Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Hard Knocks (Charlie Fox Thriller #3)” as Want to Read:
Hard Knocks (Charlie Fox Thriller #3)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Hard Knocks

(Charlie Fox Thriller #3)

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  665 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Perhaps if the army had known what was inside me, what I would eventually turn into, they might not have been so keen to let me go.’

Charlie really didn’t care who shot dead her traitorous ex-army comrade Kirk Salter during a bodyguard training course in Germany. But when old flame Sean Meyer asks her to go undercover at Major Gilby’s elite school and find out what happene
Paperback, 400 pages
Published February 2004 by Piatkus Books (first published March 27th 2003)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Hard Knocks, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Hard Knocks

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.29  · 
Rating details
 ·  665 ratings  ·  45 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Hard Knocks (Charlie Fox Thriller #3)
Apr 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, e-books
Charlie Fox is asked to go undercover at a bodyguard school in Germany by her ex-lover Sean Meyer to discover the suspicious death of a former Special Forces colleague. Charlie still has strong feelings for Sean, but cannot bring herself to tell him that she was raped by four other SF colleagues, with the dead one having saved her life, but balking at telling the truth during the investigation. Bodyguard boot camp is awful, and instructors start getting killed to cover up a kidnapping and a repr ...more
RachelW (BamaGal)
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Charlie is sent to a military style bodyguard school in Germany to investigate a murder, where she revisits some bad memories of her days in the army. The first quarter of the book is a tad mundane, as it shows the ins-and-outs of the daily routine of the camp. After that, the the investigation picks up, and the last part especially is riveting reading.

Looking forward to Charlie's new career as an international bodyguard. I hope there comes to be a solid group of secondary characters. I really l
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Charlie Fox is one of my favourite female protagonists - competent, cynical and with a wicked sense of humour. Zoe Sharp extends the arc of the series in this book and manages to give the reader a crash course in the basics of body guarding and personal protection which the reader will require in the next instalment. She does so with a finely layered plot, interesting characters and some great humour. I really enjoy this series.
The Cats’ Mother
Third in the Charlie Fox series, this one has her enrolling at a bodyguard training school in Germany as she goes undercover to find out what happened to a former army colleague, as a favour to Sean. The plot was a bit confusing as it rattled along but it all got sorted out by the end. I like that each of the books so far has had a completely different setting and range of characters, and that Charlie's personality is evolving with her experiences. ...more
Seeley James
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Hard Knocks by Zoë Sharp - $3.99 E

The phrase “cozy mystery” brings the image of my Aunt Mabel sipping tea by the fire on a rainy day while reading a mystery featuring a heroine of her age and gentleness. As you might have already guessed—I’ve never read a cozy mystery.*

Zoë Sharp provides something a good deal more to my liking: the cozy thriller. NOT about, or for, tea-sipping aunties. But more about Cozy Thrillers later. Hard Knocks is the third in the Charlie Fox series and Ms. Sharp’s great w
Aug 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars rounded up to 5 Stars.
Jul 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought the download of the first four of this series without having heard of this author - mostly because of an endorsement by Lee Child. I really enjoyed he first one in the series (Killer Instinct); the second one (Riot Act) was quite a disappointment by comparison. Of course, I still had the other two on my Kindle, so I moved on to Hard Knocks. As I pointed out in my reviews of the other two books, this author's writing style is highly interesting to me - her command of the language and her ...more
Nov 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Charlie Fox is my new favorite mystery-solving bad ass. She's pretty good at getting into scrapes, but since she teaches self-defense and was a victim of a horrific attack years ago, she's excellent at getting out of them now. Now the pendulum swings the other way--she's terrified that she's going to kill someone instead of simply maiming them.

