Dark Eyes by William Richter

Dark Eyes by William Richter
Publisher: Penguin Group
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, YA
Length: Full Length (373 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

Wally was adopted from a Russian orphanage as a child and grew up in a wealthy New York City family. At fifteen, her obsessive need to rebel led her to life on the streets.

Now the sixteen-year-old is beautiful and hardened, and she’s just stumbled across the possibility of discovering who she really is. She’ll stop at nothing to find her birth mother before Klesko – her darkeyed father – finds her. Because Klesko will stop at nothing to reclaim the fortune Wally’s mother stole from him long ago. Even if that means murdering his own blood. But Wally’s had her own killer training, and she’s hungry for justice.

Wallis has few memories of the life she left in Russia as a small child but she’s determined to follow the trail to find the mother who left her in the orphanage so many years ago. Unfortunately, as determined as she is to solve the mystery there’s someone equally determined that she never know the truth.

As far as Young Adult geared books goes, Dark Eyes has all the right elements: a gutsy if not snarky lead with motivation to follow an obscure trail, a crew of witty sidekicks who lend assistance at the right moments as well as comic relief, a sadistic long-lost parent who isn’t afraid to kill to keep his secrets and finally a clean ending but with enough possibilities that this reader is looking forward to reading the next book.

Mr. Richter has a background in screenwriting that lent believability to the setting, action and dialogue. I enjoyed the rollercoaster of events as I followed Wally on her journey to discover the whereabouts of her birth mother. The story is complex with lots of twists that were as exciting as they were unexpected. The setup was a little convenient in parts but there’s so much going on I could see why it was necessary to move the story along.

Readers who enjoy non-stop action and fast paced writing will be easily drawn into Wally’s plight and root for her success. The last couple of chapters were very exciting and not to be missed. Dark Eyes is gritty and thrilling. I think that both young readers and adults who follow the genre will enjoy the time spent on this exciting ride.

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