TERF Wars (Jinx Ballou #4), by Dharma Kelleher

Eight stars

Catching up on my backlog of Dharma Kelleher novels, I realised how much I miss the author’s gritty delivery and unique perspective when it comes to crime. Kelleher’s novels approach the genre from a LGBTQ+ perspective, with the Jinx Ballou series adding a trans woman flavouring. Exploring the world of abuse and mistreatment of the trans population, Kelleher educates and entertains in equal measure throughout this piece.

Jenna ‘Jinx’ Ballou is a successful bounty hunter in the Phoenix community, having developed great skills tracking criminals when she worked for the police. Jinx has come a long way, having transitioned to a woman at an early age and has not suffered a great deal of the transphobic attacks that many of her friends have encountered. Her happiness is so strong that she is ready to marry her long-time fiancé, Conor, and the wedding is in only a matter of days.

When she is given the file of a accused murdered who killed a Black trans woman, Jinx takes on the case with gusto. This is a heinous crime and Jinx will not let anyone tell her otherwise. However, as she tries to track down the criminal, Jinx is set upon by a group, Womyn Born Womyn, a TERF (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist) collective who want nothing but to spew hatred and violence. Jinx adds this to her motivation and sets out to capture a bail jumper.

When the case takes her to Vegas, Jinx finds herself in a heap of trouble and lands in jail for a night, but this will not deter her from getting to the bottom of what’s been going on. She will not rest until she captures the criminal, who has been stirring up added hatred for trans women and targeting Jinx with a number of social media ploys.

As the wedding approaches, Jinx can only hope that she will be able to complete the capture and leave it behind her. However, some have other plans and Jinx’s own wedding turns into a bloodbath, only adding to the intensity needed to re-capture the criminal. TERF or not, this group is one that cannot remain free to express their hateful views and the truth must come out. Kelleher does a wonderful job capturing the many themes of the book and provides the reader with some powerful reading.

I have been trying to remember how I stumbled across the works of Dharma Kelleher, to no avail. However it ended up working, I have been able to thoroughly enjoy each of the books presented to me, gathering information about topics to which I was clueless and themes that do not enter my usual reading experiences. Either way, it has been a stunning and eye-opening experiences, as well as being highly entertaining. I learn so much and appreciate the effort Kelleher puts into her pieces of fiction.

Much like her series involving a female biker gang, this collection of novels about bounty hunters extends well past what I might usually read. Adding the LGBTQ+ flavouring and I am completely out of my depth, but still love the reading experience. Kelleher offers up a strong narrative with known direction to keep me on my toes throughout, offering up characters who guide the story along and keep things entertaining in doing so. Plot twists that mirror societal issues help not only to surprise the reader but educate them on some of the struggles to which they might not have been aware. Gritty and full of relevant discussions, Kelleher offers readers a jagged view of things, refusing the dilute the arguments at any time. I can only hope that Dharma Kelleher has more to come and that others take a moment to explore the themes she has to offer.

Kudos, Madam Kelleher, another winner. I am happy to have caught up and am eager to see where your next novel will take me,.

A Broken Woman (Jinx Ballou Bounty Hunter #3), by Dharma Kelleher

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Dharma Kelleher, and Dark Pariah Press for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

A great fan of Dharma Kelleher and her work, I was pleased to be able to secure a copy of her latest novel in the Jinx Ballou series. Picking up soon after the previous novel ended, Jinx Ballou is still trying to process everything that has befallen her, including the apparent death of her fiancé, Conor. While out on a bail enforcement job, the client attempts to flee and takes a header onto the cement. This being part of a long string of incidents, Jinx is fired and begins to wonder if she has done anything productive with her life. Crawling under a rock, Jinx finds solace in the bottle and seeks to detach from the rest of the world. However, a former colleague reaches out to her with a special request, to help locate a trans woman who has skipped bail after a horrible time behind bars. Unsure if this will make her a traitor to the trans community, Jinx debates what to do, but chooses to make an effort, if only to help clear the woman’s name. Working with a new partner, Jinx begins trying to find Zia “Indigo” Pearson. Following a few leads, she finds herself at the Athena Sisterhood Motorcycle Club, where few take a liking to her presence. After a little roughing up, Jinx and the club’s VP, Shea Stevens, agree to work together, as long as they can clear Indigo’s name and find the actually person who killed a hateful preacher keen on espousing the evils of gays and loose women. Jinx finds herself in the middle of a few situations when the girlfriend of an old client resurfaces and seeks her assistance. Trying not to be deterred, Jinx works with Shea on these cases and uses her own PI license to dig a little deeper, discovering that there may be a larger situation at play. With time running out to have Indigo taken into custody before the bail is revoked, Jinx and Shea must work together and try to stay one step ahead of the killer, without become victims themselves. A wonderful addition to the series that allowed Kelleher to bridge her other popular collection, complete with a cliffhanger that will leave series fans screaming for more. Recommended to fans who enjoy police procedurals with a spin, as well as the reader who has discovered and become a fan of Dharma Kelleher’s work.

