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Arthur Ellis Award finalist Rio Youers combines vengeance and deceit, love and bullets, secrets, and twists in this high-octane action thriller with a vibrant emotional core. Brody Ellis is short on luck and even shorter on cash to buy the medication his sister Molly needs. Desperate, he robs a convenience store, but on the way out, he bumps into a young woman and loses his Arthur Ellis Award finalist Rio Youers combines vengeance and deceit, love and bullets, secrets, and twists in this high-octane action thriller with a vibrant emotional core. Brody Ellis is short on luck and even shorter on cash to buy the medication his sister Molly needs. Desperate, he robs a convenience store, but on the way out, he bumps into a young woman and loses his wallet. Just when he expects the cops to arrive, the phone rings. It’s Blair Mayo—the woman he bumped into—and she’s got the missing billfold. Brody will get it back, but only if he does her a favor: steal her late mother’s diamonds from her wicked stepmom. But when he gets to the house, he finds a gruesome crime scene—and a security camera. Brody knows he’s been framed. Back home, the terrified young man gets another call. The police won’t get the incriminating video footage, Blair says. Instead, her daddy, the notorious mobster Jimmy Latzo, will exact his own kind of revenge. Brody and Molly realize that they’ve become pawns in a mysterious game—one that involves a notorious enforcer named Lola Bear who brutally crossed paths with Jimmy Latzo twenty-six years before. . . a ghost from the past who is intimately connected to their lives.


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Arthur Ellis Award finalist Rio Youers combines vengeance and deceit, love and bullets, secrets, and twists in this high-octane action thriller with a vibrant emotional core. Brody Ellis is short on luck and even shorter on cash to buy the medication his sister Molly needs. Desperate, he robs a convenience store, but on the way out, he bumps into a young woman and loses his Arthur Ellis Award finalist Rio Youers combines vengeance and deceit, love and bullets, secrets, and twists in this high-octane action thriller with a vibrant emotional core. Brody Ellis is short on luck and even shorter on cash to buy the medication his sister Molly needs. Desperate, he robs a convenience store, but on the way out, he bumps into a young woman and loses his wallet. Just when he expects the cops to arrive, the phone rings. It’s Blair Mayo—the woman he bumped into—and she’s got the missing billfold. Brody will get it back, but only if he does her a favor: steal her late mother’s diamonds from her wicked stepmom. But when he gets to the house, he finds a gruesome crime scene—and a security camera. Brody knows he’s been framed. Back home, the terrified young man gets another call. The police won’t get the incriminating video footage, Blair says. Instead, her daddy, the notorious mobster Jimmy Latzo, will exact his own kind of revenge. Brody and Molly realize that they’ve become pawns in a mysterious game—one that involves a notorious enforcer named Lola Bear who brutally crossed paths with Jimmy Latzo twenty-six years before. . . a ghost from the past who is intimately connected to their lives.

30 review for Lola on Fire

  1. 4 out of 5

    J.K. Grice

    "I got a fever, and the only prescription for that fever is more cowbell." ~Christopher Walken, SNL skit And the only prescription for my fever is MORE Lola. Yes please, Rio Youers, I want more Lola on fire or any other way you want to dish her up. Because my friends, LOLA ON FIRE may be the best thriller of 2021. It's definitely going to be one of my favorite reads for sure. With Lola Bear, Youers has created a character for the ages: a beautiful, lethal lady who kicks ass but is also a wife an "I got a fever, and the only prescription for that fever is more cowbell." ~Christopher Walken, SNL skit And the only prescription for my fever is MORE Lola. Yes please, Rio Youers, I want more Lola on fire or any other way you want to dish her up. Because my friends, LOLA ON FIRE may be the best thriller of 2021. It's definitely going to be one of my favorite reads for sure. With Lola Bear, Youers has created a character for the ages: a beautiful, lethal lady who kicks ass but is also a wife and mother. I recalled characters like Jean Reno as the cleaner Leon in the film THE PROFESSIONAL, and Bridgett Fonda as the assassin Maggie Hayward in POINT OF NO RETURN. The characters in this novel are unforgettable and the pacing is nonstop, with unexpected twists around every corner. While I was reading LOLA ON FIRE, I was also channeling writers like Michael Koryta, Charlie Huston, and even Hisownself, Joe R. Lansdale. Yes, this book is that damn good and Mr. Youers deserves to be mentioned in the same company as those guys. Rio captured my heart with Westlake Soul, amazed me with Halcyon and now he has just blown me away with LOLA ON FIRE. More Lola, Mr. Youers.........pretty please?! She deals the cards as a meditation, And those she plays never suspect. She doesn't play for the money she wins. She doesn't play for respect. She deals the cards to find the answer, The sacred geometry of chance. The hidden laws of a probable outcome. The numbers lead a dance. But those who speak know nothing, And find out to their cost. Like those who curse their luck in too many places, And those who fear are lost. I know that the spades are the swords of a soldier. I know that the clubs are weapons of war. I know that diamonds mean money for this art, But that's not the shape of my heart...." ~adapted from THE SHAPE OF MY HEART, by Sting

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jessica | JustReadingJess

    Lola on Fire had me on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading. There is so much action in this book. I really enjoyed the story and liked how it was mainly action but there was also family drama mixed in. I liked the characters. Brody is trying to do the best he can to raise his sister while still grieving his father’s death. Molly is the most important person to Brody. Molly has hardships to deal with but still sees the world in a positive light. Molly looks up to her brother. She see Lola on Fire had me on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading. There is so much action in this book. I really enjoyed the story and liked how it was mainly action but there was also family drama mixed in. I liked the characters. Brody is trying to do the best he can to raise his sister while still grieving his father’s death. Molly is the most important person to Brody. Molly has hardships to deal with but still sees the world in a positive light. Molly looks up to her brother. She sees the world in black and white with things being right and wrong. The infamous Lola is a very interesting character. She is smart and a strong fighter that could take out any opponent in her prime. I loved finding the connection between the stories and seeing them converge. I recommend Lola on Fire to anyone that likes fast paced, action packed thrillers. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Jim Meskimen and enjoyed his narration. The narration fit well with the story and Meskimen was the perfect voice for Brody. Thank you Harper Audio, William Morrow and NetGalley for Lola on Fire. Full Review: https://justreadingjess.wordpress.com...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Max

