Action books almost always feature a male protagonist, but Devour is different. L.A. Larkin has crafted a strong female lead in the form of investigative journalist Olivia Wolfe, a career woman driven by a thirst for knowledge and justice. Trained in Jiu-jitsu and martial arts, Wolfe can hold her own against the terrors that her investigations throw at her.
This is the type of book that once you start reading you just can’t put down. The tale jumps from Afghanistan to London to Antarctica, all forming pieces of an intricate plot. It begins at a research camp in Antarctica as they’re drilling into a frozen lake to find prehistoric microbes. Mysterious things keep happening, equipment is sabotaged and things go missing – then there’s a murder. Which brings us to the question: Why is this expedition so important?
In Afghanistan, while on the case of a story, Wolfe pulls up to the house of one of her informants. Yet it all goes wrong and the informer dies, whilst Wolfe is kidnapped. Thankfully the martial arts skills come out, along with help from a few essentials taken from her trusty backpack, and she escapes with her life, returning home to London. It isn’t long until she’s sent to Antarctica to investigate the murder though.
The characters in the book are so well thought out and described, conjuring a vivid image in the reader’s head. The plot gets deeper and deeper, as more things start going wrong, and Wolfe starts uncovering secrets she shouldn’t know, putting herself and others in danger.
Larkin put a lot of research into Devour, travelling to Antarctica on a Russian Ship: “I was told to stay in my bunk bed and hang on for dear life as the vessel corkscrewed through ten-metre swells. When I tried to get to the bathroom, the ship tilted forty degrees and I was hurled on to the door.” She also visited the British Antarctic Survey to learn about the equipment they would need to go there, as well as trying out martial arts. All this first-hand experience and research really pays off, resulting in a truly gripping action-thriller.
This is one of the best books I’ve read in the last couple of years, and if you’re only going to read one novel in 2017, I suggest you make it Devour.
Devour is published by Constable on 26 January 2017