While she does bring a unique perspective to the crime thriller genre, Dharma Kelleher does well to advance causes dear to her without treating the reader like a square. She has tackled the “trans and queer aspects” (her words) well and promotes a better understanding of the lives those within the community live, meshing them nicely with other groups. I find the frank discussion not only refreshing, but needed in an era where some have turned to scoffing at those who are different, be it verbally or hidden behind Twitter. Jinx Ballou is the perfect protagonist for this series, working through many o issues from her past and into the present. Coming out and transitioning at a young age, Jinx knows what it is like to be ostracised, but has always had the support of her family and close friends. She uses this grittiness to push forward in her work as a bail enforcement officer (bounty hunter). The reader can see her struggling with trying to define herself, as well as process many of the recent goings-on in her life, all of which enriches her as a character and pushes the narrative of the story forward effectively. Others tend to complement Jinx effectively and pursue their own growth throughout this book. The attentive reader will recognise Shea Stevens from Kelleher’s other popular series, watching as she returns to the page and has some growth of her own. I will admit that I have often sought writers who have multiple popular series to blend their characters, if only for a book or two. Kelleher does this effectively and the reader can see the clash of gritty, strong women, which seems to work well. The story proves to be strong and keeps the reader intrigued, as Jinx debates her own future before making a push to help a fellow trans, finding new connections through the Athena group during the narrative’s build. With a mix of longer and short chapters, the reader will easily be able to propel themselves forward, learning much about Phoenix and the way in which many live while under the conservative umbrella of the city’s inhabitants. I hope there is more to come from Kelleher with both series, as they work so well together and keep me on my toes, posing the boundaries of what I would usually read.

Kudos, Madam Kelleher, for another winner. I can count on you showing your great writing style each time I pick up one of your pieces.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

A Broken Woman (Jinx Ballou Bounty Hunter #3), by Dharma Kelleher

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Dharma Kelleher, and Dark Pariah Press for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

A great fan of Dharma Kelleher and her work, I was pleased to be able to secure a copy of her latest novel in the Jinx Ballou series. Picking up soon after the previous novel ended, Jinx Ballou is still trying to process everything that has befallen her, including the apparent death of her fiancé, Conor. While out on a bail enforcement job, the client attempts to flee and takes a header onto the cement. This being part of a long string of incidents, Jinx is fired and begins to wonder if she has done anything productive with her life. Crawling under a rock, Jinx finds solace in the bottle and seeks to detach from the rest of the world. However, a former colleague reaches out to her with a special request, to help locate a trans woman who has skipped bail after a horrible time behind bars. Unsure if this will make her a traitor to the trans community, Jinx debates what to do, but chooses to make an effort, if only to help clear the woman’s name. Working with a new partner, Jinx begins trying to find Zia “Indigo” Pearson. Following a few leads, she finds herself at the Athena Sisterhood Motorcycle Club, where few take a liking to her presence. After a little roughing up, Jinx and the club’s VP, Shea Stevens, agree to work together, as long as they can clear Indigo’s name and find the actually person who killed a hateful preacher keen on espousing the evils of gays and loose women. Jinx finds herself in the middle of a few situations when the girlfriend of an old client resurfaces and seeks her assistance. Trying not to be deterred, Jinx works with Shea on these cases and uses her own PI license to dig a little deeper, discovering that there may be a larger situation at play. With time running out to have Indigo taken into custody before the bail is revoked, Jinx and Shea must work together and try to stay one step ahead of the killer, without become victims themselves. A wonderful addition to the series that allowed Kelleher to bridge her other popular collection, complete with a cliffhanger that will leave series fans screaming for more. Recommended to fans who enjoy police procedurals with a spin, as well as the reader who has discovered and become a fan of Dharma Kelleher’s work.