    Exciting! Lola On Fire was a great non-stop action thriller with incredible plotting. Read the blurb or description for Lola On Fire and you will know exactly what you're getting into. Part all-action chapters that you can visualize like they're a movie scene, part an emotional underdog story of a badass family, and part a mysterious and suspenseful unraveling of the character Lola Bear. What I love about books like this is that you know that every single aspect is being set up meticulously for a Exciting! Lola On Fire was a great non-stop action thriller with incredible plotting. Read the blurb or description for Lola On Fire and you will know exactly what you're getting into. Part all-action chapters that you can visualize like they're a movie scene, part an emotional underdog story of a badass family, and part a mysterious and suspenseful unraveling of the character Lola Bear. What I love about books like this is that you know that every single aspect is being set up meticulously for a huge explosive ending. That's exactly what I wanted and exactly what I got, and I couldn't put it down once I neared the final seventy-five pages. The fight scenes are deliberate in the way we are getting a war between our four "main" characters (Brody, Lola, Jimmy, Blair). I loved the deliberations we got between both sides of the battlefield of how they were trying to outmaneuver their opponents no matter how immoral, those chapters especially were so fun to read. I don't have much of any complaints, I could see this easily being a book trilogy possibly? Lots of room to possibly emplace a series, and I for one would definitely be somebody ready to buy a second book!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kristy

    A dark, fast-paced thriller Brody Ellis has lost his job: desperate for cash to pay rent and to help take care of his younger sister, he robs a gas station. On his way out, he bumps into a woman. It's only once he's home that the realizes he's lost his wallet. He's waiting for the cops to arrest him when he receives a call. A woman named Blair Mayo, the one whom he ran into, has the wallet. She'll return it if he'll do something in return: steal her late mother's diamonds from her father's hatefu A dark, fast-paced thriller Brody Ellis has lost his job: desperate for cash to pay rent and to help take care of his younger sister, he robs a gas station. On his way out, he bumps into a woman. It's only once he's home that the realizes he's lost his wallet. He's waiting for the cops to arrest him when he receives a call. A woman named Blair Mayo, the one whom he ran into, has the wallet. She'll return it if he'll do something in return: steal her late mother's diamonds from her father's hateful new wife. But when Brody executes Blair's plan, he finds something else: a murdered woman and a security camera watching his every move. After he flees, slipping in blood, Blair tells him someone has already taken care of the footage. The woman's husband, the notorious mobster Jimmy Latzo. But he wants his own special revenge on Brody (and his sister, Molly, by default). The two flee, with the mob hot on their tail, and get caught up in a tangled web that involves Jimmy, Blair, and a woman named Lola Bear who came up against Jimmy years ago. This book was amazing: completely raw, emotional, and brutal. Reading it felt like watching a "shoot 'em up" movie (one with a little heart, though). It's gory and dark, so if you're not able to handle some blood and violence, this read isn't for you. However, I found it nearly impossible to put down. I was completely invested in Brody, Molly, and Lola. This book weaves a tangled web, and I was there for every little spin. It was honestly great to read a book where there's a pretty clear delineation between "good versus bad." Still, the story is certainly complex, filled with deep emotions and complex familial tensions, but you always know who to root for. It takes your mind off things (aka real life) for a bit. Overall, I really enjoyed this one. I love violent movies, where the good guys are good and the bad guys really bad. It was fun seeing that translated into a book. I also loved the rawness of this book and the underlying tenderness that accompanied it. It's a fast, dark read. 4.5 stars. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and William Morrow / Custom House in return for an unbiased review. It releases in the U.S. on 2/16/2021. Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ PaperBackSwap ~ Smashbomb

  5. 5 out of 5

    Donna Backshall

    Lola on Fire was simply an explosion of a book! I heard it compared to John Wick, and in a hot second I was there for it. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint. We are introduced to Brody, who has possibly the worst luck of any character you've ever met. Or does he? Life has always kicked poor underachieving Brody in the balls, but lately it seems like it's more than a few underachieving missteps keeping him and his sister Molly down and out. Now we meet Blair, who works for a mobster named Jimmy Lola on Fire was simply an explosion of a book! I heard it compared to John Wick, and in a hot second I was there for it. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint. We are introduced to Brody, who has possibly the worst luck of any character you've ever met. Or does he? Life has always kicked poor underachieving Brody in the balls, but lately it seems like it's more than a few underachieving missteps keeping him and his sister Molly down and out. Now we meet Blair, who works for a mobster named Jimmy Latso, ready to take full advantage of Brody's desperation. Ooh, how we love to hate this young woman and the thug, Jimmy, who's raised her to do his sick bidding. What results is a terribly dysfunctional "partnership" grown out of betrayal and manipulation, as everything seems to point back to a badass of a woman named Lola. How does it all tie together? Strap in for one helluva ride and find out! If you like hard and non-stop action, despicable characters and dark twisty turns on every page, then Lola On Fire should be high on your to-read list. Be sure to grab it and read it soon, because I have no doubt a movie studio is going to grab this wild ride and fuel it up for the big screen asap! A special thanks to Harper Audio and NetGalley who honored me with a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    D.K. Hundt

