Warnings: rape, domestic violence
The Ninja Daughter is (apparently) the first in what will be a series from author Tori Eldrigde, about Lily Wong, a badass young woman of Chinese-Norwegian descent. After her younger sister is raped and murdered, she turns into a vigilante, and also works helping abused women (and their children) get away from their abusers and to a shelter.
The book opens with Lily strung up on a hook by a Ukrainian mobster who is trying to get information out of her. It won’t be spoilery to say that she manages to get out of her predicament and manages to kill said mobster in the process. The “ninja” in the title is on full display here. When she makes it back to the shelter, she is stunned to learn that the woman and child she’d rescued from the dead Ukrainian’s boss have returned to the boss’ house.
Afterward, Lily is drawn into the case of Mia, who seems to need protection against a man named J Tran. She isn’t being paid for this: she simply shows up at the courthouse where Mia has lost her case against him, and Mia agrees to have Lily keep an eye on her.
What follows is a romping story as Lily tries to discover just who J Tran is, and why he would be after Mia in the first place. There are payoffs, conspiracies, more Ukrainian mobster, gang bangers, human trafficking, drugs, affairs, a fair bit of humor, a mysterious and dead, but drop-dead (no pun intended) handsome stranger who is also an assassin, and more dead bodies as the story moves along. As far as the story goes, it’s a bit like Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels, with a little more gore. While this book was suggested as a thriller, it definitely falls more into the mysrom category, at least for me. The ends tie together in an okay fashion, although the teaming up at the end was a little stretching it for me.
I do love series characters. The only issue with many first books is information. That is to say, at times, authors tend to try to cram too much backstory into the first book, which can slow the pacing of the story in the (book’s) current day. I found that to be the case from time to time in The Ninja Daughter (side note: I think the title would be better as just Ninja Daughter – no “the” necessary, since she’s the only one in this story). We get quite a bit about her father’s parents, her mother’s past, more than a few colloquialisms on the Norwegian side of the family, and so on. While at times these lend an authentic feel to the story, as when Lily is ruminating on the comfort brought on by the quilt her Norwegian grandmother made, there are other times when it goes on a bit long and we have to get wound up for the next part of the adventure. We also get more than a couple reminders that Lily is, in fact, a kuniochi – a ninja – something we know already, from the title and from the previous mentions of the same thing.
That aside, I did like it, and it would be a great beach or plane/train read.
3.5 out of 5 stars.