Livia Lone - Barry Eisler

It’s clear early on Livia Lone is not a woman you want to cross. She’s a Seattle PD detective, jiu jitsu master & motorcycle mechanic. She’s also a killer.

But if you’re not a rapist or human trafficker, no worries. Chances are she’ll leave you alone.

 

Livia was once known as Labee & in flashbacks we learn how she & her sister were snatched from their tribe in rural Thailand & sold to human traffickers. What they endure is horrific but for Labee, the worst is yet to come. The girls are separated & after being shipped to the states, she is rescued by police & adopted by an influential local businessman. What should have been a happy ending quickly evolves into a nightmare & shapes the woman she will become.

 

Detective Livia Lone is driven by 2 things. As a cop she focuses on putting away those who abuse the weak & vulnerable. If they manage to evade the legal system….well, she’s more than capable of delivering her own form of justice.

But it’s the search for her sister that informs every decision she’s ever made & consumes her life outside of the job.

 

As the story progresses, we follow Livia as her investigation takes her from the pacific northwest to California, Thailand & back again. It’s a gritty & disturbing read with no shortage of reprehensible characters ranging from white supremacists to dirty politicians. The author has obviously done their homework on human trafficking & it’s a sobering reality.

 

Thankfully, there are several characters that treat Livia with kindness. Her childhood left her with a twisted view of people & their motives which is reflected in her inability to trust. Relationships are a challenge but as she solves the mystery of her sister, we see a subtle evolution of her character that gives you hope she may find peace at last.

 

This is a dark, intense thriller with many scenes of graphic sex & violence. But it’s also an absorbing story with a compelling cast. It feels like the start of a new series by this author of the excellent John Rain books & I want to see where he takes this original character.