    LOLA ON FIRE - by Rio Youers Source: NetGalley/Audiobook Review Publisher: HarperAudio Scheduled To Release: February 16, 2021 Have you ever said to yourself, after reading a book that encompasses all the feels, ‘How in the world can I do this book justice in a review?’ LOLA ON FIRE is that book for me, at this moment. Youers’ writing pulled me in immediately with the action, then slowly tightened up on my heartstrings and refused to let go until the very end. I want to share an enticing tidbit w LOLA ON FIRE - by Rio Youers Source: NetGalley/Audiobook Review Publisher: HarperAudio Scheduled To Release: February 16, 2021 Have you ever said to yourself, after reading a book that encompasses all the feels, ‘How in the world can I do this book justice in a review?’ LOLA ON FIRE is that book for me, at this moment. Youers’ writing pulled me in immediately with the action, then slowly tightened up on my heartstrings and refused to let go until the very end. I want to share an enticing tidbit without revealing too much, so here goes: Lola is essentially the female version of John Wick; in other words, Bad A##, and her nemesis? Well…No spoilers. ;) Like the movie I referenced above, LOLA ON FIRE is more than tension-filled gun fighting throughout; there's more to the story, A lot more. I will let you discover these gems on your own, but I will say, at its core, it's about love, loss, family, friends, sacrifice, and forgiveness. ‘Empathy is a valuable resource when it comes to forgiveness.’ My Thoughts About: Narration The narration enhanced my reading experience from the very beginning, delivering heartfelt moments that brought tears to my eyes, the tension so thick through sinister inflection coated with calm from the red lips of one foe, had me eagerly waiting—anticipating— for that moment when calm meets the firestorm. Jim Meskimen brought life and emotion to all of the characters in a distinct voice; each is discernible from one another, which is no easy task when the cast is so varied. Pacing/Flow The pacing of an audiobook is a tricky thing. In this reader's opinion, I find that I tend to speed up the narration in all the audiobooks I listen to, except for a narrator who has a thick accent, then I slow it down a bit from my norm. The flow and pacing of the narration are perfect. I have hearing loss in both ears, so the ability to speed up or slow down an audiobook helps tremendously. Brief Overview Of The Story: When life deals Brody Ellis with a lousy hand, he finds himself in need of cash to buy the medication his sister Molly needs, so he robs a convenience store. As he flees the scene, he bumps into a young woman and loses his wallet. Expecting the police to arrive on his doorstep at any moment, he gets a phone call from Blair Mayo, the woman he bumped into; she has his missing billfold. If he wants it back, he has to do something for her, first: steal her late mother’s diamonds from her wicked stepmonster. When Brody enters Blair’s house, he soon discovers that he’s just walked smack dab in the middle of a gruesome crime scene, in front of a security camera. Brody knows he’s been framed. After arriving back at home, Brody gets another call from Blaire, who tells him her mobster father, Jimmy Latzo, won’t provide the security footage to the police because he wants exact his own kind of revenge. Highly Recommend! Overall: 5.0/5.0 Stars Performance: 5.0/5.0 Stars Story: 5.0/5.0 Stars Thank you, NetGalley and HarperAudio Publishing, for loaning me an Audiobook of LOLA ON FIRE in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alaina

    I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Honestly, the synopsis mentioned John freaking Wick - so I had to get Lola on Fire. Anything that will remind me of those awesome movies or amazing character, I'm down. I don't care if it's good or not, I will read it with zero hesitation. Luckily for me, I LOVED this book. Maybe loved isn't the right word for how I felt while listening to this wonderful ARC but that's the word I'm going with. So much happens from the very b I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Honestly, the synopsis mentioned John freaking Wick - so I had to get Lola on Fire. Anything that will remind me of those awesome movies or amazing character, I'm down. I don't care if it's good or not, I will read it with zero hesitation. Luckily for me, I LOVED this book. Maybe loved isn't the right word for how I felt while listening to this wonderful ARC but that's the word I'm going with. So much happens from the very beginning until the very last second. Lola was a complete bad ass through and through. Then there's Brody and Molly. Both were completely likable but I felt bad for them SO many times. I get it, they were pawns in this huge cluster of a hot mess but I still ended up feeling bad for them. With each twist and turn, I was on the edge of my seat for this entire book. I loved how people helped these two along the way because they just weren't expecting all of that. In the end, I definitely look forward to my next book by Rio!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michael Hicks

