Review: Barbed Wire Heart by Tess Sharpe @sharpegirl @GrandCentralPub


Release: 2018
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Mystery & Thriller

Never cut the drugs-leave them pure.
Guns are meant to be shot-keep them loaded.
Family is everything-betray them and die.

Harley McKenna is the only child of North County’s biggest criminal. Duke McKenna’s run more guns, cooked more meth, and killed more men than anyone around. Harley’s been working for him since she was sixteen-collecting debts, sweet-talking her way out of trouble, and dreading the day he’d deem her ready to rule the rural drug empire he’s built.

Her time’s run out. The Springfields, her family’s biggest rivals, are moving in. Years ago, they were responsible for her mother’s death, and now they’re coming for Duke’s only weak spot: his daughter.

With a bloody turf war threatening to consume North County, Harley is forced to confront the truth: that her father’s violent world will destroy her. Duke’s raised her to be deadly-he never counted on her being disloyal. But if Harley wants to survive and protect the people she loves, she’s got to take out Duke’s operation and the Springfields.

Blowing up meth labs is dangerous business, and getting caught will be the end of her, but Harley has one advantage: She is her father’s daughter. And McKennas always win.

From a powerful new voice in suspense fiction comes the unforgettable story of a young woman facing the most difficult choice of her life: family or freedom.


How is it possible that I haven’t seen more reviews for this book? I feel so stupid that I waited so long to read Barbed Wire Heart, because I’ve had it for months but somehow I always ended up reading other novels. A couple of days ago I decided I was in the mood for something gritty and decided to start it… Around 40% I had already decided that this was one of my favorite books of the year. When I finished it, I knew I would never forget it.

I knew why I had requested. I read a blurb like this, and I’m instantly sold. But I honestly didn’t expect to love it this much. You know how father-daughter books seem to be so popular right now. And I love those premises. I’ve read so many: The Twelve Lives of Samuel HawleyMy Absolute DarlingThe Marsh King’s DaughterA Lesson In Violence… And I’ve loved some of them (ahem, the last two), but this one was so unique and addictive that I believe it should become much more popular than it is! Oh, and if you’ve seen Winter’s Bone, I think this was a bit similar, too.

This might not be for everyone because it’s such a dark and violent book. It’s not creepy, like some psychological thrillers are, Barbed Wire Heart is dark because the world the characters live in, North County, is dark. And Harley McKenna is such a badass character that I could’ve read an entire series about her. I don’t even know which genre this book falls into… Is it action? Contemporary? I think the author labels it as a feminist thriller so let’s call it that.

There are so many things I loved about this novel! First of all, the writing. Tess Sharpe’s writing is straight-forward and emotional at the same time. There were so many sentences that I wanted to write down! Also, the plot is full of action and the author even throws in some surprises along the way. The book structure was fantastic. The main story in the present is told chronologically, but there are some flashback chapters that help you understand why Harley became the woman she is now and believe me, some of the things she has experienced are not pretty. At all. Plus, at first, you might think you don’t know exactly what is going on, but don’t worry, everything will make sense at the end.

I hope I’ve convinced you to read this gem. If not, I’ll send Harley McKenna to do it for me 😉

Many thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review


19 thoughts on “Review: Barbed Wire Heart by Tess Sharpe @sharpegirl @GrandCentralPub

  1. Diana says:

    I have never heard of feminist thriller before. I would normally shy away from this kind of book, just because of the action/violence which comes with drug-related kind of story-lines. However, the fact that you loved this one so much has me considering it. Great review Annie.


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