestic Abuse - Poisoning - Homophobia - Rape Mention - Needles - Withholding of Medical Treatment

NON-SPOILER REVIEW:
The Kill Club is an adult contemporary novel told from multiple first-person points of view, alternating between a few core voices and several outliers in a way that creates swirling moments of tension and release like a beating heart or muscles straining during a pull-up. Tense. Release.

And also there’s poison.

Jasmine, preferred name Jazz, is our main character. She lives in LA in a one-bedroom apartment in a not-great part of town, but every penny she earns working at Trader Joe’s goes to a college fund for her younger brother, Joaquin, who’s living in the same foster home Jazz was kicked out of when she turned eighteen.

Carol, Joaquin’s foster mom turned adopted mom, believes his diabetes can be cured via a dose of Jesus, rather than through his insulin injections, something Jazz takes exception to, and since she knows she can’t get custody of him through legal means, she does everything in her power to ensure her younger brother has his medicine. But when Carol’s obstruction moves to a new level, Jazz knows she’ll have to escalate as well.

In steps the murder club, as Jazz puts it. After witnessing a death in the club where her band is playing, Jazz ends up with a burner phone that connects her to an underground group orchestrated by a voice-disguised stranger who takes out the destructive forces in peoples’ lives.

It’s vigilante justice honed to a needle-fine point.

Jazz has to decide if she’s willing to step into this murky world, but the alternate choice is leaving her brother in the hands of a woman who’s religious convictions might very well cause his death.

MY RATING:
I’M GIVING THE KILL CLUB FOUR AND A HALF OUT OF FIVE STARS FOR THE BRILLIANT WAY THE STORY KEPT ME GUESSING. 
The switching of points of view lets the reader see more of the picture than if it had just been told by Jazz, and this adds to the tension in the narrative. From cops to victims to perpetrators, it’s still a whirlwind of a whodunit. A few of the voices don’t come across as authentic as Jazz’s (pretty sure the Brits say toilet, not bathroom), but the overall construction of the story is brilliantly done.

My only (very minor) criticism is the very...LA-ness of some of it. Specifically, the driving scenes reminded me of the SNL sketch “The Californians,” which made me groan/chuckle every time we were driving on the five or the one-oh-whatever to get from one place to another. Again, it’s a minor thing, but those not from LA (like me) can find the driving detail a bit tedious.

FAVORITE QUOTE:
“I hate the way I look in mirrors. I feel bigger from the inside, tougher, stronger. Sometimes I’m caught by my own reflection and shamed by my own smallness, by how vulnerable and female I must look to the world around me.”

This passage, part of Jazz’s internal dialogue, speaks volumes to any woman who has ever been  made to feel small or insignificant or unsafe. It’s familiar to so many and is one of the core reasons she boxes and runs and has visible tattoos. She’s been a victim for years, she’s still victimized on a regular basis, but she isn’t letting that stop her from helping her brother.

AUTHOR INFO:
Per her website: Wendy Heard was born in San Francisco but has lived most of her life in Los Angeles, which is on fire more than she would honestly prefer. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art, emphasizing painting, and a Master’s degree in Education. When not writing, she can be found hiking the Griffith Park trails, taking the Metro and then questioning this decision, and haunting local bookstores.

Wendy is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and Mystery Writers of America, is a contributor at Crimereads.com, and co-hosts the Unlikeable Female Characters podcast.

Wendy Heard is represented by Lauren Spieller, Associate Literary Agent at TriadaUS and can be found at:

Website - https://www.wendyheard.com/

Twitter - https://twitter.com/wendydheard

Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/wendydheard/

SPOILER REVIEW:
This story is the definition of bittersweet.

Never once do you forget where you are or the poverty that surrounds the characters. Jazz’s perspective, especially, is a frank exploration of someone one step above poverty. She comes from the foster care system, has a menial job at a grocery store, her truck is old, her apartment is tiny and in a bad part of town, she observes the homeless with empathetic eyes that don’t verge into white savior-ism or disgust. Everything about her life speaks of someone poised on the brink, but instead of falling into that abyss she’s surging forward with a singular goal. To help her brother break the cycle.

She’s not alone in her failed custody battle. Another character, Sofia, now only has limited visitation with her two-year-old daughter and is still harassed by her sleazy lawyer ex-husband. At times his obsession with her seemed almost comically villainous, but as the author mentions in her afterward, all of the cases of stalking and abuse mentioned in the story are based on real events. But Sofia isn’t giving up her battle, either. She’s just chosen a different strategy from Jazz. A much more permanent solution to her problem.

The choice of villain in this story is an interesting one. A female police officer with a British accent and an Indian surname. She’s a colonizer and colonized. She’s authority and vulnerability. She’s the partner of the lead investigator and doesn’t seem to care who is killed in the crossfire if it means getting rid of the people who weren’t successfully punished by the systems in power.

There’s a very Dexter vibe to the murders she orchestrates, only instead of doing the dirty work herself, she makes the disenfranchised and the powerless trade an anonymous kill for freedom from their own travails.

In the end, Jazz and her brother are the only ones who get a happy ending. Everyone else in Jazz’s circle seems to catch shrapnel from her involvement with the murder club.

Okay, but seriously, why isn’t it called the murder club, since this is how Jazz refers to the group of killers? Just a tiny gripe, but I have to admit The Kill Club has a nice ring to it.

Maybe that’s what the sequel will be called (I’d absolutely read a sequel to this).
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This book captivated me from the first page!!

Thank you to NetGalley for my copy of this book.

