Book Review: Vicious Rumer by Joshua Winning

Rumer Cross is cursed. Scraping by working for a dingy London detective agency, she lives in the shadow of her mother, a violent criminal dubbed the ‘Witch Assassin’ whose bloodthirsty rampage terrorised London for over a decade.

Raised by foster families who never understood her and terrified she could one day turn into her mother, Rumer has become detached and self-reliant. But when she’s targeted by a vicious mobster who believes she’s hiding an occult relic, she’s drawn into the very world she’s been fighting to avoid.

Hunted by assassins and haunted by her mother’s dark legacy, Rumer must also confront a terrible truth: that she’s cursed, because no matter what she does, everybody she’s ever grown close to has died screaming.

Set in an urban sprawl of bullet-riddled buildings, Vicious Rumer is a thriller for fans of Jessica Jones, Lisbeth Salander and films like The Craft.

Vicious Rumer is one of those books that throws you right into the action from the first page - something that made it quite hard to get into at first. Not only was I thrown into Rumer’s hectic life from the off, there's very little in the way of scene setting or building of character early on. This made it almost impossible to even imagine the character in the sticky situation they found themselves in. Once used to the pace and knowing more about Rumer this impenetrability was soon a thing of the past leading to a gripping and well told story.

The protagonist, Rumer, is nineteen. Throughout her childhood has been thrown about the foster care system while also learning about her mother who was an assassin. Events transpire that lead Rumer to believe she is cursed and while working as an assistant for a detective, she finds herself kidnapped by people associated with her mother. At this point Vicious Rumer flips from being  a dark coming of age story to a fight for a mystic weapon that can make you live forever. It is also at this point that we learn that Rumer is pretty much willing to do absolutely anything to stay alive.

Rumer is a relatable character - we find ourselves appreciating her dark outlook and humour but also then wondering what she's actually trying to make of her life. Being able to relate helps ground the book in reality while it tears off at breakneck speed through a decidedly mystical story. In fact, Vicious Rumer, would make an excellent premise for a TV series.

Joshua Winning's manages to write in such a way that offers great depth to both character and situation and yet he also clearly has the ability to create a tight story that whips along without anything that could be considered a ramble. There are a few moments where the plot jumps unexpectedly but this doesn't detract from what is otherwise an excellently written story.


You can order Vicious Rumer by Joshua Winning via Unbound

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