Livia Lone by Barry Eisler is the story of a police officer determined to right the wrongs committed by sex traffickers.
Livia’s main motivation comes from having been a victim herself when she was just 13 years old. She and her younger sister were taken from their Thai village and shipped to Portland, where they were separated by their captors.
Livia Lone can absolutely be classed as a dark thriller, but it’s also deeply heart-wrenching. Its emotional impact is made even more potent because this story is so true-to-life; sex trafficking remains a problem around the world, with women and children being frequent targets.
“You believe in yourself. No matter what. You understand me? You believe in yourself. and there is nothing that is ever going to stop you.”
– Livia Lone
Her experiences are nauseating and shocking, even without being told in excruciating detail. Eisler chooses to set the scene just enough to leave the reader feeling complete hopelessness for Livia’s situation while marveling at her ability to turn pain into courage. Although, some scenes certainly aren’t for the faint of heart.
Granted, Livia is still severely damaged by her ordeals; the psychological and psychiatric effects are far-reaching, and Eisler doesn’t tiptoe around that.
I very rarely encounter female characters with strength like hers. The absence of a love interest who weakens her unnecessarily is refreshing. She is deeply affected by love and expresses her sexuality, but it isn’t too deeply entangled in her mission for justice and vengeance.
To make things even more interesting, even as I have grown to like and understand her, Livia also terrifies me. In many ways, she reflects the darkness that a thirst for vengeance can plunge a human being into.
Whether or not she truly overcomes that darkness, even after resolving the mystery of her sister’s disappearance, is up for debate.
Livia Lone will be available at online and physical retailers on October 25, 2016. It’s available for preorder now.