When her old British Special Forces officer/lover contacts her to find out why a colleague mysteriously died at a bodyguard training facility in Germany,
As this series continues we get to find out more about the brutal rape Charlie experienced whilst in the Army and its aftermath.
Sean (her ex lover/C.O.) hires Charlie to go undercover into a Body Guard training school in Germany to find out whop killed one of Sean's colleagues.
Charlie has to pretend she is a lesser of a trained operative than she actually is, but occasionally this is forgotten, like when she hits a perfect score at the shooting range, or she is able to hold her own in unarmed co
Feb 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoy this series.
Charlie Fox has no desire to see any of her old Army "buddies," and when Kirk Salter dies, she has no interest in the funeral. However, she is asked to attend and discovers that there's something not quite right about his death. She goes undercover at an elite bodyguard school to find out what is going on. In the process, she learns more about herself and what does matter.

Will she live through the events? Probably, since there are a lot more books in the series, b
Sep 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
I've really taken to this series, it's terrific! Non-stop action and suspense mixed with a real who-dun-it mystery. Zoe Sharp has matured as a writer thru this series and the stories are now consistently top notch.

of course, I could find fault (nothing is perfect), but why do so when it did everything I asked of it as a story. That is, it captivated me and never let me down from an absorbing experience.

I'm loving this series!
Judith Cranswick
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Stayed up until the small hours to finish this book. The only disappointment is that I have come to an end and tonight I have no Charlie Fox to read! I have read every other Charlie Fox adventure so hurry up and get writing Zoe!
Hard Knocks is as fast and furious as the rest of the series. Tense, gripping, thrilling with a plot that twists and turns and keeps you on the edge of your seat, biting your nails in anticipation of the ever present danger.
Michael Sherer
May 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
I came late to the Zoe Sharp/Charlie Fox party and decided top start at the beginning. I'm glad I did because I can see the steady progression of Sharp as a writer and Charlie as a terrific protagonist. Hard Knocks takes a while to build up steam, but once it does, it'll rock and roll you flat on your back. ...more
Nov 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! Charlie Fox is an amazingly complicated character that you just have to continuely cheer for. This third book is as page turning as the first two. I will definitely be reading more in this series and recommending it to all my friends!

Jan 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Catching up on the earlier books in this series. I really like Charlie but disagree with the new Lee Child Foreward that opines that if Jack Reacher were a woman, he'd be Charlie Fox..." - a rather arrogant boast if you as me. If you haven't read the series, try it and decide for yourself. Charlie isn't a super hero type, merely competent and not a girlie girl. I found her character refreshing and realistic. Perhaps being written by a woman makes the difference.

Try a couple for yourself and deci
The plots of earlier books in the series were a little too simplistic, but this one veers hard in the other direction. The mystery this time out was unpleasantly convoluted.

I like the sense of voice and the overall style these have. I'm less fond of the way that the characters keep making these odd jumps of logic that the writing doesn't support. They're quick reads though, so I'll still probably try one more.
Dylan Cundiff
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have been truly enjoying this series. So far this one is my favorite. I like how as the relationship with Sean grows, Charlie is and will be the main focal point. The attention to detail, along with the brutality give it a very cool feel, while the mystery did leave my guessing to the end - and as usual what I thought was going to happen did not. I really love the book, the strong characters, and story.
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Each Charlie Fox story is different: it’s not the same plot again and again. There are of course familiar structures in each—that’s what makes them a Charlie Fox story after all. I enjoy these novels a lot.
Any Length
Sep 08, 2018 rated it liked it
good book and I loved the progression of Charlie and Fox's way of relating to each other. I am onto the next book already. Can't wait how it goes on. ...more
Christine Cock
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kick ass

Charlie Fox does what we all wish we could do to the bad guys. The series continues to get better and better.
Nancy Nelson
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller
Likeable heroine; back up to the promise of the first book in the series.
Woman Reading

Hard Knocks #3 was written as a standalone novel. At this point, Charlie was still not a bodyguard but she was closer to accepting this as a potential career.

