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Shot    by Jenny Siler order for
by Jenny Siler
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2004 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Shot is Jenny Siler's third novel following Easy Money and Iced, and she's only getting better. This latest novel continues the author's trademark combination of noir, lyrical descriptions and hard-edged, hard-boiled female protagonists on the fringes of the law.

This time she gives us two heroines. The tale begins with the assassination of Lucy's husband Carl who works in biotech for Bioflux. Not the typical corporate wife, Lucy is an artist who lose her mother early in life and grew up impoverished. Her brother Chick has returned from the Gulf War with a mysterious illness that limits him to a caretaker's job. Lucy herself has lost her only child, soon after his birth, to a rare neural tube defect.

Darcy is a skilled thief. She could see no wrong in taking baubles from the rich, but decided to go straight after serving time. She is being blackmailed by her ex-warden, 'a slightly slimmed down version of Jabba the Hutt', who still has her younger 'junkie' sister Angie under his control in prison. Darcy is to rob Lucy's house of her husband's files on TB tests administered at the prison years before. After an attempt interrupted by Luce and her Glock 26, Darcy's burglary is pre-empted by a Bioflux corporate duo who take even the hard drive.

Just before his death, Carl contacted an old acquaintance (who was much more than that to his wife), Kevin Burns, a tv journalist who lost his job after a flawed choice. Kevin, Luce, Darcy and the assassin come together in a violent confrontation that sends the former trio in a cross-country flight from the latter, and in search of answers. They find refuge in odd places, amongst tree huggers and militant activists, before the assassin explodes on their scene once more.

All have different goals - Kevin to resurrect his career and perhaps his relationship with Luce; Lucy to understand why her loved ones have died and to escape the shadow she is now under; and Darcy to save her sister. The exposure of the bad guys, when it happens, comes from left field, in an ending that the author injects with ambiguity and poetry. If you haven't read her books yet, give them a try; Jenny Siler has a unique voice.

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