Book review: Livia Lone by @barryeisler


Published: 25th October 2016
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Source: ARC from Netgalley

Seattle PD sex-crimes detective Livia Lone knows the monsters she hunts. Sold by her Thai parents along with her little sister, Nason; marooned in America; abused by the men who trafficked them…the only thing that kept Livia alive as a teenager was her determination to find Nason.

Livia has never stopped looking. And she copes with her failure to protect her sister by doing everything she can to put predators in prison.

Or, when that fails, by putting them in the ground.

But when a fresh lead offers new hope of finding Nason and the men who trafficked them both, Livia will have to go beyond just being a cop. Beyond even being a vigilante. She’ll have to relive the horrors of the past. Take on one of the most powerful men in the US government. And uncover a conspiracy of almost unimaginable evil.

In every way, it’s an unfair fight. But Livia has two advantages: her unending love for Nason—

And a lifelong lust for vengeance.


Why? Why I am a reading a story about child trafficking, abuse, murder and mystery? 

Why? Why can I not put a book down that is making me feel so uncomfortable to read? 

Why? Why am I ok with the ‘bad people’ being murdered? 

Why? Why did I finish this book wanting to know more? 

Why? Simple; Barry Eisler has written a story that grabs you from the first page. His matter of fact, in your face and descriptive style leaves the reader no place to go other than to focus on what is happening to the main character – Livia Lone. Even if this means reading about what Livia must endure in order to survive. 

Livia must survive being ripped away from the only world she has ever known at the young age of eleven. Having spent all her life as part of a hill tribe in Thailand’s mountains and having limited access to the wider world Livia must now learn about this crazy world in which she has been thrown into; a world of abuse, murder and mystery. 

Livia was taken with her sister, but the reader soon learns that she and Nason (her sister) are separated and this is to prove the reason for Livia to live and to endure all that she does. 

The use of chapters being headed now and then (past and present) keeps the story fast and exciting and resulting in you the reader, reading far more than you had planned. 

Child trafficking and child abuse do not make for comfortable reading and there are times when the descriptive language Barry Eisler uses really hits home the pure horror and evil that children and adults alike are forced to endure. 

There were moments when I wanted to put the book down and walk away, forget what I had read and continue with my safe life, in my secure and loving home and enjoy my friends and family. 

It was in these moments that I believe Barry Eisler wrote so compellingly that you knew Livia and many thousands like her could not walk away; could not enjoy a safe and loving environment, could not build trusting relationships, and it was down to you and other readers like you to stay and not walk away. 

Livia Lone may have been a victim of abuse, power and greed, but she became a strong, focused and independent woman who wanted to serve and protect others like her. She was a dragon. 

There was also a softer and more vulnerable side to her that came through every now and then which evoked empathy and sympathy for her and her plight, but that was soon locked away and the dragon would come out. 

Although the story ended with Livia getting some answers to her questions I would be keen to read more and follow her on her journey - wherever that may lead me. 

Never before has a book evoked such strong emotions of unease, disgust and sadness. 

Never before have I questioned why I am reading about a subject matter that is so unpleasant. 

Never before have I rooted for the ‘bad people’ to get their comeuppance; and not in the most pleasant of ways either. 

Yet I did, and I’m glad I did. 

I would read this book again and recommend it to all my friends.


★★★★ ☆

Thank you to my co-blogger Hannah for writing this great review. You can find her on twitter HERE

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