    In 1993, mobster Lola Bear attempts to settle a score with Jimmy Latzo following the murder of her lover. Unfortunately, she underestimates Jimmy and leaves him alive, albeit gravely injured. Now, 25 years later, Jimmy is finally close to getting his revenge. This is bad news for Brody and his sister, Molly, who, in the years since their father's suicide, have been barely making end's meet. After a desperate convenience store robbery, Brody finds himself sucked into an even worse crime and set-up In 1993, mobster Lola Bear attempts to settle a score with Jimmy Latzo following the murder of her lover. Unfortunately, she underestimates Jimmy and leaves him alive, albeit gravely injured. Now, 25 years later, Jimmy is finally close to getting his revenge. This is bad news for Brody and his sister, Molly, who, in the years since their father's suicide, have been barely making end's meet. After a desperate convenience store robbery, Brody finds himself sucked into an even worse crime and set-up as a patsy as he's dragged deeper into the criminal underworld and a decades-old feud that just might cost him and his sister their lives. Lola on Fire is one hell of an action-packed crime thriller, and Rio Youers hits the ground running right from page one. Our introduction to Lola is an intense and violent all-out assault that involves plenty of wicked gunplay and even some heated flamethrower action! It's a grandly exciting opener that really establishes Lola's bonafides as a not-to-be-messed-with, bad-ass woman. It also makes you salivate for more crazy Lola action! And this is where my one big complaint comes in, but do consider this to be a modest issue within the context of an overall really good book. We're given a bit of a bait-and-switch after this opening chapter as Youers shifts focus to the present-day and Lola disappears for rather a very long time. Lola, for the most part, becomes the book's central MacGuffin throughout much of the first half of the book, motivating and pushing the characters. The real focus of Lola on Fire is on Brody and his entanglements with the Latzo crime family as he and Molly are forced to run for their lives with the bad guys constantly nipping at their heels. While I'll be the first to admit that I absolutely, positively wanted more Lola, Brody's story is pretty damn interesting (even if, like Jimmy Latzo, I found myself getting a bit frustrated wondering where the hell is Lola?!). He does dumb things, driven by hopelessness and the earnest desire to protect his disabled sister and keep a roof over their head. He's easy to root for and, despite his questionable choices, it's pretty clear he's not a bad guy, especially not in comparison to the actually bad guys who are after him. He's just a schmuck in over his head and as much a target of opportunity as the convenience store he robs with a fake gun. You want to see Brody worm his way out from under Jimmy Latzo's thumb, even as it becomes more than clear that won't be an easy job. Latzo's a raving, murderous psychotic, but it's his brainy, beautiful underling, Blair, who's the real problem. She's got the smarts and runs Latzo's operations with finely tuned perfection, always one step ahead of everyfreakingbody. Blair, in fact, quite nearly steals the whole show here with her brains, schemes, and manipulations to put everyone where she wants them to be with clockwork precision in order to get what she wants. She's an awesome character, and the perfect counterweight to Lola, once the now-50ish killer makes her grand reappearance in the book's latter half. That Youers is able to craft such a bright, exciting, and deeply satisfying crime caper isn't much of a surprise, given how adeptly he handled the criminal enterprises underpinning the operations of Mother Moon's cult in his previous horror thriller, Halcyon. Still, it's nice to see him flex his authorial muscles and go all-in on a standalone action-crime caper. Youers's writing is brisk, cinematic, and the story charges full speed ahead, right from the get-go. And while, yes, I wanted more Lola than we actually got, when she is on the page, her scenes absolutely rock, whether its a more emotional beat or a frenetic beatdown of some heavyweight mobster, she's just such a well-constructed joy to read about. Linda Hamilton might want to get her agent on the line.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    I usually prefer psychological thrillers, but this crime thriller caught me from the first shoot-em-up scene and kept me turning pages through to the big bang ending. It is a fast-paced read full of colorful characters--both good and bad guys--and a great plot. Brody Ellis is down on his luck and needs money to pay his debts and pay for his sister Molly's medications. He makes his first bad decision when he decides to rob a convenience store. He loses his wallet at the convenience store when he r I usually prefer psychological thrillers, but this crime thriller caught me from the first shoot-em-up scene and kept me turning pages through to the big bang ending. It is a fast-paced read full of colorful characters--both good and bad guys--and a great plot. Brody Ellis is down on his luck and needs money to pay his debts and pay for his sister Molly's medications. He makes his first bad decision when he decides to rob a convenience store. He loses his wallet at the convenience store when he runs into a woman as he is making his escape. The woman, Blair, turns out to be the daughter of the notorious gangster, Jimmy Latzo. Blair has Brody's wallet and will return it only if Brody steals her late mother's diamonds from her evil stepmother. Brody agrees, but when he gets to the house he finds the stepmother brutally murdered and a security camera recording his every move; Blair has framed him for the murder. Brody and Molly go on the run to escape Jimmy's vengeance and continue to make bad decisions at every turn but they somehow keep one step ahead of certain death. This book is a wild ride across the U.S. as Brody and Molly look for someone who can help them stay hidden. Along the way they discover secrets about their family and learn the skills necessary for survival. This is an enjoyable read and I recommend it for those who enjoy a good thriller. Thank you NetGalley and William Morrow for an Advance Reader's Copy of this book. It goes on sale February 16, 2021.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Heather~ Nature.books.and.coffee

    3.5⭐! If you love crime action movies, this is definitely for you. This was non stop action all the way through. This honestly would make a great movie!! Brody Ellis needs cash to pay for his sister's medication. He's desperate, and decides to rob a convenience store. On the way out he bumps into a woman and drops his wallet. Then when she gets ahold of him, she blackmails him to do something for her. When he does this, he realizes he's been framed. It's one thing after another in this one. Ther 3.5⭐! If you love crime action movies, this is definitely for you. This was non stop action all the way through. This honestly would make a great movie!! Brody Ellis needs cash to pay for his sister's medication. He's desperate, and decides to rob a convenience store. On the way out he bumps into a woman and drops his wallet. Then when she gets ahold of him, she blackmails him to do something for her. When he does this, he realizes he's been framed. It's one thing after another in this one. There is also a lot of violence, which isn't one of my favorite things! But I do think people who love action packed reads should check this one out! Thank you to the publisher for the gifted copy! All opinions are my own!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    https://youtu.be/YZ4jMglex-4 https://youtu.be/YZ4jMglex-4

  12. 5 out of 5

    Wayne Fenlon

    There is a quote on the back cover of LOLA ON FIRE saying that it's a wild, relentless read, but for me, that pins a sort of cocaine-fuelled WOLF OF WALL STREET vibe onto it, an overbearing feeling that really doesn't do it much justice. This one has a big heart running all the way through, and there's not just one story going on here either. Every character has one to tell, and you'll be rooting for more than one of them. I guarantee it. Rio's writing is always great. The action never feels over t There is a quote on the back cover of LOLA ON FIRE saying that it's a wild, relentless read, but for me, that pins a sort of cocaine-fuelled WOLF OF WALL STREET vibe onto it, an overbearing feeling that really doesn't do it much justice. This one has a big heart running all the way through, and there's not just one story going on here either. Every character has one to tell, and you'll be rooting for more than one of them. I guarantee it. Rio's writing is always great. The action never feels over the top. The pacing is spot on. Everything feels just right. I've said it before, but it's only a matter of time before one of Rio's books hits the big screen. This could well be the one, and hopefully the starter for many more. His back catalogue is something else. I talk about his work all the time. I'm also delighted to hear that Jim Meskimen is voicing the audiobook of this. I've been a fan of his impressions for a good few years now. Check him out on YouTube. He's incredible. My most anticipated read of next year came early. I feel so very fortunate to have received this ARC. It didn't disappoint. Look out for LOLA ON FIRE in February 2021. Add it to your TBR list now. 5 stars all the way.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Robbins

