Reviewed by Meera Nair
The Kate Jones Thriller Vol. 1 is an omnibus of four short stories revolving around the kickass protagonist, Kate Jones, who is on the run. As a woman who stumped an infamous drug lord, Kate continues to attract unwanted attention from thugs and the likes. She must live a life of constant worry, keeping her guards on and distancing herself from everyone she meets. And yet, every place she begins to call home sends her careening into the face of death, from where she scrambles back, only to redo the whole process on a different continent. How long before one of the numerous goons catches up to her?
I am surprised at the fact that I haven’t heard of this author or about any of her works. As far as suspense and thrill are concerned, D.V. Berkom has bagged the points. All four stories were equally intriguing and fast paced. Sometimes with thrillers, you tend to feel like certain concepts are overdone but not once did I feel that with this volume. The author’s writing style is punchy and idiomatic. It doesn’t take you long to get comfortable with the narrative. There’s a basic plot connecting the four novellas, even though they are set in different locations and after substantial time-jumps. I liked the storyline and it was a pleasant surprise that the same could be followed over the course of 4 novellas.
The characterization of the protagonist is quite different, even in comparison to most strong female characters. Although Kate has been sketched as powerful and resilient, she is realistically portrayed because we also see the part of her that is beyond frightened by the things she encounters. She is a true inspiration in terms of how to deal with a predicament. There’s very little romance involved in these novellas. What I would have liked to see more of is better characters. Eduardo and Sam are two decent characters out of the lot. They play an integral role in Kate’s escape. Almost all the other characters serve no real purpose. After a point of time, you come to realise that Kate’s actions alone are furthering the story. There are a bunch of villains in this volume who make five second appearances. You may think that it’s a little repetitive and monotonous to keep introducing villains. But believe me; it’s done in the most natural manner ever! You keep thinking that Kate couldn’t possibly be that lucky. Every time there was trouble in paradise, I’d cringe, expecting the worst. Since there are so many plot points, this volume could be nicknamed, “The One with All the Climaxes.” I liked the travel aspect of the story. Every place Kate visited would bring out a certain trait in her. Come to think of it, L.S. Hilton’s Maestra follows a similar path – with a female protagonist on the run.
Overall, this volume has a good story, a fantastic protagonist and a great potential for better character development. I’d definitely check out the next volume and I recommend this one to those who enjoy thrillers.