Friday, July 16, 2010

a review of "Hailey's War" [53]

Hailey's War by Jodi Compton
Shaye Areheart Books,
ISBN 978-0307588050
Hardcover, 304 pages, June 15, 2010

One day, twenty-four year old Hailey Cain was on the path of her dreams, just a couple of months away from graduating from the military academy at West Point. Then, a short time later, she is out of the academy, working as a bike messenger in San Francisco. Why, what happen to cause her to leave, is not something she will discuss, not even with the only two people she counts as her friends.

One is her cousin CJ Mooney, a country boy who has made it very big in the music industry as a record producer. The other is Serena Delgadillo, someone she first met in high school, now the head of a cliqua, a female street gang. Both are in Los Angeles, and it is to LA that Hailey first heads when she leaves the academy and where she reconnects with them both. And it is from LA that she again must leave, to start over in San Fransisco, when she is at the center of a terrible tragedy that may put her very life in danger.

She has just settled into her life in The City by the Bay, risking life and limb on her bike, living off an adrenaline high, when she gets a call from Serena, asking her to take a job as a favor to her. A young, pregnant, Mexican girl, the cousin of a recently killed gang member, needs an escort across the border. Hailey takes the job but soon finds herself in the middle of something much bigger, something that almost costs her life. A group of men ambush them on a remote road, leaving Hailey shot on the side of the road and left for dead and the young woman, Nidia, missing.

Hailey's sense of honor, her need to complete the job she started, will not let her stop there. She must find if Nidia is still alive and rescue her and her unborn child. She feels compelled to get even further involved, even if it means going up against mobsters, risking her life yet again, teaming up with gang members and ultimately returning to confront what happen that forced her to leave Los Angeles.
And finally, perhaps, we will discover Hailey's biggest secret, why she had to give up her dream.

While Hailey is an intriguing and interesting character, I did have a few issues with this story. Central to this book are the LA street gangs to which Serena belongs and which Hailey gets involved with to try and rescue Nidia. For me, her comfort at that involvement, even her friendship and connection with Serena to begin with, did not ring totally true. The author tries to make a case for certain similarities between the young women...I was not totally buying it. Then there is the rather odd nature of her relationship with her cousin CJ, which I will leave you to discover yourself. That these are her two best friends says something about Hailey, something that makes it even harder to pin down who she is as a real character.

But even with these issues, there is a good deal about this book to recommend it. If you are a fan of kick-ass female characters, Hailey is indeed that. It is a fast paced and well written story with enough twists and turns and surprises to keep the reader interested. And the book concludes with a revelation that you will not see coming and a few open questions that may lead, hopefully, to some future adventures with Hailey Cain.

My thanks Read It Forward from Crown Publishing for an ARC of this book.


  1. Does sound odd - why would a West Point grad be hanging out with street gang members? Right away, that would test the story's credibility.

  2. Thanks for sharing your reaction to this book, Caite. Now, the thing that sounds odd to Kaye above intrigues me. I would want to know why. In any case, I have a copy of this here and hope to read it at some point.

  3. I also just finished a book that I couldn't "buy" all the relationships. I think that tends to affect one's evaluation of the book.

  4. yes, that the relationships feel real , believable, is key to a book I think.

  5. Well, I'm all for kick-ass heroines but it seems like a sudden shift to go from West Point to doing favors for gangs.

  6. I think part of that issue may be answered in the final grand revelation...maybe.

  7. Sounds like you have to suspend disbelief, but I can do that if the story's written well enough.


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