Kim Oh 2: REAL DANGEROUS JOB (The Kim Oh Thrillers) by K. W. Jeter (2011, Editions Herodiade)
The story arc K.W. Jeter began in Kim Oh 1 concludes with the second Kim Oh novel. In this kindle edition, Kim Oh 2: Real Dangerous Job, we learn that Kim is an “emancipated minor” (which would put her age at 17) and her invalid brother Donnie is 12. The action seems to be taking place on the eastern seaboard of the US, probably in upstate New York, as Albany is mentioned a few times. One of the significant points of this series is how we learn more about the title character as it progresses.
The book begins with Kim having a long conversation with Monica, Cole’s aging exotic dancer girlfriend. Monica may have been left with half a man, but she’s decided this is better than no man at all. However, she’s starting to notice all the attention Cole is placing on the former “nerd accountant girl”. And she doesn’t like it. The result will add to the book’s final tragedy.
Cole continues to train Kim in the ways of the hit-man. If nothing else, the reader learns a lot about assault rifles, plastic explosive, and high-tech security from these novels. You also learn about light motorcycles: Kim rides a Ninja 250R. There’s a long sequence in which Cole builds a metal device for jamming a door. Jeter has done plenty of research for these books.
There’s a part where Kim comes back to her apartment and finds her brother Donnie missing. You learn a lot about how inseparable they have been over the years. At one point a Midwestern child protective service decided to put them in different homes in the same city during winter. Kim nearly froze to death trying to reach Donnie. The two were never put apart again.
New authors trying to break into the e-book market would learn quite a bit from reading these books. Jeter is a skilled professional with quite a resume. He knows how to keep the reader involved in the story with minimum of wordage. A bit like the pulp writers of the 1930’s, but for the kindle instead of paper.
Jeter’s writing shines with this description of a failed amusement park which had been turned into something far more bizarre ( a perverse theme park was also featured in Dr.Adder):
“…he got an amusement park redesign based on that kind of Japanese manga that if the customs people find it in your luggage when you come back to the U.S., you get taken to a very small room in the basement of the airport. And you don’t come out for a long time.”
But the best is saved for the description of her former boss, McIntyre:
“Let me stop right here and tell you what I’ve discovered about the pricks of the world. There are pricks who are so stupid, they don’t even know when they’ve hurt other people. And then there are pricks who know they’ve hurt other people – and they enjoy it.
But the biggest, the worst pricks of all – the absolute most prixelated – are the ones who know they’ve hurt other people, really badly, and then they are sincerely baffled as to why the rest of humanity, including the people they’ve hurt, doesn’t absolutely love their ass.
They really just don’t get it. It’s like something missing inside their heads, like being color-blind or something. It’s just . . . not there.
That’s the kind of guy McIntyre was.”
This is the mob boss who threw her to the curb and had Cole turned into a paraplegic. Kim is still determined to make him pay permanently for what he’s done, but she has a lot to learn about her new career. She is, however, a very good student.
Some of the characters from the first book make a reappearence. Michael, the head of McIntyre’s “security” soon learns about Cole cooking up new plans. Karen Ibanez, the news reporter who blew Kim off when she tried to bring her a copy of McIntyre’s financial records, returns. Ibanez has just happened to spot Kim at the edge of a bomb explosion in a video. Now she wants to know what the little Korean American woman is up to.
The conclusion of the book has Kim and Cole going into McIntyre’s office headquarters for the final assault. I won’t spoil it by talking too much about it. I will say It is one of the most powerful endings I have ever read in a thriller. Bodies and spent ammunition are everywhere, but it was hard to read with dry eyes.
Do read this book if you are a fan of thrillers. You won’t be disappointed.