In response to a personal request from Sean Meyer, Charlie went undercover in Germany to Einsbaden Manor, which has a training program for bodyguards, to suss out the circumstances of the demise of Sean’s employee. This story set-up is a clever variation of the English classic mystery device of a suspicious death in a closed house sett
Best Crime Books & More
Apr 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
I recently finished book 2 of the Charlie Fox series by Zoe Sharp and couldn't help myself by going straight on to book 3. For those that aren't familiar with Zoe Sharp she is a female author that has now written 10 books in a series featuring Charlie Fox. Charlie is ex-special forces who moved onto self-defence training and then on to working at a gym. For those of you that want to read the series in order maybe don't read my review as inevitably the series has moved on and it may spoil the plo ...more
HARD KNOCKS (Thriller-England-Cont) – VG
Sharp, Zoe – 3rd in series
Piatkus, 2003- UK Hardcover
Charlie Fox is asked by her former Special Forces instructor, and former lover, Sean, to investigate the death of a man who had betrayed her friendship and ruined her military career. Although she doesn’t care that he’s dead, she can’t refuse the request and goes undercover at a bodyguard training school in Germany. It soon becomes clear there’s something much darker and more deadly going on at the schoo
Jul 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
#3 in the Charlie Fox series. Self defense expert Charlie Fox is recuperating from a cracked sternum she received in Riot Act (2002).
She can't refuse ex-lover Sean Meyer when he asks her to take on an investigation. Since Great Britain placed great restrictions on firearms, bodyguard training courses have relocated to the continent. Her low-key participation in the course doesn't work out as well as she had hoped. She is not the only student operating under false pretenses, but what agendas do
Sheri Hart
Mar 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this is my favorite Charlie Fox book so far.

The relationship between Charlie and her former instructor/lover Sean is more front and centre. We get to see them in action together again, fighting off the bad guys. They also get closer personally and are break through some of the barriers keeping them apart. (This is the romance fan in me talking).

As with the other two books, the action scenes in the book come fast and furious and we get to see Charlie kick some butt (even though she's sup
K, Nz
Aug 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love this book, especially after re-reading "Killer Instinct" (the e-book with extra scenes featuring Sean).
It's not often I re-read books, though the Charlie Fox series particularly the early books, are favourites. I'm not a car buff at all, though the on-the-edge-of-your-seat journey in a Nissan Skyline had me 'googling' to find out what was so great about it, and I am impressed. I can imagine it - the descriptions are that good. Charlie's take on her situation, and her wry humour and pithy
Sep 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm really enjoying this series and each book gets better and better. I like the slowly unfolding story of the protagonists background and can't shake the feeling that there are more secrets there than the reader knows yet. Meanwhile, the foreground mystery was intriguing as were all of the characters. I love how Charlie's character is progressing and like that there are actually some people in her life that seem to care about her. Great story. I look forward to reading subsequent books in the s ...more
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I didn't enjoy this book. During the first half of the book, after I put it down, I struggled to remember what it was I'd been reading. I just didn't care about any of the characters, least of all Charlie Fox and her irritating monologues about Sean Meyer. I found the plot a bit ridiculous as well, straining belief. It all came across as rather mechanical, so I read it mechanically to the end and returned it to the library. I will not be reading any more of the series. ...more
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Black Coral (Underwater Investigation Unit, #2)
  • Marauder (Oregon Files, #15)
  • Who Speaks for the Damned (Sebastian St. Cyr, #15)
  • The Damned
  • The Guy Who Died Twice (Detective D.D. Warren, #9.5)
  • Credible Threat (Ali Reynolds, #15)
  • Missing and Endangered (Joanna Brady #19)
  • The Dying Hour (Jason Wade, #1)
  • Home Truths
  • The Last Agent (Charles Jenkins, #2)
  • Candy Apple Red (Jane Kelly, #1)
  • A Private Cathedral (Dave Robicheaux #23)
  • 1st Case
  • Carolina Breeze (Bluebell Inn Romance, #2)
  • Smoke Bitten (Mercy Thompson, #12)
  • Dangerous Minds (Knight and Moon, #2)
  • Electric Blue (Jane Kelly, #2)
See similar books…
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.

Other books in the series

Charlie Fox Thriller (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Killer Instinct (Charlie Fox Thriller #1)
  • Riot Act (Charlie Fox Thriller #2)
  • 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)
  • Absence of Light (Charlie Fox Thriller #11)

Related Articles

If you ask us, it's always the perfect time to lose yourself in a page-turning mystery. To help you sleuth out a new read, we asked the...
81 likes · 75 comments