Saskia Frost’s world is blown apart when her dad dies. Without any family, she’s on her own now and up to her eyeballs in her father’s debts. He owed a lot of money to some very dangerous men – Joshua and Vincent Harper. Before long, aspiring ballerina Saskia finds herself lap-dancing in a London club to survive. A club run by the infamous Harper brothers. Saskia is now their property and they’re going to make her pay every penny back.
Teenager Lena Cona has fled a cruel and controlling marriage. She arrives in England with her newborn daughter, desperately relying on strangers for help. But she soon learns that not everyone can be trusted as she finds herself caught in the clutches of Colin Jefferies, a twisted individual obsessed by his own sinister secrets. As the sickening truth is revealed, Lena is forced to fight for her life – and her baby’s.b
When their worlds collide, Lena and Saskia form an unlikely friendship. But with the terrifying Harper brothers on their tail, as well as Lena’s vengeful and violent husband, can they escape with their lives?
I’ve been a huge fan of Casey Kelleher ever since she published her first book Rotten To The Core back in 2011. I was ecstatic when I found the author was teaming up with one of my favourite publishers Bookouture, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on an ARC The Taken. Did it live up to expectations? hell yes I found The Taken to be a gritty and a compelling read with drama and shock a plenty. The Taken is hard hitting and this was evident from the first chapter where Lena is grabbed of the streets whilst walking home from school. From then on the pace is relentless, the author certainly packs a punch with her writing both in the dialogue and her style of writing, its as brutal as it comes, as this book explores the seedier side of crime I think her style of writing makes it a very credible and compelling read.
The characters on the whole are well developed but if I’m honest I was more intrigued with Lena’s story than Saskia’s, as out of the two she had the bigger story to tell as we follow her harrowing journey to find a better life for her and her daughter. Once she meets Colin Jefferies one of the creepiest characters I have ever read about, her life takes a dark and dangerous turn, and that’s all I’m going to say as I don’t want to give away any spoilers.
There is so much going on its a difficult book to put down, it’s twisted, brutal and totally gripping. I have one small criticism I got the impression the author had all these ideas floating about and put them all into one book, and I’m not sure if some of the sub plots were really needed, but that’s only my humble opinion. This book definitely isn’t for the faint hearted or for those readers who aren’t a fan of swearing in books, believe me when I say there’s plenty of it! But in the authors defence it’s very much part of the darker side of life, trafficking refugees, violence and murder, all of which she portrays with gritty realism. I would highly recommend The Taken to readers who love a hard hitting, gritty crime read.
4.5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️out of 5
Print Length: 328 pages
Publisher: Bookouture (5 Oct. 2016)