STARRED REVIEW
October 08, 2019

Seven Crows

By Kate Kessler

If you take the John Wick and “Sons of Anarchy” series, blend them with the movie Taken and then dial the intensity up to 11, you have Seven Crows. This gritty thriller unapologetically celebrates its violent antihero, ex-con Killian Delaney, as she navigates the criminal underworld in search of her missing niece.

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If you take the John Wick and “Sons of Anarchy” series, blend them with the movie Taken and then dial the intensity up to 11, you have Seven Crows. This gritty thriller unapologetically celebrates its violent antihero, ex-con Killian Delaney, as she navigates the criminal underworld in search of her missing niece.

Killian Delaney grew up in a tough world. Before most people were graduating college, she was the “Old Lady” (aka girlfriend) to a member of the Crows motorcycle club, as well as a celebrated MMA fighter. When her boyfriend was gunned down in a hit by another club, Killian found the man responsible, Rank Cirello, and almost killed him, leaving him permanently disabled and in chronic pain. After nearly a decade in prison, Killian is out on parole, but Rank hasn’t forgotten her. His payback? To kidnap Killian’s 15-year-old niece Shannon and traffic her on the illegal sex market. This plot sounds dark, and it is, but it’s also surprisingly satisfying.

Seven Crows opens with a bang and doesn’t slow down. Spanning only a few days, the action is compressed into a breathless timeline. Killian recruits some of her old criminal friends and makes a few new ones as she (sometimes literally) burns through the underworld in search of Shannon. There are plenty of casualities along the way, but Killian never slows down in her pursuit and never flinches away from the trauma she inflicts.

This novel is staggeringly violent, but its violence feels almost cathartic, rather than gratuitous. Killian and Shannon live in a world dominated by dangerous men who commoditize (literally) the women around them. In one scene, Killian and an accomplice tear through a brothel that sells underage girls with brass knuckles and a shot gun, and it’s impossible to feel anything but a sense of justice watching them put these predators out of business. That said, I must add the caveat that, in keeping with its tone, the book references sexual assault in a candid and descriptive way that may be off-putting to some readers.

The ending of Seven Crows hints at the beginning of a series and I hope that comes to fruition. In the era of #MeToo, vicariously experiencing Killian’s brutal form of justice feels just right, rather than too much.

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Seven Crows

Seven Crows

By Kate Kessler
Redhook
ISBN 9780316454254

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