While she does bring a unique perspective to the crime thriller genre, Dharma Kelleher does well to advance causes dear to her without treating the reader like a square. She has tackled the “trans and queer aspects” (her words) well and promotes a better understanding of the lives those within the community live, meshing them nicely with other groups. I find the frank discussion not only refreshing, but needed in an era where some have turned to scoffing at those who are different, be it verbally or hidden behind Twitter. Jinx Ballou is the perfect protagonist for this series, working through many o issues from her past and into the present. Coming out and transitioning at a young age, Jinx knows what it is like to be ostracised, but has always had the support of her family and close friends. She uses this grittiness to push forward in her work as a bail enforcement officer (bounty hunter). The reader can see her struggling with trying to define herself, as well as process many of the recent goings-on in her life, all of which enriches her as a character and pushes the narrative of the story forward effectively. Others tend to complement Jinx effectively and pursue their own growth throughout this book. The attentive reader will recognise Shea Stevens from Kelleher’s other popular series, watching as she returns to the page and has some growth of her own. I will admit that I have often sought writers who have multiple popular series to blend their characters, if only for a book or two. Kelleher does this effectively and the reader can see the clash of gritty, strong women, which seems to work well. The story proves to be strong and keeps the reader intrigued, as Jinx debates her own future before making a push to help a fellow trans, finding new connections through the Athena group during the narrative’s build. With a mix of longer and short chapters, the reader will easily be able to propel themselves forward, learning much about Phoenix and the way in which many live while under the conservative umbrella of the city’s inhabitants. I hope there is more to come from Kelleher with both series, as they work so well together and keep me on my toes, posing the boundaries of what I would usually read.

Kudos, Madam Kelleher, for another winner. I can count on you showing your great writing style each time I pick up one of your pieces.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

A Broken Woman (Jinx Ballou Bounty Hunter #3), by Dharma Kelleher

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Dharma Kelleher, and Dark Pariah Press for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

A great fan of Dharma Kelleher and her work, I was pleased to be able to secure a copy of her latest novel in the Jinx Ballou series. Picking up soon after the previous novel ended, Jinx Ballou is still trying to process everything that has befallen her, including the apparent death of her fiancé, Conor. While out on a bail enforcement job, the client attempts to flee and takes a header onto the cement. This being part of a long string of incidents, Jinx is fired and begins to wonder if she has done anything productive with her life. Crawling under a rock, Jinx finds solace in the bottle and seeks to detach from the rest of the world. However, a former colleague reaches out to her with a special request, to help locate a trans woman who has skipped bail after a horrible time behind bars. Unsure if this will make her a traitor to the trans community, Jinx debates what to do, but chooses to make an effort, if only to help clear the woman’s name. Working with a new partner, Jinx begins trying to find Zia “Indigo” Pearson. Following a few leads, she finds herself at the Athena Sisterhood Motorcycle Club, where few take a liking to her presence. After a little roughing up, Jinx and the club’s VP, Shea Stevens, agree to work together, as long as they can clear Indigo’s name and find the actually person who killed a hateful preacher keen on espousing the evils of gays and loose women. Jinx finds herself in the middle of a few situations when the girlfriend of an old client resurfaces and seeks her assistance. Trying not to be deterred, Jinx works with Shea on these cases and uses her own PI license to dig a little deeper, discovering that there may be a larger situation at play. With time running out to have Indigo taken into custody before the bail is revoked, Jinx and Shea must work together and try to stay one step ahead of the killer, without become victims themselves. A wonderful addition to the series that allowed Kelleher to bridge her other popular collection, complete with a cliffhanger that will leave series fans screaming for more. Recommended to fans who enjoy police procedurals with a spin, as well as the reader who has discovered and become a fan of Dharma Kelleher’s work.

