"Filled with raw power, [Livia Lone] may be the darkest thriller of the year." - Kirkus Reviews
Seattle PD sex-crimes detective Livia Lone knows the monsters she hunts. Sold by her Thai parents along with her little sister, Nason; marooned in America; abused by the men who trafficked them...the only thing that kept Livia alive as a teenager was her determination to find Nason.
Livia has never stopped looking. And she copes with her failure to protect her sister by doing everything she can to put predators in prison.
Or, when that fails, by putting them in the ground.
But when a fresh lead offers new hope of finding Nason and the men who trafficked them both, Livia will have to go beyond just being a cop. Beyond even being a vigilante. She'll have to relive the horrors of the past. Take on one of the most powerful men in the US government. And uncover a conspiracy of almost unimaginable evil.
In every way, it's an unfair fight. But Livia has two advantages: her unending love for Nason -
And a lifelong lust for vengeance.
©2016 Barry Eisler. (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
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"This is a heartbreaker that makes u want 2 hit someone!"
This is another really Excellent book from Barry Eisler. Although I would really like more of the John Rain series, his last book (Gods Eye View) and this one really demonstrate his writing as well as his narrating abilities.
This is a very dark story involving human trafficking and the sex industry. There were scenes that were somewhat difficult to listen to, however this story is a work of fiction. I realize that there are people that just do not want to listen to books like this but I also think it is very important not to bury our heads in the sand and think that will make this awful side of (in)humanity go away.
I agree with Audible listener Wayne in saying this book has my most HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION.
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"A difficult listen, but a must listen novel"
Livia Lone is a dark and painful novel. Its topic is from the most depraved portions of humanity. The topic of this novel is sexual abuse and sex trafficking of preteen and early teen girls. It is also a story of retribution, righteous retribution. Livia Lone is a beautifully written and narrated audiobook about painful situations. It is not like Eisler's John Rain series or even similar to The God's Eye View (Eisler's prior book). As has now become the norm Barry Eisler narrates his own audiobooks. He is a very dependable 5 star narrator. Livia Lone has my HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION.
"A mixed bag from Eisler"
Warning: There will be a few SPOILERS as I leave examples to some of my concerns, but I will tread lightly as possible.
I’m a fairly big Barry Eisler fan, particularly of his great John Rain series. Until Eisler's last novel, The God’s Eye View, I thought he could do little wrong. I didn’t like God’s Eye View almost at all, feeling it was Eisler’s first flat out failure.
Livia Lone is a better novel. Eisler’s heart is generally in the right place this time. But some scene leave me genuinely baffled. As other reviewers have mentioned, there are part in Livia Lone that make you want to hit something. The subject is Andrew Vachssian child abuse of a sexual nature. Like Vachss, the story is classic pulp with touches of noir. Unflinching.
My problem with Eisler’s spin on the material is that he goes way over the line in detail of the abuse to the point the intent feels cheapened. Early on we get a standard Kill Bill type scene of a female jujitsu expert luring a rapist someplace quiet. That’s fine. What bugged me was the NEXT scene where the woman goes home and relives the murder in a rater graphic masturbation session.
Don’t misunderstand...I’m no prude. Normally I’m down for Eisler’s sensuality, even if by now those scenes play more like a recurring joke more than a natural part of the story.
I guess I’m just uncomfortable with the same approach taken to the sex/masturbation scene as applied later to a scene coerced fellatio via a little girl. I’m sure it is unintentional on Eisler’s part. Honestly I have no idea what he’s thinking. Or maybe I’m weird, ha. I feel like if we’re getting into scenes where we’re dealing graphically with kids being sexually abused, it should be a more serious novel than a standard revenge story that only seems marginally different because the main character is a woman instead of tale your pick of action heroes.
"A sequel, please!"
A very compelling story. Horrific, shocking, but haunting as it should be.
Of course, the protagonist, Livia. She is written as having such courage, loyalty, and love for her younger sister.
I was a bit skeptical at first, noting the novel was read by the author, which sometimes works, other times does not. How wrong I was. It is possible his creation of her made his reading that much more impactful, with perfect pitch and immeasurable depth.
