08/23/2014 04:23 pm ET Updated Oct 23, 2014

'One Kick' Introduces Readers to New Chelsea Cain Characters

Book Review Jackie K Cooper
ONE KICK by Chelsea Cain

Suspense writer Chelsea Cain has set aside her stories about Gretchen Lowell and Archie Sheridan in order to create a new set of characters. In her latest novel she introduces her readers to Kick Lannigan and John Bishop, two characters who are guaranteed to hold your interest. They are both pursuers of justice, hunting for abducted children. They are not exactly partners in their actions but they have an alliance of sorts.

Kick Lannigan was herself abducted as a child and this traumatic occurrence has shaped the rest of her life. Now in her early twenties the person she has become is the result of her imprisonment and miraculous rescue. She keeps herself in top physical condition and has a running knowledge of "missing children" cases across the country. When John Bishop drops into her life she is cautious but willing to help him in his pursuit of information about a child abduction case.

Bishop is a man of mystery, possibly wealthy and possibly working with the government. He does not give answers freely and it is up to Kick and her innate perception to figure out who and what he is. Sometimes she figures right and sometimes she figures wrong.

Cain's previous novels all were part of the Lowell/Sheridan stories. They are required reading for anyone who loves a good, solid mystery. The new story about Lannigan/Bishop is not as comfortable reading as those stories were. With the Lowell/Sheridan series you just opened the pages and you were hooked. ONE KICK takes a little bit more of an effort.

Kick Lannigan isn't an easy character to get to know or to get to like. She is a mess psychologically and is all rough edges and sharp corners. And that is how I would describe the read. It isn't a smooth slide over the pages but rather is a read where you careen from one incident to the next, never feeling steady on your feet as you move. Along the way you pick up a detail here and a detail there, like building blocks offered in order to understand the completed project or in this case person.

Still, though it is a different kind of ride than those offered in the past, it is an interesting one and one that stands in testimony to the generous talents of Chelsea Cain. The lady can tell a story and do it differently than anyone else. She is a distinctive writer who never holds back on her inventiveness, brilliant character development, and ability to surprise.

As you can tell I am hooked on her talent. I miss Gretchen Lowell and Archie Sheridan and definitely want more stories about them in the future, but the same can be said of Kick Lannigan and John Bishop.

ONE KICK is published by Simon and Schuster. It contains 320 pages and sells for $25.99.

Jackie K Cooper