While she does bring a unique perspective to the crime thriller genre, Dharma Kelleher does well to advance causes dear to her without treating the reader like a square. She has tackled the “trans and queer aspects” (her words) well and promotes a better understanding of the lives those within the community live, meshing them nicely with other groups. I find the frank discussion not only refreshing, but needed in an era where some have turned to scoffing at those who are different, be it verbally or hidden behind Twitter. Jinx Ballou is the perfect protagonist for this series, working through many o issues from her past and into the present. Coming out and transitioning at a young age, Jinx knows what it is like to be ostracised, but has always had the support of her family and close friends. She uses this grittiness to push forward in her work as a bail enforcement officer (bounty hunter). The reader can see her struggling with trying to define herself, as well as process many of the recent goings-on in her life, all of which enriches her as a character and pushes the narrative of the story forward effectively. Others tend to complement Jinx effectively and pursue their own growth throughout this book. The attentive reader will recognise Shea Stevens from Kelleher’s other popular series, watching as she returns to the page and has some growth of her own. I will admit that I have often sought writers who have multiple popular series to blend their characters, if only for a book or two. Kelleher does this effectively and the reader can see the clash of gritty, strong women, which seems to work well. The story proves to be strong and keeps the reader intrigued, as Jinx debates her own future before making a push to help a fellow trans, finding new connections through the Athena group during the narrative’s build. With a mix of longer and short chapters, the reader will easily be able to propel themselves forward, learning much about Phoenix and the way in which many live while under the conservative umbrella of the city’s inhabitants. I hope there is more to come from Kelleher with both series, as they work so well together and keep me on my toes, posing the boundaries of what I would usually read.

Kudos, Madam Kelleher, for another winner. I can count on you showing your great writing style each time I pick up one of your pieces.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

Kissing Asphalt (Jinx Ballou Bounty Hunter #0.5), by Dharma Kelleher

Eight stars

In this short piece, Dharma Kelleher treats her loyal fans to a brief story about how Jinx Ballou decided to start up her own bail enforcement company. A strong bounty hunter in her own right, Jinx is set to work alongside a team to capture a meth maker whose as dangerous as he is big. However, she cannot help but remember the night of passion that she shared with her boss, Conor Doyle. Her head is split between the work and her amorous endorphins, which is never good when violent offenders are on the loose. When they arrive, the capture goes awry and one of the team is shot, clinging to life. Jinx wonders if she could have been more on the game and ensured her colleague was not in this predicament. When sent out to finish the capture, Jinx realises that she needs to make some major changes to ensure her life is safe and she can stay with the man for whom she has come to develop strong feelings. A great piece and puts some things into perspective for series fans. Recommended to those who enjoy Dharma Kelleher’s work, particularly this newer Jinx Ballou series.

This short piece actually fell into my lap when I finished the second book in the Jinx Ballou series, and I could not be happier to have read it over my morning cup of coffee. While the piece raced along, I was able to learn a little more about Jinx’s backstory and how she came to decide it was time to go out on her own. The reader also gets a little hint of the early Jinx-Conor storyline, which progresses nicely throughout the series. Much like the other Kelleher short pieces I have read, this story has momentum from the outset and keeps building throughout. I can only hope that others will find it and latch on to what has been a great series, tackling issues in the “transgender-queer” realm (Kelleher’s words) and laying them out for the reader who may be interested but unsure how to ask without seeming daft. I have the third novel in this series waiting as an ARC, so off I go there, sure to be impressed again.

Kudos, Madam Kelleher, for a great piece that took only a few minutes. I am so pleased to have discovered your work!

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

Extreme Prejudice (Jinx Ballou, Bounty Hunter #2), by Dharma Kelleher

Eight stars

As I tackle this second book in her newer series, I remain pleased with what Dharma Kelleher offers her readers. Never one to shy away from the controversial, or at least tackle issues that are still not fully mainstream, Kelleher uses her wonderful descriptive ways to tell an energetic crime thriller. Jinx Ballou has been happy working as a bail enforcement officer (bounty hunter) and seems to be keeping herself quite busy. After a few easy apprehensions, she is handed one that will challenge her. What looks like a simple capture for skipping bail on a murder charge soon takes on a life of its own. While she and her crew scour around Phoenix, another criminal from her past crosses her radar. These two men are not only dangerous in either own right, but have ties to White Power, which makes the apprehension even harder. If that were not enough, Jinx is getting closer to her boyfriend of a few years, Conor, though the Northern Ireland police appear and want to speak with him about a bombing from years ago. Jinx tries to stay calm, but there is more going on that leaves her worried. While she has dealt with a lot since transitioning as a teen, Jinx is shaken to the core and needs all the support she can find. Things reach a climax for Jinx, as the reader will surely also feel the plot reverberations. Well paced and never with a dull moment, Kelleher tackles much in this novel and educates the reader as they are entertained throughout. Recommended to those who love crime/police procedurals with a twist.