    This book was a combination mobster gun fight and coming of age story. The book opens with a huge gun fight and high body count. While gun fights books aren't typically my thing, I really did enjoy this one because of the other parts of the story. I found Brody and Molly likeable and I really felt sorry for them. They were in a terrible position and that made Brody make some really bad choices. I was rooting for them throughout the book. I enjoyed how Brody grew and learned throughout the book. This book was a combination mobster gun fight and coming of age story. The book opens with a huge gun fight and high body count. While gun fights books aren't typically my thing, I really did enjoy this one because of the other parts of the story. I found Brody and Molly likeable and I really felt sorry for them. They were in a terrible position and that made Brody make some really bad choices. I was rooting for them throughout the book. I enjoyed how Brody grew and learned throughout the book. Many characters and situations weren't always what they seemed. It definitely kept me intrigued. I listened to the audiobook and enjoyed the narrator quite a bit. He did a good job with doing different voices for different characters. Overall, a pretty good book. I'd recommend it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kim Bakos

    If you love Eve Duncan or Jack Reacher, Lola will be your new best friend! This book had non-stop action from the very first scene (but if you don't care for violence, skip this book - that first scene left 16 people and 7 animals butchered or torched). This is a story that has no clear lines between the good guys and the bad guys. Everyone is out to get someone else, although some of the reasons why may seem more reasonable than others. The best part of the book is seeing the relationships form If you love Eve Duncan or Jack Reacher, Lola will be your new best friend! This book had non-stop action from the very first scene (but if you don't care for violence, skip this book - that first scene left 16 people and 7 animals butchered or torched). This is a story that has no clear lines between the good guys and the bad guys. Everyone is out to get someone else, although some of the reasons why may seem more reasonable than others. The best part of the book is seeing the relationships form between Lola and her kids, showing it is never too late to start over.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    Holy crap on a cracker! I couldn’t put this one down! And when I had to, to go to work, I was terribly upset! Nonstop action from cover to cover! That and the fact that he had one of the characters living in B-Town! I lived in Bloomington, IN for 5 years, 4 years in University and 1 year in the glorious town. Just visited this past November! “The bus depot was at the intersection of South Walnut & East Third Street.” Know right where this is! Great characters, guns, mobsters, with revenge drivin Holy crap on a cracker! I couldn’t put this one down! And when I had to, to go to work, I was terribly upset! Nonstop action from cover to cover! That and the fact that he had one of the characters living in B-Town! I lived in Bloomington, IN for 5 years, 4 years in University and 1 year in the glorious town. Just visited this past November! “The bus depot was at the intersection of South Walnut & East Third Street.” Know right where this is! Great characters, guns, mobsters, with revenge driving one mobsters life! Who will be left standing?

  16. 5 out of 5

    Paul Preston

    Can you escape a violent past and try to live a normal life? Sometimes you get knocked down only to get up stronger. This book starts off with one of the best opening action scenes ever. Lola Bear is a total kick ass warrior reminiscent of Denzel Washington in The Equalizer. You can’t help but cheer on every kill. It is this brilliant beginning that propels you through the story of 24 year old Brody and his younger handicapped sister Molly. They are struggling to make rent when Brody makes a mis Can you escape a violent past and try to live a normal life? Sometimes you get knocked down only to get up stronger. This book starts off with one of the best opening action scenes ever. Lola Bear is a total kick ass warrior reminiscent of Denzel Washington in The Equalizer. You can’t help but cheer on every kill. It is this brilliant beginning that propels you through the story of 24 year old Brody and his younger handicapped sister Molly. They are struggling to make rent when Brody makes a mistake that has them fleeing the state unable to shake the trouble following them. Help comes from unexpected people. Youers has created some absolutely amazing characters in this thriller that never slows down. I want to discuss this more but it is impossible without spoilers. Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of the audiobook in exchange for an honest review

