A Reluctant Warrior by Kelly Brooke Nicholls: Gripping

A Reluctant Warrior is a gripping novel that gives readers a rare glimpse into Colombia’s notorious drug wars, told by someone who knows the landscape intimately.

A Reluctant Warrior Synopsis

A Reluctant Warrior ReviewWhen Luzma’s brother Jair unwittingly uncovers the plan by Colombia’s most notorious drug cartel to smuggle an unprecedented cocaine shipment into the US, it puts their family in grave danger.

Jair’s kidnapping by the cartel forces Luzma to go face to face with vicious paramilitary leader, El Cubano, and General Ordonez, ruthless head of the military – men who will stop at nothing to protect their empires.

But for Luzma, nothing is more important than saving her family – not even her own life.

Kelly Brooke Nicholls worked in human rights in Colombia for a number of years. Although the story and characters in A Reluctant Warrior are fictitious, they are based on events she witnessed first hand and her interviews with thousands of victims of paramilitaries, guerrillas and drug cartels. She wrote this book to celebrate and support the brave people in Colombia who risk their lives to protect and make a difference to others.

(The Author People)

Genre: Thriller, Action-Adventure, Drama, Crime

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Nicholls’ debut novel A Reluctant Warrior is powerful and important. It is a wonderful example of how literature can increase understanding of injustices by personalising them for those of us in the very fortunate position of not being affected.

The human face to the tragedy unfolding in Colombia is Luzma. She, and her family, have been unimaginably wronged but her inner strength and compassion for others remains.

Luzma looked around at all the faces in the room. On some level she felt connected to these people and their pain. She rested her gaze on the woman who’d just spoken. ‘We won’t rest either until your son’s killers are brought to justice.’ Luzma wasn’t sure justice actually existed in Colombia. But she dearly wanted to help.

Luzma is dogged and feisty, she will do anything in her power to save those she loves.

Once inside the bus, she looked out the window and saw El Cubano staring intently after her. Men like him thought they could have whatever they wanted whenever they wanted. She wished she could wipe that egotistical smile from his face.

This story demonstrates how pervasive corruption is, the complex relationships between the guerrillas, paramilitaries, military, human rights workers, domestic and international government agencies and just how widespread the violence against women and children is.

A Reluctant Warrior is not without its weaknesses from a writing standpoint – some dialogue and a few transitions felt a little clunky. But what Nicholl’s writing lacks in literary finesse is more than made up for by its impact. Her passion for the subject matter is undeniable, and infectious.

With endearing characters and a plot that moves at break-neck speed, A Reluctant Warrior is very hard to put down.

BOOK RATING: The Story 4.5 / 5 ; The Writing 3.5 / 5  –  Overall 4

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About the Author, Kelly Brooke Nicholls

Kelly Brooke NichollsKelly Brooke Nicholls’ fascination with other cultures was instilled in her early years growing up on a boat in the south pacific islands. She’s been passionate about human rights from an early age and following a stint as a journalist at Australian Associated Press she moved to Latin America when she was 23. From there she was compelled to make a difference and help people affected by conflict, abuse and extreme poverty.

She has over 15 years’ senior leadership experience working for NGOs ranging from Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders to a small indigenous-led organisation in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Her extensive time living and working in Colombia has left an indelible mark. She has travelled extensively to places few foreigners have been, researching and documenting the impact of the ongoing war on ordinary citizens and the horrendous human rights abuses inflicted on them.

Kelly in Columbia

Kelly wrote her novel A Reluctant Warrior to help shine a light on the way ordinary Colombian citizens have suffered and continue to suffer, despite the advancement in the Peace Agreement. But more than that, she wrote this book to celebrate, support and amplify the message of the brave people who risk their lives to protect and make a difference to others. Kelly strongly believes that everyone has the ability to make a difference in the world and bring about positive change, and has spent her life helping people achieve that. Kelly lives on the Northern Beaches of Sydney with her Colombian husband and two sons.

Other reviews of A Reluctant Warrior

AustCrime, The Book Curmudgeon, The Book Muse

* My receiving a copy of A Reluctant Warrior from the publisher for review purposes did not impact the expression of my honest opinions in the review above.

This review counts towards my participation in the Aussie Author Challenge 2017 and 2017 Australian Women Writers Challenge.