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Killer Instinct (Charlie Fox Thriller, #1)
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Killer Instinct (Charlie Fox #1)

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  824 ratings  ·  138 reviews
KILLER INSTINCT is the first in Zoë Sharp’s highly acclaimed Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Fox crime thriller series, now available in e-format for the first time, complete with Foreword by Lee Child, two previously deleted scenes, Meet Charlie Fox and Meet Zoë Sharp extras, an excerpt from the next Charlie Fox novel – RIOT ACT – and a bonus excerpt from Brett Battles’ Jonathan Quin ...more
Hardcover, UK
Published August 2001 by Piatkus Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,786)
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Seeley James
Jul 31, 2012 Seeley James rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Seeley by: the author
I accidentally followed some author I’d never heard of simply because her tweets tended toward humor. After reading a few of her clever observations, I picked up Killer Instinct, her first book. Wow. What a great book. And don’t I feel dim for not having heard of her before? Yes. (But I’m used to that feeling.)

The best part about discovering an established author is: No wait for the next book!

What makes an author like Ms. Sharp stand out from others is her skill. The writing is exceptional. Not
Pam (E.P. Scott)
3.5 Stars
This series should be read in order. I read one of the stories (Absence of Light) and got hooked but I regret reading it first as it has somewhat spoiled some of the parts as I have been reading this series. I thought it important to make my feelings known for those who read this first review of the first book.

I have heard many wonderful things about this writer, hell Lee Child sings her praises, so I thought I would give her stories a read.

First, the story was a good st
If it hadn’t been for Lee Child’s glowing recommendation, I might not have picked up Zoe Sharp’s debut novel at all. While the action doesn’t paint the page the way a Jack Reacher novel does, it still managed to hold my attention, although it did take me more than a quarter of the novel to become fully invested in the story. But once I did, I was more than curious to see where Charlie Fox took me next.

Charlotte “Charlie” Fox rivals most men in her strength of character, love of motorcycles, and
Giovanni Gelati

Puzzled? Yes I was puzzled when I saw that this novel was available. There are eight, count them eight, novels thus far in the Charlotte “Charlie” Fox series, Killer Instinct being the first. What took them so long to cross the ocean is anyone’s guess, but I am glad someone had the sense to bring it over here. Busted Flush Press has been nice enough to get them into our hands and I for one am very happy.
I read all the praise from Zoe Sharp’s fellow authors and many comparisons of everyone’s char
Count me in for this series. I like Zoe Sharp's heroine, Charlie Fox: she's skilled in the martial arts; she takes care of her friends; and she refuses to back down from an opponent. At the same time, she thinks about the consequences of beating someone down, and--at least in this, the opening installment of the series--she hesitates before using lethal force. This compassion is refreshing, as most protagonists who know a thing or two about bare-handed fighting go through a moral crisis along th ...more
Jul 24, 2015 Lisa added it
This book to me was a let down for me it took way to long to get into the story & at times brought in romance between Charlie & Mark which bores me i'm afraid i like fast paced novels something that grabs your attention straight away am probably picky but its just my thoughts
Kathy Davie
First in the Charlie Fox thriller series based in Lancaster, England, and revolving around Charlie, a self-defense instructor.

My Take
I can see why Lee Child is impressed with Zoë Sharp. She’s good. It’s even more amazing that this is her first book. The only quibbles I could come up with was why didn’t she figure out the bit about seven a whole lot earlier? And WHY would she stay in her flat?? Why doesn’t she pick up on what Gary’s up to? Why would she go back to work at the Adelphi after the la
Best Crime Books & More
Being somebody that buys more than I read, I have that nagging feeling that I am missing out when people get excited over authors I have never read. Yes I know, I have issues; don’t get me started! When I saw on my lovely Facebook page that people were excitedly chattering about Zoe Sharp I immediately Googled her and realised that she has been writing for the best part of ten years. How dare I not know about this crime author, especially being a British female author? I immediately ordered her ...more
Jacob Proffitt
I've actually read maybe half this series, but I'm only really going to review this one (and it's going to be short because I finished it a month or more ago). The series actually does a good job both keeping the flow going forward (so you know more or less what you're in for with the next based on what you know from the previous) and building a history and reasonable consequences creating a broader narrative for the course of Charlie's life and career. This is a fantastic element of the series ...more
Sharon Michael
Entertaining read, interesting main character, reasonably believable 'tough girl' type. The plot is fairly predictable, with the nightclub being the focal point for various illegalities, wrapped up with a serial killer, but moves along well.