I have long enjoyed Dharma Kelleher and all her writing, which takes a well-established genre and spins it with some unique elements. Keen to promote some of the areas to which she is well-versed, Kelleher educates readers on queer lifestyles (her word) and how the stereotypes remain misunderstood. Jinx Ballou has quite the life, both with her work and at home. She has been able to handle herself well and finds the balance within her control, at least until she is thrown the odd curveball. Working to advance an understand of the transgender community, as well as trying to settle in with Conor, Jinx must also rub elbows with some of the criminal underbelly around Phoenix, never shying away from a fight. Others who grace the pages of this book help to sketch out many of the themes Kelleher wishes to explore throughout. The banter on many levels helps to elevate the narrative flow and provides a great deal of information on a variety of subjects. The story is quite well written and keeps the action going throughout. There is a great deal of information on a variety of subjects, particularly the gay-transgender-straight equality as the reader is provided with terms and lifestyle choices to help better explain to the less educated on the subject. I wish not to misidentify terms or anything like that, but I did find the discussion refreshing, even as it is set against a backdrop of white supremacy and ignorance to those who differ. Kelleher uses this series to tackle some weighty issues, but also keeps the core ‘chase the criminal’ theme that is highly entertaining. I have read both series she has written and love them both, as well as some of her short stories, which leave the reader guessing at how things tie off. A fabulous book that pushes the limits for some, but in a highly inclusive manner.

Kudos, Madam Kelleher, for another wonderful book. I cannot wait to begin the third, an ARC that awaits me.

Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

Chaser (Jinx Ballou Bounty Hunter #1), by Dharma Kelleher

Eight stars

Dharma Kelleher returns with this debut novel in her new series, one that is sure to pique the interests of those readers who enjoy something a little grittier. Jenna Christina ‘Jinx’ Ballou is a well-respect bounty hunter in Phoenix. With eight years experience and time working for Phoenix PD, she has the intuition needed to hunt down criminals of all stripes and colours. She’s quite excited to be featured in a local news magazine, sure to highlight all her accomplishments. However, the journalist spins the article to reveal a personal matter she has kept under wraps for close to two decades; that she is transgender. While this has not proven to impede her abilities to work, it would seem that many in her line of work are a little less than accepting. Having been blackballed by many, Jinx is forced to peddle her wares and is given a one-time chance to locate a significant bounty in only five days. A teenage girl has been charged with murdering her mother and, while out on bail, has disappeared from her aunt’s custody. While the aunt vows that she has no idea where she might have gone, Jinx is not too sure. Rumour has it, she’s been scooped up by some random man, though details remain sketchy. Working with her boyfriend and fellow bounty hunter, Conor, Jinx uses all her contacts to locate this young woman, which takes her to the darkest parts of the city. Risking her life and limb every day, Jinx must juggle her work and background as she faces people with little regard for respect and responsibility. Time is running out and Jinx has to secure this bounty or face dire consequences in all parts of life. Kelleher does a fantastic job opening the reader’s eyes to the world of bounty hunting and acceptance of people in all walks of life. Those who have enjoyed Kelleher’s past work will likely find this piece of great interest.

While I do not usually read the type of books that Kelleher pens (bikers and bounty hunters), I find the quality and ease of understanding to be highly addictive. Kelleher invests time and energy to ensure that the reader, no matter their walk of life, can feel comfortable reading this material and, at times, develop an affinity for the genre. Jinx Ballou is a character that is sure to prove curious to the attentive reader. She is filled with layers of personality traits that complement one another, while also bringing much backstory to keep things from getting too mundane. A bounty hunter in a male-dominated field, she has grit and determination to differentiate herself from others, without going over the top. Kelleher handles the transgender angle respectfully and offers the reader education rather than feeling as through they are being inculcated with information. There is a delicate mix and Jinx juggles all parts of her life while also keeping the story moving forward. Some of the other characters serve to accentuate differentiate varying aspects of the story’s plots, be they the world of bounty collection, sexual acceptance, or personal growth. Kelleher has shaped these secondary characters as effective vessels to speak to the perspectives she wishes to portray throughout. Turning to the story, it is gritty and does not slow down at any point, but does alternate between plot and characters development. This is important, particularly if Kelleher wants to create a series, for it is connection to both that will have the reader wanting more. Pulling no punches, Kelleher tells things as they are, injecting saucy dialogue to create a degree of realism to the character interaction. This will surely offend or upset some readers, but that would likely be the crowd who’d not return nonetheless, so there is little lost keeping them on the wayside. I have been happily surprised to see all the pieces Kelleher has presented to date and hope she has more in store for her fans, no matter the topic.

Kudos, Madam Kelleher, for another winner. I can see so much potential and hope you’re getting the support from readers and writers alike to keep pushing forward with this venture.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons