29th Oct 2012
My Three Favourite… Bad Ass Monster Hunters
YA horror author Tracy Sharp tells us about women who write women who hunt monsters, and which ones you should add to your to-read list…
After I saw Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs, I knew that my world would never be the same. Up until then, it seemed that most of the hunters of monsters and bad guys were men. But to see this tiny woman with so much courage in the face of true evil, well, that totally rocked my world.
What an incredibly drawn, kick-ass heroine Thomas Harris had created. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if women writers created strong women who hunt evil?
Well, they do.
Today, my lovelies, I’m going to honour women who write about women who hunt monsters.
One of my favourite lady writers is Lilith Saintcrow. If you haven’t read her and you like strong female protagonists who totally kick ass, you need to stop reading this post, get on your favourite retailer site, and download any one of her books. Well, you can wait until after you read the post if you’d like, but do buy at least one of her books. Once you read one, you’ll be ripping through them all.
My favourite of her books is supernatural horror thriller Nightshift, the first in the Jill Kismet series. Jill is a hunter of rogue dark creatures called “Hellbreeds,” and all sorts of other monsters. She is tough, having been raised by the school of hard knocks, and doesn’t flinch at much.
Jill was taken off the streets by the man who became her teacher, Mikhail, with whom she has a very special relationship. He is dead, having been killed by a “Sorrow”, another creature of the Nightside, but the flashbacks Saintcrow provides lends us a clear view of how valuable his teachings were to Jill, how strong he made her, and how much he meant to her.
Her grief over his loss is palpable, but it is Mikhail’s voice in her memory which continues to drive her even when all seems lost. He continues to give Jill strength.
Jill’s character is wonderfully well-rounded, and we see her vulnerability beneath her tough veneer. She is tough as nails, smart, brave and highly skilled. I can’t recommend Saintcrow’s work enough.
Another of my favourite female hunters is Lizzy Gardner of T.R Ragan’s suspense thriller Abducted. When Lizzy was seventeen years old, she was abducted and tortured by a horrible, nasty serial killer who the media have dubbed “Spiderman” for his use of spiders in his torture murders. Lizzy was able to escape. Unfortunately, the Spiderman also escaped, seemingly into thin air.
When next we see Lizzy, it is fourteen years later, and she is a private investigator who teaches self defence to women in hopes of preventing them from becoming victims. Lizzy did not escape unscathed and has the baggage that would come with having survived a stint with serial killer. But she is strong and determined, and lets her gun do the talking when need be.
When Lizzy gets a call from her ex-boyfriend, FBI agent Jared Shayne, she learns that the Spiderman may be back in action.
I won’t ruin the story for you by telling you more, except that Lizzy Gardner is a character you shouldn’t miss. She is smart and courageous in the face of a taunting serial killer who almost took her life the first time around. T.R Ragen is a wonderful writer who pulls you right into the story and scares the hell out of you. Abducted is a terrifying, creepy story and I highly recommend it.
Last summer I downloaded a crime thriller by a writer I’d never heard of, but gave it a try because it sounded really cool. The writer? Toby Neal. The book is called Blood Orchids. The story takes place in Hawaii, where Neal is from. The setting in interesting because it isn’t a common setting for thrillers. Neal takes the beauty of Hawaii and creates a heart pounding thriller against the backdrop of unbelievable beauty.
Her lead protagonist is a rookie cop named Lei Texeira. Lei investigates the murder cases of teenage girls. The background of the girls brings back dark memories of Lei’s past, which she keeps at bay by delving into her work as a cop. Lei is a tiny woman with a ton of tenacity. Even at her weakest moments she plows through, looking for a murderer who is watching her.
The story is chilling. The killer is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. He stays close to the investigation, and watches Lei, playing on her vulnerabilities and bringing her close to the breaking point. I could not put this book down, and have since read Torch Ginger and have downloaded the third in the series, Black Jasmine.
I love this writer. She creeps me out, which isn’t easy to do. Absolutely phenomenal.
It’s almost Halloween! Do you have any great book recommendations that feature strong female leads that hunt evil? I’d love to hear them!
Guest feature from Tracy Sharp. Tracy Sharp is the author of the Leah Ryan series. Her current release is the young adult horror novel Spooked. Tracy lives in upstate NY with her family, and is at work on her horror novel, Soul Trade.