My personal issue with this book was the main character. Presented as a 'tough girl', well trained through the military and currently running her own business as a self-defense instructor, she made too many 'dumb' mistakes, things she would not have done if t
Loved the mystery from a different angle. Fell in love with the characters and I can't wait to read the rest of this series. Zoe Rocks! I didn't expect to be so emotionally involved with her characters. Shocking, tough subject matters and a realism that we don't know... what really goes on behind doors of even our own friends. I'm so glad I didn't start with the American's first book of the series. Meeting Zoe was amazing at the Mayhem mystery event in Omaha and seeing her in action before I rea ...more
Bert Edens
I actually completely stumbled onto this book online by accident, with Charlie being a self-defense instructor catching my eye. So I reserved it at my library.

I really enjoyed this, and can't wait to read others in the series! It's nice to see a strong female character who knows how to take care of herself, but at the same time isn't some super-psycho machine with no faults or failures.

As a martial artist, I found almost all (but not all) of the techniques and the situations believable, includi
Michael Sherer
With not only a nice blurb, but a forward written by Lee Child, I was expecting a lot from Ms. Sharp. Unfortunately, I was less than impressed. I found her writing clumsy and amateurish at times, and the pace often way too slow as the heroine got bogged down internalizing or going off on unnecessary tangents. I'm going to chalk this up to freshman inexperience and give another of her novels a chance. But based on this book, Zoe Sharp is no Lee Child.
Barbara ★
Despite Lee Child's glowing intro, I didn't think Charlie Fox was anything like Jack Reacher. Other than the obvious ex-military connection, there really isn't anything similar in the two characters. I liked Charlie but I she over-estimated her ability to defend herself against musclebound creeps. Oh yeah, she won in the end but that was to be expected as she is the heroine of the series. IMHO the plot was an over-used one and very predictable. (view spoiler) ...more
Mish Middelmann
Gritty, violent, well written. If Charlie Fox had been a man I probably wouldn't have got past page 50. As a woman she brings something fresh.
Patrick Fox
I really enjoyed this book. Zoë Sharp has created a believable hero in Charlie Fox. Although she's tough and resourceful, she has flaws and self doubt, which stop her from being an invincible super-woman.

I discovered this book by accident, and only downloaded it out of curiosity because of Charlie's surname, but I am so glad I did. Reading this book gave me the same feeling I got when I read my first Jack Reacher novel, and that was delight at discovering a serial character I liked to read abou
#1 in the Charlotte “Charlie” Fox series. Charlie teaches defensive tactics to groups of women in Lancaster, England. She was kicked out of Army Special Forces and estranged from her parents for reasons that gradually emerge. Now she subsists in a flat that is not far from demolition. She is a curious mixture of compassion, impatience and anger. Offered a job interview at a new club, she thinks "I didn't kid myself that the money wouldn't come in useful". Scraping by with no discernible future p ...more
P.D. Martin
Zoe Sharp's Killer Instinct introduces an engaging new leading lady, Charlie Fox, and I'm looking forward to reading more Charlie.

This was the first book I read on my Kindle, and I was completely hooked by the time I was about 15% in. From there, Zoe Sharp kept stepping things up and by around the 60% mark, I couldn't bear to put it down.

I'm off to download the second book :)
I now have a new favorite author, Zoë Sharp. This series with Charlie Fox makes great reading. Charlie, a former special forces agent, has a lot of secrets, violence, and tragedy in her past, and after she's kicked out of the armed forces, she has to start over. She's teaching some self defense classes for women, and working in gym, but none of that work takes advantage of her army training and top-notch skills. A security gig at a local nightclub sets her on a new track - when a patron is murde ...more
It's hard to come up with a single rating for a book that you think is well written, but that you find disturbing enough that you don't want to read another book by the author.

The story is very violent. As the author herself notes, there are a number of incidents in this book that define the character, and move her from being a victim to being a protector. But those incidents that that place in the story are very bloody and very graphically described. And the incident that starts her on this pat
An excellent mystery novel. The first in the Charlie Fox series. Strong female character. Set in northern England. Highly recommended for readers of murder mysteries with strong female characters.
Starts out with a few too many metaphors, but once Sharp lets her protagonist loose Killer Instinct soars. Impressive first novel for this author.
Denise Dougherty
This book introduces Charlie Fox and gives us her background story. Although I favor audio books, this paperback kept my interest and I whizzed through it quickly.