What a fabulously delicious book.  This book has a fantastic story line, excellent characters and is just unputdownable.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone and I enjoyed it immensely.
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It will keep you guessing until the very end. The Kill Club is the perfect morally grey novel that leaves you rooting for the main character and hoping she succeeds. Some of the twists were obvious but there was a lot that I didn't see coming but fit into perfectly with the story. A must-read for fans of suspense who want to leave themselves questioning where the line between right and wrong becomes blurry.
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Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC of this book.
It was a good read for me.  The idea of the story was new.  I found myself questioning whether it was okay throughout the book.
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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.



Thank you to net galley and the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read this book
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The Kill Club is a fast paced thriller that is hard to put down. Well written and interesting characters. A new favorite author to add to my list.
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I was so excited to read this book when I saw Wendy Heard was the author & I was not disappointed! 
I read Wendy Heard's book Hunting Annabelle via NetGalley about a year ago and it was so deliciously twisted and suspenseful, I was eager to read more of her work. The Kill Club is even more twisty and suspenseful than Hunting Annabelle. Heard created an intricate underground vigilante murder web and it was intriguing and scary. The stand-out feature of The Kill Club are the multiple narrators - the primary narrator is Jazz, who is cast prominently in a way that the reader can deeply care about and relate to her. Woven in with Jazz's story are various narrators who are victims or perpetrators of the Kill Club which really intensifies the suspense and excitement of the tangled vigilante system.
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The Kill Club kills it!  Wendy Heard sure knows how to craft a story.  I was hooked on Jazz and Joaquin's story right from their first setup.  Sophia is a fabulous character:  Very sympathetic and relateable.  She's the perfect example of that completely put together person whose life is pure hell behind closed doors.  I was drawn into this plot in that delicious way that all readers hope to be drawn in to a great book.  A kill club that has the hitters knock off each other's biggest headaches?  It's like Strangers on a Train.  I love it!  

Jazz is definitely one of my favorite characters I've come across in a while.  A smart-mouthed, independent spirit who's paying for her sins day after day, struggling to do better, be better, achieve better, Jazz is everywoman.  She takes no shit, but she also lives and breathes for those she cares about.  Sometimes her lines are a little cheesy, like when she says "first rule of murder club, you don't talk about murder club" not once but three times.  It doesn't seem to fit with her character.  But I love her all the same.

I love the Carol/Joaquin storyline.  As someone who really disagrees with "praying on" a serious illness in lieu of seeking legitimate treatment, I latched on to this storyline right away and understood Jazz's motivations.

And the murder mystery?  The "kill club"?  Yes.  Just yes.
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Imagine if you will being able to go underground and hire a group of so called," Helpers" to take care of your abusers. I mean sign me up ~STAT~!
Who wouldn't but then again Carol most likely never expected she'd become target #1 as a foster parent to Jazz.
However Joaquin is in danger and child protective services seemingly ignores the pleas for help.
So Jazz has her back up against the wall in more ways than one as this twisty read is about to get interesting.
These BlackBird Killings are about to take on a whole new challenge in a whole new way and that old familial touch may just get a new style of flavor.
This is more than just about killing as insulin injections are needed to stay alive with an issue with diabetes for one of our beloved characters. So time is naturally of the essence here. 
It feels like the ticking time bomb throughout the story which adds that captivating sense of wonderment to the plot. Abuse is also discussed with one of the characters and you'll never guess till it's exposed as many have looked away like animals as it continued all these years.
Who will step up to the plate and do the right thing and who will walk or run away? That's the ultimate form of betrayal.
I mean really all Jazz has to do to get in is to kill at stranger so how hard can that be.....
My word this one is crazy good!
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I received an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review 

The author’s note describes this book as a love letter to working class Los Angeles and I can’t think of a better way to describe it.  The characters are so warm and real you can’t help that root for them even when they are making obviously bad decisions. I was sad for the book to end but I was satisfied with the way it ended. A roller coaster of a thriller. I can’t wait to see what this author does next
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I flew through reading this intense thriller focused on finding out what was ultimately going to happen to Jazz and her friend Sophia and their brother and daughter, respectively. The main character Jazz, is a very layered character-she seemed much more alive to me then anyone of the others. Unfortunately, behind all the action(I mean this book is action-packed), I did not feel the resolution of the plot was justified.  The premise of the story is fantastic.  Who would not want your mortal enemy, a scum bag, your abuser, the serial rapist,  vaporized by some anonymous person? The problem is once you agree to belong to the "murder club" you are expected to do your part and kill someone's nemesis and if you fail-woe to you.  The villain twist is not explored as much as it could have been.  I don't quite understand the villain's motivation and that caused me to drop my rating.  I still would recommend but for me, this book was not as good as Wendy Heard's first one. 

Thank you to Net Galley and publisher for a chance to read and review.
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Exciting and fast-paced, this suspenseful read will have all engaged!

Jazz and Joaquin are at the heart of this story. Both living in LA's poverty-stricken area, they are happy to be together when they can. Carol, however, was Jazz's foster mother (Jazz is now 28) and Joaquin's (now 13) adoptive mother. Joaquin also has Type 1 diabetes and is insulin-dependent.  And a heck of a person that Carol is - especially with the insulin.

After a music concert in which she played the drums, Jazz gets into a scuffle with a guy and acquires his flip-phone. This phone becomes both a lifeline and a detriment to Jazz's well-being.

An edge of your seat thriller in which NO ONE can be trusted. A plot so different that this story cannot miss the top ten!

Many Thanks to Harlequin - MIRA and NetGalley for a really great read!!!
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