Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “What Doesn't Kill You” as Want to Read:
What Doesn't Kill You
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

What Doesn't Kill You (Catherine Ling #2)

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,695 Ratings  ·  396 Reviews
It’s the deadliest poison known to man.
He’s the only one who knows its true power.
She’s the only one who can stop the evil.

The chase is on. . . .

Catherine Ling was abandoned on the streets of Hong Kong at age four. Schooled in the art of survival, she traded in the only commodity she had: information. As a teenager, she came under the tutelage of a mysterious man known onl
Hardcover, 406 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by St. Martin's Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
What Doesn't Kill You by Iris JohansenEve by Iris JohansenBonnie by Iris JohansenQuinn by Iris JohansenFirestorm by Iris Johansen
The Best Of Iris Johansen
1st out of 21 books — 22 voters
Hawkfasts by Richard ArdizzoneA Very Minor Prophet by James Bernard FrostTaken at Dusk by C.C. HunterThe Calling by Kelley ArmstrongThe Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
Best books of April, 2012
33rd out of 80 books — 170 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
My review in less than thirty words (starting now):

*Too much talking and conversations
*Too little action
*The characters were intriguing and complicated relationships appeal to me
*Better for an audiobook read

Reviewed for Affaire de Coeur magazine.
Mike (the Paladin)
Jan 22, 2016 Mike (the Paladin) rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: action, thriller
This book started out well. I got very interested and even invested in the story. The writing was a little weak as in there was a slightly stilted feel to some of the dialogue. Also there's a strong "been there done that feel to the plot.

I mean the enigmatic apothecary old man who makes "potions" beside which modern medicine pales. Still even with the weaknesses not too bad. We have a "kick-ass" female who's survived on the streets and become the killer of all killers who's now trying to raise h
Alex is The Romance Fox
Since meeting Catherine Ling in Chasing the Night, where Eve Duncan helps her find her lost son , I was hoping for her own book and I am totally so happy that she has….
 photo 1797420_773867762623839_7745974961418551679_n_zps8e5bb628.jpg

A beautiful and dangerous CIA operative, who was recruited by Venables, the crafty CIA head from the Eve Duncan series, when she was living by her wits in the streets of Hong Kong, she has finally been reunited with her long lost son.

Soon, she’s on a dangerous mission to save her friend a
Aug 02, 2012 Richard rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I could no longer stand this book at page 364. I had quit several times, but kept hoping it would get better. It did not.

The dialogue is stilted, as if it came through a computer program. Everyone speaks very correct and proper English, even though their native languages are Chinese, Russian, etc.

The story is fantastic with everyone being the most beautiful or brilliant or the greatest practitioner of herbal medicine; one character has total recall developed while he was being tortured as a capt
Sorry. I wanted to love this spin off from the Eve Duncan novels, but I really didn't like it. The writing was too theatrical. The emotion was exaggerated. I hated how every man wanted to bed Catherine. The CIA and the evil ruthless villains in this book want a deadly poison created by Catherine's old friend Hu Chang, an experienced apothecary. Perhaps I don't like rich villains who seek world domination. I couldn't buy into the story. I thought it and the villains were silly and way over the to ...more
May 22, 2012 Taylor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What Doesn't Kill You is a definite nail-biter! The suspense in incredible! I was left breathless throughout! Recruited by the CIA, Catherine will do anything to protect those she loves... Hu Chang and her son Luke. Through flashback we witness what she did in the past and we understand the cruelty that she'd endured and what she did in order to escape captivity. No child should be sold into slavery as a prostitute and made to live the life she did. There is a lot of "Kick Butt" action that will ...more
Apr 25, 2012 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Catherine Ling needs help, it seems her long time friend and once mentor Hu Chang has gotten himself into a heap of trouble and in the sights of some very bad characters, but it’s who the CIA sends to help her that’s not sitting too well. John Gallo is the one man she can’t seem to forget ever since they met on the case involving his and Eve Duncan’s daughter.
John Gallo knows what he wants but Catherine is an enigma and he knows he can’t push her or she’ll run and he only wants her running towar
♆ BookAddict  ✒ La Crimson Femme
Kick ass heroine who is a spy for the CIA and is part Asian? What is not to enjoy? Ms. Johansen's latest book is better. For a while, her Eve Duncan books were bogged down with a mother in denial for so bloody long. It was depressing and just morbid. In this book, Eve is barely mentioned and it is a relief.

