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Killer Instinct

(Charlie Fox #1)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,470 ratings  ·  198 reviews
'Susie Hollins may have been no great shakes as a karaoke singer, but I didn't think that was enough reason for anyone to want to kill her.' Charlie Fox makes a living of sorts teaching self-defence to women. It's a skill she picked up of necessity having been kicked out of the army for reasons she prefers not to go into. So when Susie Hollins is found dead only a few ...more
Hardcover, UK, 352 pages
Published August 2001 by Piatkus Books
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Asteropê It shows up for me, when I search Zoe Sharp on GR. I'm not sure why it might not show up for you. Is it still occurring, I see you asked this a year…moreIt shows up for me, when I search Zoe Sharp on GR. I'm not sure why it might not show up for you. Is it still occurring, I see you asked this a year ago? (less)

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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  1,470 ratings  ·  198 reviews

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Seeley James
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 18, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Maureen DeLuca
May 18, 2018 rated it liked it
It was an ok sorta book. I most like will read the second in this series to give it a chance. I wish I could say that I liked it a lot, but at times I was bored....but I kept on reading .....I liked the idea of the character just after a while I just wanted the book to hurry up and be done. Not much of a review, but my best guess for now is giving book number two a shot. One day....
Giovanni Gelati
Jul 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Kathy Davie
Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller
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
Best Crime Books & More
Jun 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 17, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Jul 24, 2015 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
⋆  yel  ⋆
Nov 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: review, 2019-reads
Date read: November 17-November 21, 2019

Actual Rating: 3.00 STARS

Cheers to all the story with a strong and tough female character. It was always fascinating to read about women with the ability to level themselves with men, or even proved them how capable and even more competent they are compared to the opposite sex. It felt refreshing and reassuring. Though there are elements and parts of this story that didn't sit with me well, I still think I will continue with this series and blessed
RachelW (BamaGal)
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to RachelW (BamaGal) by: Linda
3.5 Stars. Nice debut novel. Good storyline, likable lead, eminently readable. It took a bit of time for the story to get going, and Charlie made a few pretty dumb mistakes; but I liked the writing style and how the story flowed. For all the imperfections, I was never bored, never tempted to skim.

Charlie is quirky, flawed, and all too human...I'm looking forward to what happens next.
Jacob Proffitt
Dec 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, suspense
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
Mar 02, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Michael Sherer
Feb 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
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.
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 ...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,
Manuel Antão
Oct 16, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2013

Good grief. What a boring book. Cliches, predictable plot, bad writing, pointless rambling, wasted words, lack of perception and insight, flat characters with nothing interesting to say and do and characters I don't care about. (Notice I didn't say 'characters I don't like', ie, I don't have to like characters to care about what happens to them).

On top of that, I hate it when a character in the begininng of a book is just the same at the end of it..."
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, audiobook


Yes! This was good. I will definitely be continuing this series.
April Klasen
Jul 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017-challenge
Killer Instinct by Zoe Sharp. It was lucky that I pushed through my initial irritation with the story because it didn’t give anything away until the very end. Oooohhhh, it’s been a while since I’ve read a good mystery/thriller.
Charlie Fox teaches self-defence and likes to think she is doing a good job helping other women. Then again, maybe not when three women are violently raped and two of them murdered. And now the killer has his sights on her. Not only that, she accepts a job working security
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Amy by: Lancaster
Shelves: 2018, brit-trip, skimmed
I'm going to count this book even though I read only the first 100 pages and then the last 100 pages. Good premise but there was too much going on with this book.
(1) The FMC had so much backstory and trauma. It was too much for the first hundred pages.
(2) Shut up about the stupid motorcycles. We get it. Charlie rides a motorcycle and so do all her friends. I don't really care what type they rode, or how it handled, if it needed to be warmed up, or anything else. It's just transportation to the
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 ...more
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
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
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-reads
PROTAGONIST: Charlie Fox, self-defense instructor
RATING: 4.25
WHY: Discharged from the Army after a terrible incident, Charlotte “Charlie” Fox has become a self-defense instructor. Her strategy is to first try to defuse situations before resorting to force. After defusing an attack at a club she has gone to with her friend, she accepts an offer as a bouncer but is not readily accepted by the rest of the security team. There are various nefarious activities going on at the
Nov 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I listened to Zoe on a panel at Bouchercon2012 and was so entertained and interested in the tidbits she told of Charlie, that I had to put her on my TBR list. (And I got to meet her in person, too.)

This was a great intro to Charlie Fox. She is an extremely strong character, but with an ugly past that has to be overcome and dealt with throughout this story and into the future. It is also interesting to compare how things are done in an English setting compared to an American setting.

Great writing
Patrick Fox
May 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller, crime
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
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Lee Child's glowing introduction was overblown in my opinion. Yes, the character is unique, but she is nothing like a female Jack Reacher and the author is no Lee Child. I haven't read any of the other books in this series, but I wasn't impressed with this one. The main theme seemed to be that a woman can fight as well as a man, with a little luck and a lot of tricks. I needed a little more characterization and plot than that.
Jan 10, 2016 rated it liked it
I have to admit, at first I couldn't see how you could write a thriller series about a young woman who teaches self defence. It started a little slow but did improve somewhat later in the book. I'm not sure about Charlie's reluctance to involve the police though, it was nearly her undoing. Given this an early work by this author I'm inclined to check out another book or two.
P.D. Martin
Jun 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 :)
Nov 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mish Middelmann
Jan 18, 2015 rated it liked it
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.
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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.

Other books in the series

Charlie Fox (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Trial Under Fire (Charlie Fox, #0)
  • Riot Act (Charlie Fox, #2)
  • Hard Knocks (Charlie Fox #3)
  • First Drop (Charlie Fox, #4)
  • Road Kill (Charlie Fox, #5)
  • Second Shot (Charlie Fox, #6)
  • Third Strike (Charlie Fox, #7)
  • Fourth Day (Charlie Fox, #8)
  • Fifth Victim (Charlie Fox, #9)
  • Die Easy (Charlie Fox, #10)