  17. 4 out of 5

    David Agranoff

    My podcast interview with Rio... https://youtu.be/4FzdZeetfYY https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast... This is my fourth Rio Youers novel, and he has now achieved with me a very important status. As an author, he has become his own genre and one I am willing to follow anywhere. My first experience was his beautifully weird debut novel Westlake Soul. That novel is about a champion surfer who transcends his body after an accident. It is a sorta modern sarcastic Johnny Got His Gun. It is a slow burn b My podcast interview with Rio... https://youtu.be/4FzdZeetfYY https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast... This is my fourth Rio Youers novel, and he has now achieved with me a very important status. As an author, he has become his own genre and one I am willing to follow anywhere. My first experience was his beautifully weird debut novel Westlake Soul. That novel is about a champion surfer who transcends his body after an accident. It is a sorta modern sarcastic Johnny Got His Gun. It is a slow burn but a perfect showcase of his talent and I was sold. Youers took a few years to work his way into the mainstream and his first novel with a major publishing house was one of my top read of 2017. The Forgotten Girl is a weird crime thriller that pleasantly paid stylish homage to psi-thrillers like John Farris’ The Fury or King’s Firestarter. That is just the plot, but it is the characters and the easy flow of the pages that made this weird crime thriller a must-read. Youers third novel Halcyon didn’t work quite as well for me but it cemented for me what we are getting are novels like great popcorn flicks by an arthouse director. That third novel seemed like a thriller about a cult on the surface but it was a pretty neat exploration of trauma. Don’t get me wrong I liked this novel but compared to the strength of The Forgotten Girl and now Lola on Fire it just didn’t floor me. OK, enough history lesson we are here to talk about Lola on Fire. The blurb on the front cover invoked John Wick a movie I loved, but besides that, the title and the strength of the author I went into this reading experience knowing nothing. I avoided reading blurbs, dustjacket anything, and opened this book knowing as little as I could. So if you trust me enough let me just say this thriller is worth a read by any measure. I read this 400 pages in three days, while still managing to get stuff done in my life. The characters are so rich that you will be sucked in and you will find pages flying past. The action is great, the story engrossing and it is one that on paper doesn’t sound that appealing to me but that didn’t matter. By that I mean, I read science fiction and horror because I like mind-expanding concepts and ideas. I like with authors can write real and extraordinary characters in weird settings. There is absolutely nothing special about the plot of this book. Normally I would think it was a great idea for a movie probably starring Charlize Theron who seems to do the insane action movies well. That may sound like an insult but Youers proves here that does matter if you focus on the right things. A story doesn’t have to have something you never have seen before if it is well told. That is 500 words before I get into the nuts and bolts of this novel. This is a revenge story, and it would be fair to say it is a gender-flipped John Wick. Comparisons to Kill Bill and Killing Eve seem less fair to me but you will see them. Lola Bear is a character who through a set of circumstances, namely her war hero grandpa and the gangster who recruited her at a young age has become a legendary killer. The story opens in 1993 when Lola burns down that gangster’s empire. This prologue is great and feels part Elmore Leonard / Part Kill Bill. “I mean I’m Jimmy Fucking Latzo. I don’t lose. You fucking know that. And geuss what, baby doll…you tried to bring me down-fucking end me- I brought you down. The unstoppable Lola Bear. I’m going to go from legendary to godlike.” And if he killed her, he probably would. It didn’t matter that his army was torn apart and his house in ashes; killing Lola Bear would add considerably to his resume.” For this reader who didn’t know the plot came 100 pages of reading with new characters and I was not sure how they connected. The style of the prologue doesn't push through with the change in characters, and story wise that made sense. That said the opening is probably the most fun part of the book. Because I didn't read about the plot I was wondering how these characters connected but I trusted Youers and I am glad I did. Eventually, it is clear these new characters Brody and Molly are Lola’s children. After their father’s murder, and their mother leaving them they are struggling to survive. Brody is coming to the conclusion that crime might be the only way out. Holding up a liquor store was his first step into crime and it backfires. The next steps in the plot are a bit of a stretch until you figure who is pulling the strings. Brody and Molly are forced to run and the only person who can save them their mom. If only they can find her and deal with the War that would bring. Minor spoilers from here on… One crazy thing is my hometown of Bloomington Indiana is one of the locations the characters travel to and one of the most important scenes of the book takes place in the park where I played basketball growing up. It is a scene when Renee a family member Brody and Molly tracked down tells them the truth and finally convinces them of the depth of the trouble they are in, and the level of killer their mother was. “It was a set-up, Brody. Jimmy is using you to find Mom.” While everything in this scene is elaborate it is unrolled in a way that works. This is a hard narrative trick not every scene of exposition can be smooth. Brody could come off in this scene like a moron, but instead, Youers did a wonderful job of making me feel sorry for Brody and Molly. I want to give a compliment to this novel that may sound like an insult. Lola on Fire is an action movie more than it is a novel. Rio plays power cords like any good writer but the notes he effectively hits are the stuff of movies more than novels. In this case that is perfect because the bottom line is always, always the story. Blair who sets up Brody is the new Lola, in her job and training. She is the hot young replacement with that one thing that makes her more dangerous. Her ability to plan and stay one step ahead. She and Lola are like two cars driving full speed toward each other in the same lane. We know they will collide and in the end, the only advantage Lola has is what she became free of Jimmy. She is a mother. This leads to my favorite part of the whole book when Brody gets Molly to safety and tells her he has to go back. On page 339 of this narrative, I was conflicted reading. Wanting to yell at the book, get out of their Brody, but knowing he had to go. Why? Because Jimmy Latzo is a perfect action movie bad guy. Ruthless beyond reason who wanted to hurt their mother more than he wanted all the money and power in the world. “His eye drifted back to the drop of blood on the hood. It had lost its shape, but not its color – its redness. And it was no longer just his mom’s blood. It was his dad’s, Renee’s, and Karl Janko’s. It was every drop of blood that Jimmy had ever spilled. It was every vile he’d done.” He could return to the farm with Molly, leave his mother to die in pain, but he would spend his life consumed by the same hated. The action films are built on the same foundation that every great story is. Anyone can stage a car chase or have Chow Yun-Fat run around with two guns killing a million people. The best action stories are built on parallels and reversals. Character arcs are even more important in stories that appear action-driven. I suspect Rio Youers wanted this to be the action movie that played in his head. He is a novelist so that is how he told the story. All the reviews and blurbs will tell you about the action and thrills but I am happy to recommend this character-driven coming of age that has lots of bullet casings.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bookreporter.com Mystery & Thriller