We have a better protagonist - Catherine Ling. She's the one who helped Eve enjoy closure of Bonnie's death. This time, Catherine's loved one is under attack. Enigmatic Hu Chang is being hunte
May 13, 2012 Tonya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've enjoyed all the Eve Duncan books, but this one was specifically about Catherine Ling, a fascinating character who only played as a secondary character in the other books. The other books hinted about her relationship with Hu Chang, a father figure to Catherine, who had an amazing ability to create medicines and poisons. This book centers around this relationship and a deadly poison Hu Chang has invented an untraceable poison that kills a person and makes their death appear as a heart attack ...more
Tom Tischler
May 12, 2012 Tom Tischler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Catherine Ling is abandoned on the streets of Hong Kong at the
age of 4 and she lives by the only commodity that she has to
offer the sale of information. As a teenager a mysterious man
known as Hu Chang takes her in and raises her. Hu Chang is a
skilled assassin and a master poisoner. As a young woman Catherine
is recruited by the CIA and becomes one of their most effective
operatives. Her old friend Hu Chang creates a poision that is
so deadly and completely untraceable once in your system. Now
Jun 15, 2012 Beverly rated it really liked it

Catherine Ling is a CIA agent recruited from the streets of Hong Kong. Surviving by gathering and selling information, she meets Hu Chang, an Erstwhile apothecary i.e. an assassin and dealer in poisons. He has gotten himself mixed up with a very bad man who wants to use one of his potions. This particular poison is completely undetectable -- the perfect murder weapon. The CIA comes to his rescue because they want the formula. Catherine is determined to make sure Hu Chang is safe even if it mean
Apr 22, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book. The sexual tension between Gallo and Catherine is off the charts. I am starting to think think that they are going to be Johansen's new super couple because she has left this book that can go in so many directions with sequels it blows my mind.
As for this story it was well written with a cool twist. You also got to know Catherine Ling so much better and respect her more as a woman and a warrior then you did when she was in the fringes of the Eve Duncan books. I am looking forwar
Charlotte Sepulveda
Iris Johansen brings Cathrine Ling back into action along with John Gallo and we finally get to meet Hu Change. This story rivets you from the moment you open the book. You want Catherine to be successful in helping her friend but does Hu Change want her help? Old adversaries come back to get Hu Change to give them a unmentionable item and does he refuse of does he give in to his foes? What doesn't kill you brings you into a friendship, love and passion that may or may not be fated for Catherine ...more
♥ Ashleigh ♥  contrary to popular belief im not actually mad!
Spoilers ahead - read at own risk

So i decided to not bother going on with this book. Let me just say it isn't because this book is absolute rubbish or anything like that, i just don't really care about it, any of it. I'm not interested in any of the characters except for the boy, Luke (he's eleven by the way) and that's because i suspect he might have sociopathic tendencies if not antisocial personality disorder and i wanted to see where Iris took his character but that's it. He's n
May 11, 2012 Judy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have read most of the books by this author about Eve Duncan and her search for her missing daughter. I've enjoyed many of them including a previous book which featured Eve helping Catherine Ling find her missing son. This book features Eve and takes her to Hong Kong where she grew up on the streets. I just couldn't get into the story so didn't finish it. Think I am just tired of these stories.
Jun 03, 2012 Rachelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This book by Iris Johannsen stars one of the characters from her Eve Duncan forensic thrillers. I have read and anxiously looked forward to each new novel in this series, & have never been disappointed. I am sure there will be future novels featuring Catherine Ling--I can't wait!
Monica Williams
Catherine Ling who has remained something of an enigma through the Eve Duncan series gets her own stand alone title which explores her back story and her relationship with the enigmatic Hu Chang. Its an entertaining fast paced thriller, perfect for someone who is just looking for a fun read.
Apr 29, 2012 Kay rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Although the story was good, I just can't get into the characters. I also have a problem with the way she writes [too much dialog ]. A normal person would quit reading her books when they feel the way I do, but I keep hoping for one that will captivate me as her earlier ones did.
Jun 19, 2012 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
For fans of the Eve Duncan books, this was a great continuation of Catherine's story. It delves deeper into her past and explains some of who she is. And.... John Gallo, need I say more. Good book, and I think it sets the stage for more from Catherine and John.
Apr 26, 2012 Dana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The end of the Eve Duncan era has ended and the Catherine Ling era has officially begun. I loved all the books in the Eve Duncan series and am looking forward to what the future holds for Catherine Ling. I love the interaction between her and John.
Reindert Van Zwaal
A nice read involving far more than the plot involving the bad guy. A nice story about strange relationships and dealing with traumas. Sometimes the tension fell away a bit, therefore only 4 stars.
May 11, 2012 Nancy rated it really liked it
Great book. Has created a new spinoff series without Eve and Bonnie. Keeps your interest throughout. Lots of action.