The action was good and, although I guessed who the villain was, that didn't lessen the impact of the ending. There was only one small bit that I found conflicted the character profile of Charlie but guess that reflects that we all own contradictions.

Author's early books not always available in my library but those set in the US are
Janice Spina
This is quite an exciting and fast-paced thriller that keeps the reader on the edge of his/her seat. The protagonist, Charlie, a tough, resilient and troubled woman, is struggling to get her life in order and come to terms after a horrific experience in the service. She was gang raped by some of her fellow servicemen and forced out when they turned on her making her the guilty party. Her parents do not support her during this difficult time which forces her to depend on own inner strength to sur ...more
K, Nz
I started the Charlie Fox series with Riot Act/Hard Knocks a few years ago now, and was unsuccessful finding ‘Killer Instinct’ through the library, as it was out of print at the time. With the reissue a while back I was finally able to read it (completely absorbed for an afternoon), and fill in some of the gaps alluded to in the later books.

I like details and back story so it’s really satisfying to read about Clare and Jacob, as well as background about where Charlie came from as a person. I do
Wonder Woman, Modesty Blaise, and now Charlie Fox. As Lee Child notes in his introduction, female action heroes are few and far between, and Charlie Fox is a welcome addition. Sharp has created a character with a strong backstory, a clear and solid presence, and plenty of room for emotional growth. She is far from perfect, but she has a good heart; she is someone I can like as a person as well as a kick-ass heroine. I have added the second book in the series to my TBR list and am eager to check ...more
A patron came in looking for Charlie Fox books, a 1974 Daniel Boone type hero. While someone was helping him, I found these ones on amazon and, intrigued, thought I'd give them a try.

Motorcycle gals - you might really dig these. The heroine is a rider, and not an unrealistic, difficult-to-relate-to super-heroine Lara Croft type on a Supersport motorcyle. She rides an RGV 250 (comparable to the Ninjette) & is wise to her limitations. She's realistically flawed and vulnerable - her hi
The Cats Mother
I was lent the 6th book in this series with the comment that it's about "the female Jack Reacher". Intrigued, I looked the series up and read enough reviews to realize I wanted to read them in order. Luckily I found the ebooks going cheap on amazon and snapped up the first 5. I've got various other paperbacks on the go but being able to read the iPad when I wake up too early (jet lag) without waking the hubby was a good excuse to start this, then of course I had to keep going.
I'm not sure about
Sheri Hart
I was fortunate to win a free download of Zoe Sharp's FOX FIVE short story collection on the Murderati blog a few months ago. I really enjoyed all of the stories and added KILLER INSTINCT to my To Be Read list then because I wanted to learn more about Charlie Fox. I admit however to not really loving short stories that much because they are well...short. They don't always give the chance to connect emotionally with a character. So I was lured away from KI by other shiny stories calling to be rea ...more
I devoured this book almost in one sitting while waiting for the rest of my family (those who haven't been sick over Christmas ;-) to prepare our Boxing Day blowout. I felt stuffed after the meal (as is proper after all): I felt nicely full after this book (as is equally proper).

I liked the way we gradually learned of Charlie's past: not in one huge infodump but as and when it was relevant to current happenings. I liked the way that her reactions to events seemed realistic, without preaching tha
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What do you think of this author 13 29 Apr 25, 2013 12:08AM  
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Zoë Sharp spent most of her formative years living aboard a catamaran on the northwest coast of England. She opted out of mainstream education at the age of twelve and wrote her first novel at fifteen. She became a freelance photojournalist in 1988 and started writing her Charlie Fox crime thriller series after receiving death-threats in the course of her work.
More about Zoë Sharp...

Other Books in the Series

Charlie Fox (10 books)
  • Riot Act (Charlie Fox Thriller, #2)
  • Hard Knocks (Charlie Fox Thriller #3)
  • First Drop (Charlie Fox Thriller, #4)
  • Road Kill (Charlie Fox Thriller #5)
  • Second Shot (Charlie Fox Thriller, #6)
  • Third Strike (Charlie Fox Thriller #7)
  • Fourth Day (Charlie Fox Thriller, #8)
  • Fifth Victim (Charlie Fox Thriller, #9)
  • Die Easy (Charlie Fox Thriller, #10)
First Drop (Charlie Fox Thriller, #4) Second Shot (Charlie Fox Thriller, #6) Riot Act (Charlie Fox Thriller, #2) Third Strike (Charlie Fox Thriller #7) Fourth Day (Charlie Fox Thriller, #8)

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