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Save Me from Dangerous Men

Review

Save Me from Dangerous Men

Forget all of your assumptions about used bookstore owners. Nikki Griffin probably doesn’t fit many of them. She is a book lover, to be sure, ready and eager to offer book recommendations to anyone who enters her Bay Area bookstore or trade good-natured jibes with the group of mystery lovers who meet up in her shop. But Nikki’s bookstore is far more than a literary oasis --- it also serves as a lifeline for women who have been wronged by the men in their lives, whose husbands are philanderers, or who are survivors of domestic violence. All of them can find solace and safety at her regular book club evenings.

Nikki brings these ladies together because over the years many of them have been clients of hers. Having survived trauma in her youth, she has spent much of her adult life helping women break out of the cycle of violence --- sometimes by giving the perpetrators a taste of their own medicine.

"With scenes of torture, near-rape and lots of other violence, it’s probably not for everyone. But Nikki is a fascinating character who is smart, vulnerable and focused on justice."

Nikki is not just a vigilante, though. She also takes on clients as a quasi-private detective, since, let’s face it, that bookstore is probably not going to pay all the bills. When she is contacted by Gregg Gunn, the CEO of Care4 --- a company that makes high-end baby monitors and other surveillance equipment --- the case seems pretty straightforward at first. Gregg is concerned about one of his computer programmers, Karen Li. He’s convinced that she’s stealing trade secrets just as the company is about to go up for a next round of investment. Gregg asks Nikki to follow Karen, to see with whom she’s working.

But almost immediately, Nikki gets the feeling that there’s more to this story than Gregg is letting on. She finds herself on the receiving end of threats from mysterious callers warning her to stay away from the case. And soon she learns that the FBI is also involved in its own investigation. When Nikki finally connects with Karen, she realizes that this case has higher stakes than she had ever imagined --- and then Karen winds up dead.

Meanwhile, even as the tension ramps up on Nikki’s investigation, she’s desperately trying to keep her own personal life in order. She supports her younger brother, a heroin addict, financially, even as she despairs that he’s abandoned all thoughts of recovery. And she tentatively has started dating an English graduate student who loves books almost as much as she does. But will her tendency toward and aptitude for violence scare him away before she has a chance to explain herself?

SAVE ME FROM DANGEROUS MEN can be a difficult thriller to read. With scenes of torture, near-rape and lots of other violence, it’s probably not for everyone. But Nikki is a fascinating character who is smart, vulnerable and focused on justice. Readers will look forward to spending more time with this complicated, compassionate character in subsequent series installments.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl on April 5, 2019

Save Me from Dangerous Men
by S.A. Lelchuk

  • Publication Date: March 31, 2020
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Flatiron Books
  • ISBN-10: 1250170265
  • ISBN-13: 9781250170262