Catherine Ling was abandoned on the streets of Hong Kong at age four. Schooled in the art of survival, she traded in the only commodity she had: information. As a teenager, she came under the tutelage of a mysterious man known only as Hu Chang—a skilled assassin and master poisoner. As a young woman, she was recruited by the CIA and now, she is known as one of their most effective
May 22, 2012 E. rated it really liked it
Shelves: suspense
Catherine Ling: CIA agent extraordinaire who sometimes listens to her long-suffering boss Venable, occasional ally of Eve Duncan, guilt-ridden mother of Luke who has been rescued from his horrific imprisonment and, friend and sometimes student of the enigmatic Hu Chang. Catherine is still gingerly testing out the nearly ruptured bonds between Luke and herself when she is thrust into a mad race to discover one of Hu Chang's earthshaking secrets that nearly costs him his life. Unwillingly allied w ...more
Robin Priddy
Mar 09, 2012 Robin Priddy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Catherine Ling grew up on the streets of Hong Kong. Her mother was a prostitute and she overdosed when Catherine was five years old, leaving her alone. Catherine vowed to never become like her mother. Catherine learned to listen to what went on around her and she traded in information. When Catherine gets word that a local gang is going to rob a local storekeeper, she races there to warn him hoping he will reward her with payment. But she gets there to late. Two members of the gang are already ...more
Camille Turner
Jun 15, 2012 Camille Turner rated it it was ok
I read a few Eve Duncan mysteries and since the mystery was being solved in the books EVE, QUINN & BONNIE, I read them for closure. I vowed after reading the last one (and trying to read the collab novels with her son)that I would not read another Iris Johansen book. Well, I got sucked in again. The main character Catherine was introduced in an earlier Eve Duncan novel. She has a colored past so I started reading thinking, this book would be better than the last few I read by this author. Un ...more
Kathy Martin
May 05, 2012 Kathy Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once I got used to the characters in this one I couldn't put the book down. What took me a while was that the main characters - Catherine Ling and Hu Chang - both had sort of strange reactions. I almost had a feeling that they were autistic because of the lack of emotion. Catherine had been on her own in Hong Kong since she was a young child. Her mother was a prostitute who died when Catherine was only four. Another prostitute took her in but there didn't seem to be any emotional attachment. Cat ...more
Dec 05, 2012 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Title: What Doesn’t Kill You (Catherine Ling series #2)

Author: Iris Johansen

ISBN: 9780312651299

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Synopsis (from

In this breathtaking thriller, number-one bestselling author Iris Johansen showcases one of her most fascinating characters—pitted against one of the most ruthless killers…

Abandoned on the streets of Hong Kong, Catherine Ling was schooled in the art of survival by the mysterious Hu Chang, a master assassin and poisoner. Now recruited by the CIA, Cat
May 06, 2012 Jodi rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-read
Catherine Ling first made her appearance in an Eve Duncan book and stayed an active player ever since but was so compelling she deserved her own story. This is the first but should not be the last of those stories. This book focuses on her relationship with Hu Chang, a master pharmacologist, who has been the single biggest influence on her life. When he is attacked and the CIA is brought in to save him, the CIA and Venable, bring in Catherine. And then Venable brings John Gallo because Hu Chang ...more
Yvonne Persa

So glad to have in between books from a series. I hope that this one keeps going! This is a great book of suspense and a page turner! Great read!!!
Jun 29, 2012 Hilary rated it liked it
Shelves: adventure, thriller
This book has just confirmed that I'm done with Iris Johansen. I'd hoped that a non-Bonnie book would work better for me, but no, it just annoyed me even more. All her dialogue is interchangeable between the characters: remove any personal history references and then try to identify the unattributed quote. You can't tell Gallo from Joe or even Hu Chang, or Eve from Catherine or Jane. To an extent you can even ignore gender. They all speak and act the same way, with the only real difference appea ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Haven (Bishop/Special Crimes Unit, #13)
  • Afraid To Die (To Die #4)
  • Backfire (FBI Thriller, #16)
  • Left for Dead (Ali Reynolds, #7)
  • Stalked (Lucy Kincaid, #5)
  • On the Edge (Cold Ridge/U.S. Marshals, #1.5)
  • Cause for Alarm
  • Fireproof (Maggie O'Dell, #10)
  • Sleepwalker (Nightwatcher #2)
  • Night Watch (Alexandra Cooper, #14)
Iris Johansen is a New York Times bestselling author. She began her writing after her children left home for college. She first achieved success in the early 1980s writing category romances. In 1991, Johansen began writing suspense historical romance novels, starting with the publication of The Wind Dancer. In 1996 Johansen switched genres, turning to crime fiction, with which she has had great su ...more
More about Iris Johansen...

Other Books in the Series

Catherine Ling (4 books)
  • Chasing The Night (Eve Duncan, #11; Catherine Ling, #1)
  • Live to See Tomorrow (Catherine Ling, #3)
  • Your Next Breath (Catherine Ling, #4)

Share This Book

“find Nardik, and we’ll find Hu Chang.” “It will be okay, Catherine,” he said quietly. “I know you’re” 0 likes
“I have it.” She got into the passenger seat of the security van.” 0 likes
More quotes…