If I could have, I might have.
Again, it is my hope that Mr. Eisler is not done with the story of Livia.
"A once in a lifetime character"
Barry Eisler has struck a nerve with this character. A true to life villain that the reader must love. A social black hole that you can not stay out of once you begin the book.
Bravo Mr. Eisler ! More Livia Lone
Yes, the story was clear, well paced and engaging.
Yes, mainly by making a character whose life was both extraordinary and believable. Barry Eisler excels at well written, developed characters, and a fast moving plot.
A voice that beautifully conveys the main characters emotions at key events.
I found myself horrified by the injustice of the world we live in as personalized by the main character.
"A Dark Coming of Age Story"
The emotional journey I went on with the character that left me spent at the conclusion.
I would argue that this is Barry Eisler's first mystery. In his other books his characters are the ones who did it so the focus is on how they did it and how they got away with it.The joy here is trying to solve the mystery before the character does which to be honest I did not despite all the clues being there.
I have all of Eisler's books on audible. It compares favorably. I generally hate it when authors narrate their work because they have worked their whole careers to develop a skillset that allows them to be the best written storytellers in the world. Excellent narration requires a separate skillset that must also be honed over the course of a career. Eisler in unique in that he has the skillset of both professions developed to where he is among the best in the world at what he does. If he wanted to he can quit writing and join the elite ranks of Dick Hill, Scott Brick, Macleod Andrews, Bronson Pinchot, Phil Gigante and make a living from purely preforming novels. That's how good he is at narrating.
Yes to crying. I had extreme reactions of disgust, anger, sadness, and every other negative emotion you can think of. This is a very gripping dark, sad, profoundly moving haunting beautifully crafted story. Unlike Eisler's other works there are no laugh out loud moments to break the tension. This is a dark, gritty coming of age story of a police officer that also a serial killer and what made her that way. Technically its a police procedural mystery but the darkest gripping one you ever going to listen to.
If you love Andrew Vachss' darker pieces, this will be for you but darker. Many of Vachss' characters have suffered what Livia suffered but as readers we meet them as harden adults and miss the childhood encounters that forged them into the monsters they are. Barry shows you what actually happens to the character as a child and how it made her feel and what it turned her into so to me anyway it's a much darker experience than anything Vachss has ever written and that saying something.
"His darkest, yet best work yet"
The realness that Eisler is able to portray. I felt like I was literally there, not just in the scenery and location, but the realness of emotions of the main character.
Livia, of course! She has such strength and determination, despite everything she's been through.
Too many good ones to single out just one! He is so excellent at his own audio books. I'm actually surprised he isn't hired to do other author's books as well.
Definitely. The very dark nature of what this book was about makes for tears to inevitably happen! The love between Livia and her sister is so very real. Also, Eisler portrays the evil slave trade so vividly that one can't help but look into fighting this horrible trade in the real word!
This is by far his darkest novel to date, in my opinion. It's so dark, in fact, that some people might not be able to handle it. He deals with a very real, horrible side of humanity in this novel, and it stabs you in the gut like a knife. I had to stop the recording several times just to breathe and take it in slowly because the subject matter is so very, very difficult to listen to. Yet, no one is able to deal with such darkness better than Barry Eisler. I've listened to everything by him, and this is by far his best one yet. That's not easily said, because I'm a HUGE John Rain fan! But Livia Lone is an incredible character that everyone should read!
"Want more of Livia"
I really like Livia. I hope we get more of her. I also like the focus on human trafficking. Livia's commitment to justice for the scum life forms who will traffic and abuse people, especially children, reflects society's disgust about such vermin. Yeah, we don't really want vigilante-ism, but my empathy for Livia just strengthens my resolve against these crimes.
As usual, hearing the author perform the story he created was fabulous. Very well done. He gives a different voice than another performer could. These are his characters. Even if I didn't already know about Barry's love of judo and jujitsu, his mastery comes out in the pronunciations he uses, how easily they flow from his mouth.
I would have if I had been on a long enough flight. I was anxious to get back to it each time I stopped. I would say I listened to it in about 4 sittings.