    LOLA ON FIRE is that somewhat rare book that lives up to its pre-publication publicity. It is a multifaceted story that has attracted attention to some degree as a result of its occasional scenes of graphically described violence, perhaps at the expense of its other equally worthy elements. We meet the Lola of the title almost immediately and unforgettably. The book’s prologue, set in 1993, is titled “The Unstoppable Lola Bear” for what proves to be an excellent reason. Lola Bear is an enforcer f LOLA ON FIRE is that somewhat rare book that lives up to its pre-publication publicity. It is a multifaceted story that has attracted attention to some degree as a result of its occasional scenes of graphically described violence, perhaps at the expense of its other equally worthy elements. We meet the Lola of the title almost immediately and unforgettably. The book’s prologue, set in 1993, is titled “The Unstoppable Lola Bear” for what proves to be an excellent reason. Lola Bear is an enforcer for Jimmy Latzo, the primary crime lord of Carver City, Pennsylvania. She is in the process of turning in her resignation to Latzo in the most extreme way possible and for all the right reasons. Author Rio Youers demonstrates that Lola is a force of nature --- “fire” is certainly the correct element --- and by the time she is done, almost everything is laid to waste. The novel then shifts to late 2019. Twenty-four-year-old Brody Ellis is on the verge of robbing a convenience store using a stage prop pistol, which will be the mistake of his life on a list full of them. Brody sees himself as having little choice. He is the sole caretaker of his 21-year-old sister, Molly, who is moderately limited by cerebral palsy. They are behind on their rent and in desperate straits. Brody’s debut as a robber is successful to a degree, but he is still an amateur. Although he has the money from the heist, he discovers after the fact that he dropped his wallet at the scene of the crime. He soon finds out that the missing billfold, which of course contains his identification, is in the possession of Blair Mayo, an enigmatic young woman with a saucerful of secrets, so to speak. Blair is willing to return Brody’s wallet to him, but there is a price to pay. She wants him to break into her father’s house and steal a sentimental piece of jewelry that her late mother had given to her but is now in her stepmother’s possession. Brody is extremely reluctant to go along with the plan, but does so anyway, believing he has no choice. When he arrives at his destination, Brody realizes that he has been played very badly --- to the extent that he and Molly must leave town immediately. With limited funds, unreliable transportation and almost no one to turn to, they travel slowly across the country as they are followed by a team of criminals dispatched by Blair. Brody and Molly appear to lose them, but he is getting played again, and for a much more dangerous reason. As the narrative bounces back and forth across time, Brody and Molly --- not to mention the reader --- discover who and what these people are, and learn that they constitute a danger not only to themselves but also to someone they thought they lost long ago. Matters are resolved in a violent, climactic tableau that no one will walk away from undamaged. While the carnage in LOLA ON FIRE may not be for everyone, it is ultimately a story of sacrifice, redemption and forgiveness. There is also an element of revenge as well, just to keep things interesting. The book’s pages turn so quickly that you will singe your eyebrows and a couple of other places as you’re reading, but you’ll love every minute of it. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub

  19. 4 out of 5

    FanFiAddict

    Rating: 8.0/10 Thanks to the publisher and author for a copy of Lola on Fire for review consideration. This did not influence my thoughts or opinions. Lola on Fire is a pedal to the medal, pulse-pounding crime caper turned action thriller that was as explosive as it was heartwarming. I’m always down for what Youers brings to the table and this one was no exception. I have been a fan of Rio Youers for a while now, having devoured some of his more recent novels like Westlake Soul, The Forgotten Girl, Rating: 8.0/10 Thanks to the publisher and author for a copy of Lola on Fire for review consideration. This did not influence my thoughts or opinions. Lola on Fire is a pedal to the medal, pulse-pounding crime caper turned action thriller that was as explosive as it was heartwarming. I’m always down for what Youers brings to the table and this one was no exception. I have been a fan of Rio Youers for a while now, having devoured some of his more recent novels like Westlake Soul, The Forgotten Girl, and Halcyon as soon as copies were in my possession. He has a penchant for bringing the reader directly into the story on page one and having you emotionally involved with the characters seamlessly. On top of that, his stories are some of the most original I’ve read and quite unputdownable. With Lola on Fire, while we have seen crime capers/action thrillers with BA male and female protagonists, this one just felt different; and it could be the way in which Youers framed the story. While the reader becomes familiar with Lola in the onset, the main storyline actually revolves around Brody Ellis and the absolute mess he has gotten himself into: the robbery, the frame job, and, well, the fact that he is now running away from a mobster with little to no cash and his sister. How in the world do they actually expect to get out of their predicament? This was a very straight-forward thriller, unlike some of the author’s previous works that took a little bit of imagination and perhaps some re-read pages. It was also a bit more cinematic which kept the adrenaline up and allowed for continued engagement with the story; it read more like a movie, one with a quicker pace that allowed for a faster read (if that makes any sense). It also helped that I felt an instantaneous connection with Brody, especially through the struggles he and his sister endure on the daily. While he doesn’t like the prototypical “savior” type at the beginning, he does some very quick growing up as they put rubber to the streets across the states. All in all, if you enjoy action packed thrillers that are more on the crime side of things, this is an excellent grab from one of my favorite authors.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Donna Hines

    Desperation leads to bad decisions, a stroke of bad luck, and a powerful showdown! Hey guys, you all remember the Western style shootouts, mobster titans, and knock out bar brawls but this eclipses all of them into one fab thriller read that's literally on fire. We begin with Brody Ellis -a caretaker for his sister who decides to go extreme in robbing a convenience store which leads to Blair. Blair is a wild one working for a mobster named Jimmy who raised her to do his sick bidding as he welcomes Desperation leads to bad decisions, a stroke of bad luck, and a powerful showdown! Hey guys, you all remember the Western style shootouts, mobster titans, and knock out bar brawls but this eclipses all of them into one fab thriller read that's literally on fire. We begin with Brody Ellis -a caretaker for his sister who decides to go extreme in robbing a convenience store which leads to Blair. Blair is a wild one working for a mobster named Jimmy who raised her to do his sick bidding as he welcomes Blair's desperation. Building a relationship on manipulation, betrayal, lies isn't quite the best idea but when your up against a wall you take what is offered. So, with all this heated action building intensity quickly there's got to be a drop off point right? Nope, not really as I was clearly entertained with the writing, the vivid characters, the tenacity of those involved and the thickening plot that never let up. With this noted something has to give and yes, you're right! Will the good guys will this shoot out? What about the kids? Will there be a happy ever after life full of riches, retirement, and mama's dream farm full of love? Ahhh! Wouldn't you love to know but I'm not allowed to spill so you have to read this gem to uncover the beauty of it all. You won't be disappointed! Trust me! I read this during our nations worst attack on Capitol Hill! So, I did have difficulty staying focused while our own nation was under attack. Ironically this book matched the explosive atmosphere and held its own during this turmoil which is credited to this author whom I now have on radar. Looking forward to seeing what's next in the line up from Rio Youers!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Coleen

