There is a fabulous energy to Kelly L. Marsh’s debut novel, Kill Karma. Yes, it very much reads like a first novel: the plot is a little messy, the mythology could stand a little more explaining in the early portions, and the characters don’t always quite act like the teenagers that they are supposed to be, but all of that can be laid aside because Kill Karma is pretty darn fun.
Pepper Bell is a teenager with a penchant for getting into and out of tight spots, Karma is a goddess Pepper doesn’t know exists yet, and someone out there wants to make a whole heap trouble for Pepper, her hometown, and the world. Along for the ride are a colorful cast of sometimes-trustworthy characters and expect a cliffhanger because you can bet your behind this is the first in a series.
If I started explaining the plot more than that, we’d end up in either spoiler or confusion territory— like I said, there are some story threads that could be a little tighter— so I won’t go further with the specifics. Like I also said, this is a debut novel. This is Marsh’s first novel, and the first in a series. She has plenty of time to practice plotlines in later installments. The important thing is that she’s nailed the tone of her characters and the feel of her world, and that the vim and vigor she brings to this first installment is more than enough to get the ball rolling.
Written with an undeniably infectious energy, Kill Karma is not flawless, but is definitely fun enough to keep a reader hooked from the stakeout that opens the story, to the boat chase that closes it. Kelly Marsh has created a new YA heroine with spunk and a world with style, and this reader can’t wait to see what happens next!