Fight Dirtyby C.J. Lyons (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Series: Renegade Justice Novel
Published by Thomas & Mercer on October 7, 2014
Genres: Adult, Crime, Law & Crime, Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Thriller
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I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Raised to kill by her father, a convicted serial killer, Morgan’s problems aren’t those of the average teen. She wants only one thing: to protect her freedom and not get locked away. So, despite ongoing temptation and a bloody past, Morgan swears off murder.
Seeking to tame her sociopathic instincts, Morgan cons her way into working with security consultants Jenna Galloway and Andre Stone. For their first case, Morgan goes undercover to infiltrate ReNew, a treatment center for troubled teens, to investigate the suicide of a fourteen-year-old girl sent there by her wealthy parents.
While Jenna and Andre search for evidence from the outside, Morgan endures her own worst nightmare posing as an inmate. It isn’t long before she discovers that ReNew’s unstable patients are the ones who are really in charge—and that some of their psychopathic tendencies rival her own.
Even if Morgan can discover the truth behind the girl’s death and escape ReNew alive, what—or who—might be waiting for her on the outside?
In this spin off series featuring characters from a few of her other series, author C.J. Lyons gets off to a thrilling start with Fight Dirty. While I haven’t read any of the other books or any of the author’s work for that matter, I had no problem jumping right into this book. Ex-post office agent Jenna and ex-marine Andre have started their own private investigation and security firm, and their first job is checking out a rehab facility for troubled teens run by a church when they are hired by the parents of a teenager who committed suicide on the day she was released. Luckily for Jenna and Andre, they have the perfect girl to assist them and go inside the facility to find out what really goes on in there: Morgan, a fifteen year old who assisted her serial killer father with his murders all the way up until he was thrown in jail by Jenna and another FBI agent. Andre thinks that Morgan is just a troubled teen looking for someone to take care of her, but Jenna knows what kind of evil Morgan is really capable of, and she’s not afraid of using Morgan as a means to an end if it will get the answers they need for this investigation.
At the heart of Fight Dirty is nature vs. nuture and which one really matters when it comes to how kids will turn out. Morgan shows signs that her sociopathy and psychopathy are more of the nuture arena, from years of living with her serial killer father and being forced to kill right along side him in order to not be killed herself. She’s trying to be a normal person and suppress her urges to kill because she doesn’t want to be locked away like her father. But it’s harder than it looks, especially once she gets inside the rehab facility and she finds that the kids are in charge and they are more sadistic than her father could sometimes be.
Jenna is a bit harder to like at times, knowingly sending a young serial killer in with a bunch of kids, even if Morgan has sworn off killing and wants to help. Jenna seems to have a weird sense of justice but good detection skills, so she needs to work with a good, varied team to make these jobs work. Andre is much more level headed and tender towards Morgan, but he is very tough, street smart, and can see through every one else’s lies really quickly. He is definitely the muscle of the group. He’s very reluctant to bring Morgan into the investigation, but he relents when the client wants someone to go inside.
I give Fight Dirty a 4.5 out of 5. With tight plotting and a fast pace, the tension ramps up throughout until the explosive conclusion. Morgan definitely changes and grows throughout the book, and you see a bit of hope for her after all in the end. This is written as a standalone, and I didn’t have a problem getting into any of the characters–enough back story was given to acquaint me with each one without getting boring. I can’t wait to see how much more Morgan can change, and to see how this books events have changed Jenna and Andre in the next installment.