    I won this terrific book in a Goodreads giveaway. I Loved the book jacket and photos in the book! Great idea for starting the suspense. Lola is the kind of person [leaving out her horrible childhood] that I'd love to be, if I weren't too old and feeble... meaning I could never be her, but can appreciate vicarious thrills. The story is interesting, and moved so fast at times that it would have been difficult to stop reading The characters are fairly easy to follow, even though there are others - bot I won this terrific book in a Goodreads giveaway. I Loved the book jacket and photos in the book! Great idea for starting the suspense. Lola is the kind of person [leaving out her horrible childhood] that I'd love to be, if I weren't too old and feeble... meaning I could never be her, but can appreciate vicarious thrills. The story is interesting, and moved so fast at times that it would have been difficult to stop reading The characters are fairly easy to follow, even though there are others - both good and bad, that are thrown in to make sure the reader is paying attention. It's not difficult to pay attention: Brody and his disabled younger sister, Molly, Blair, Jimmy, and Lola are the main characters. And the plot spins in and out to keep one guessing. And I might add that I liked the ending - which anyone knows who follows my book reviews, is not something they see too often. The author has written other books, and after reading this one, I would like to read them also.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    A fast paced thriller, which I really enjoyed. It was very easy to get lost in the book. I will say it is a dark thriller, it for sure has some action in it. I would compare it to John Wick. I got to listen to the audio, which was quite nice. ***I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.***

  23. 5 out of 5

    Matt (TeamRedmon)

    Full review to come

  24. 4 out of 5

    Roxie |The Book Slayer| Voorhees

    Full RTC

  25. 4 out of 5

    booksbikesbooze

    3.5 stars.... What an action-packed thriller! This was the first time I read a thriller filled with so much action. While it was written well, I just didn't find myself enjoying it as much as I would a psychological thriller, or domestic thriller. My rating reflects my disconnect with the book, but I am sure if you enjoy action movies or books, this would be right up your alley! Thank you to the publisher for my review copy - out now! 3.5 stars.... What an action-packed thriller! This was the first time I read a thriller filled with so much action. While it was written well, I just didn't find myself enjoying it as much as I would a psychological thriller, or domestic thriller. My rating reflects my disconnect with the book, but I am sure if you enjoy action movies or books, this would be right up your alley! Thank you to the publisher for my review copy - out now!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sara M.

    Not the kind of book I usually read but I really enjoyed it! It’s a fun, well-paced read that, while predictable, keeps you engaged.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa (alyssamoreads)

    This audiobook was quite enjoyable. When I read that it was about a female assassin, I thought it might end up being a little cheesy or too action-packed and bland. This audiobook was not what I expected at all. It was a heartwarming, family story that I did not expect to enjoy as much as I did. I really enjoyed the narrator, as well.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    Full review can be found here: https://www.criminalelement.com/book-... Full review can be found here: https://www.criminalelement.com/book-...

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jennie

    DNF at 21%. Not for me. Just couldn’t get into the story. A bit too drawn out for me. Thanks netgalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. This was the audio version. I may give the actual book a shot when it’s released.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    "Some things have a way of catching hold and not letting go until they’ve dragged you all the way down." I went in blind on this book, intrigued by the flames on the cover. Those flames should have been a clue for me about the fiery, action-packed story I was about to experience, but even so, I don’t think I was quite prepared for the heart-stopping, adrenaline-pumping ride I found inside the pages of Lola on Fire. "In the face of an insurmountable threat, we seek security." This is the story of Br "Some things have a way of catching hold and not letting go until they’ve dragged you all the way down." I went in blind on this book, intrigued by the flames on the cover. Those flames should have been a clue for me about the fiery, action-packed story I was about to experience, but even so, I don’t think I was quite prepared for the heart-stopping, adrenaline-pumping ride I found inside the pages of Lola on Fire. "In the face of an insurmountable threat, we seek security." This is the story of Brody, a down-on-his-luck young adult, who is trying—and failing—to make a decent life for himself and his younger sister, Molly. They’ve lost both of their parents, one to suicide and one to abandonment, and Molly can’t afford the medicine or therapy she needs for a chronic, debilitating medical condition. In a desperate moment, a wrong-place-wrong-time kind of decision lands Brody on the opposite side of the mafia, and now he and Molly stand to lose even more than they already have: their lives are on the line. "What we really need is to get under the radar, to disappear." Lola on Fire moves ridiculously fast, with enough suspense, intrigue, and mafia-related crime to keep you on the edge of your seat. The title character, Lola, fades into the background almost immediately, but her narrative gradually weaves itself into Brody’s story in a delightfully unexpected way. "Brody is about to realize he’s been drawn into a war... Running is not a long-term solution. Leading you to [her] is his only hope for survival." Despite all the action and wildly fast pacing that leaves you mentally running to catch up, Youers raises poignant questions about family ties, desperation, survival, and the lengths to which a person will go, in order to save themselves (or the ones they love). "Empathy is a valuable resource..." I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It’s a stereotypically-masculine read, packed with violence, guns, and even a flamethrower or two - not exactly my usual genre. But I loved every minute of it! Jim Meskimen’s narration was perfect; he brought every character to life in such an authentic way. I could totally picture every scene as a movie or mini-series. Highly recommend - 4.5/5 stars! "A little light goes a long way." —— A huge thank-you to Rio Yours, Harper Audio, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review! —— Follow @letteredlibrary on Instagram!

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