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

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  643 ratings  ·  116 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

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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...more
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...more
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
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...more
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...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...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...more
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
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
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...more
#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
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.
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 :)
Starts out with a few too many metaphors, but once Sharp lets her protagonist loose Killer Instinct soars. Impressive first novel for this author.
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
[NOTE: My computer has, well, died. As a result, I am many, many books into the 'future' and my reviews for the books are going to be unfortunately sparse or very general. Don't expect detailed analysis, I will be giving you more lasting impressions than piece by piece dissection]

This was a good, but not great book. It was original in many aspects, generic in others. Charlie is a unique female character, and the plot line is also unique enough to set it apart - but in the end it still feels like...more
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...more
Being interested in reading series mystery/detectives I ran across Zoe Sharp during my aimless wandering through book worlds online. I admit, reading the reviews I was skeptical as to whether or not I'd like this book for the simple reason that I'm interested in a particular type of hero (principled but tempted by physical violence, alone in the world by choice but always tempted to abandon this lifestyle). Female main characters usually do not fit this model if my previous reads are any indicat...more
Best Crime Books
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
Dec 18, 2013 D rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: mystery
Recommendation from Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher series - one of my all time favorite hero's, is what prompted me to give this author a try. Her own publisher suggested reading her series on Charlie Fox in order, sho I followed that advice - which I now understand and concur.

Talk about fast paced! And a very likeable hero with some disturbing emotional wounds. Disfiguring in how unbelievably cruel people can be when that don't want difficult realities to shatter their comfortable littl...more
Debbie Bennett
I read book something-or-other in this series as a review copy some time ago. It was perfectly readable out-of-order, but it intrigued me enough to look out the rest of the series and try to read them in the correct order - not an easy feat as the books are confusingly named. However the author later explained to me the different UK and US markets and it all made a sort of sense.

This is book 1 in a crime series featuring Charlotte (Charlie) Fox, who was kicked out of the army for reasons which b...more
Charlotte (Charlie) Fox has a history with Special Forces in the British Army which did not end well. As a direct result the relationship with her parents did not go any better. Charlie was not to blame and now she is living in Lancaster, in the North of England, with friends and a rewarding career passing on self-defense skills to (mainly) women. Life is peaceful until girls start dying in horrible ways at the hands of a crazed killer.

After saving her friend while on a girls-night-out, Charlie...more
I really enjoyed Killer Instinct, and loved Charlie Fox. She is tough and independent and is certainly not someone to mess with. As tough as she is, she is also a survivor who is compassionate and caring and comes across as somewhat vulnerable, so all in all a complex character. I think Zoë Sharp did an outstanding job in building up the character of Charlie to make her someone we can relate to.

I felt for Charlie when she was interacting with her parents who had let her down so badly when she ne...more
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What do you think of this author 13 25 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...
First Drop (Charlie Fox Thriller, #4) Second Shot (Charlie Fox Thriller, #6) Fourth Day (Charlie Fox Thriller, #8) Third Strike (Charlie Fox Thriller #7) Riot Act (Charlie Fox Thriller, #2)

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