Harms Done to Others by Dave Cherry

Harms Done to Others

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For Mira and Jo, falling in love is only the first adventure; the second is becoming professional assassins.

Mira, a bookish high school junior, has never had a relationship with anyone, but when she meets Jo, the new girl in school, she’s immediately smitten; the feeling is mutual. However, she quickly realizes that there’s something different about Jo, and it’s not just the fact that she’s a 20-year-old high school junior: she’s also a former addict. As Mira is introduced to Jo’s past, Jo in turn must be introduced to the gruesome tradition that has plagued her new school for the past 14 years—the disappearance of one student every year. When a student attacks Jo, she realizes who the killer is, and she and Mira embark upon an audacious plan to dispose of him. Following this, they are contacted by the mysterious Mr. Pitt, who is impressed with their work thus far…and wants them to continue. “There are bad people in the world, even evil people, who can’t be stopped by any conventional means,” he tells them. In his debut thriller, Cherry mostly delivers on this promising beginning. Readers will root for Jo and Mira as they learn the ropes of becoming professional. Their relationship, lovingly depicted, is one of the novel’s strongest points; Jo’s addiction is realistically handled, with Jo telling Mira early on: “Addiction is chronic, progressive, and fatal….No one escapes these three truths without recovery.” As much fun as it is to follow Jo and Mira as they progress from high school students to assassins, the novel sags in the middle, lingering too long on rambling missions that don’t serve the plot. Later, when a mission goes horribly wrong, the book finally finds its antagonist and its stakes, but this happens so late in the game that much of the book’s earlier tension has already deflated.

A fun thriller that will have readers rooting for the assassins, assuming readers don’t get bogged down in the meandering middle.

Publisher: Dog Ear
Program: Kirkus Indie
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