"The hardest (emotional) read by far..."
The writing was exquisite as are the majority of Barry Eisler's works, however the subject matter was a bit horrific, as well as being a pretty far departure from the Rain series, the Treven series, and God's Eye. So it kind of came out of left field for me if you know what I mean.
(Spoilers) The most interesting aspect of this story is also the aspect that most disturbed me. The majority of this book is told in flashback format following the tragic life of a human trafficking victim turned vigilante. It was essentially a bit more on the disturbing and overly graphic side of things dealing with molestation, rape, and human depravity.
He knows his characters well and story pacing, which in turn leads to a Narrator who already has a clean, well enunciated voice to give that much more life to his story. However, that being said, it didn't seem like he enjoyed reading this one as much as he did others and it came through in his performance.
Probably not, the story doesn't lend it self very well to a cinematic format. It would be somewhere between a dark net torture porn and a disturbing Psychological Thriller.
(Some minor spoilers) While Eisler's previous characters are not saints nor are they social champions, you do wind up rooting for them. From his main characters to the small parts and the antagonists. This character though, Livia, is beyond screwed up.
What was strongly hinted at in the book was the fact that Livia was a vigilante killer. However the description of her life, the tragedy, the out right horror she had to live through; it all built up to one thing, she is broken to a psychotic degree. I'm fairly certain this is all intended on behalf of Mr. Eisler's storytelling, and that he wanted to induce a visceral reaction from his readers in this one.
The main character of Livia and all of the actions she takes are not the product of normal human behavior, or even damaged human behavior. The mere fact she doesn't recognize it is very telling. She's admittedly well educated and her profession as a Sex Crimes Unit Detective insinuates a certain type of education as well as certain key things she would be very aware of yet she is never aware of what she truly is. This may be intentional as we (the readers) are suppose to be on this journey with her, but some key elements and the real possibility of making it work with the story are left out.
Those key elements are the fact that having a criminology major and then transitioning into the sex crimes unit would require a great deal of psychology training and required psychological evaluations. None of this is brought up. Ever.
The fact that she kills rapists/sexual assault perpetrators/pedophiles who in her opinion have not gotten what they fully deserve does not really make her a vigilante. It makes her an out right mission oriented serial killer. She also gets off on it, figuratively and literally (she masturbates to the memory of the act of the killing), as well as gets off with guys who she can violently physically control. This makes her a sexual sadist.
The fact she wants the confrontation with her victims and begs for it only to snatch away the control, make the kill, and continue on to the next one makes her a power/control serial killer. Which is fairly common among victims of human trafficking, rape, and child molestation who then go one to become killers.
As a reader and a fan of Eisler's work, by far and away is this his most disturbing work. By about half way through this book it was everything in me to not want to just put it down. It was a hard read, broaching topics that are just awful. Then to top it off with a lead character who at the end I was hoping she would either get caught or get killed. While "Dexter" made the mission oriented serial killer story into one more about vigilantism, "Livia Lone" was such a far departure from that especially with the sexual sadist aspect thrown into the mix made her just f***ed up.
So, all in all, I just couldn't get behind this story or the characters. All but 3 small side characters were just as horrific as the next. The ending was nice and sentimental but I was really hoping some more loose ends would be tied up and that Livia's story ends here in this one book.
Sorry, Barry Eisler, hopefully this was just an itch you had to scratch and this is the last of Livia's Story. I'm not going to do the fanboy thing and request more Rain novels, you do still have Treven, Dox, and Manus to pull from. Or you can make a new character, I don't know but please, no more Livia Lone.
"Another great one from Eisler"
I would read the book again, rather than listen
If you've read Eisler's other books, you know the well crafted, fast paced, sexy, gritty works they are
Barry is a terrific author and a great guy. What he isn't, however, is an actor. Although his performance is quite good, I'd rather see his books read by Jeff Harding, who read some of the earlier Rain books
"Great book, Barry Eisler doesn't pull his punches."
Excellent narration brought this story to life. Thought provoking topic, a black mirror on our species's.
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