Pawn by T.M. Frazier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” – Albert Einstein
This was a particularly timely story that T.M. Knight had started in the first book (Pike). The beginning of the story was published in March 2020, a few months before George Floyd was killed by police, spiking the racial tensions in the US to new heights. This story is about a white supremacist hate group, so you can probably imagine how difficult it was for Ms. Knight to finish this book.
Background from Pike (The Pawn Duet, book 1):
The Hero is named Pike, he is best friends with Nine who is the brother to Preppy (Samual Clearwater), so he has spent time with King, Preppy, Bear and the gang. Pike was targeted during a drug deal that he had going with King and the drugs were stolen. The group that targeted him tried to make it look like Pike was behind it so that King would no longer trust him. When that didn’t work, they broke into Pike’s Pawn shop.
Pike was able to catch one of the people that broke in and it turned out her name was Mickey and he had met her years before on the day that her family was murdered. That day, she was caught by the guy she was running from and has been with the group ever since. She was able to hide the fact that she blamed the leader of the white supremacist group, Darius for the murder of her family and she has been wanting revenge ever since.
During her time with Pike, she grew to have feelings for him and she knew that he also was trying to get revenge on the group for the thefts of the drugs and his money. However, Mickey decides to protect Pike by going back to the group and going after revenge on her own.
The back story behind why Mickey was in with the group is odd and a bit complicated, since it has to do with her father and she doesn’t really know his motives. However, her father told the family that they traveled to Florida every summer to rent a house on the beach and spend time with this group of skinheads and neo-Natzi’s in order to study them and find out the origins of hate and loyalty. Mickey herself was a child prodigy and graduated college with a doctorate at a young age and was helping her father with the study.
Information from this book (Pawn):
Mickey finds out that her father may not have just been studying the group, but was in fact the co-founder of the group with Darius. She originally thought that Darius killed her father (and entire family) because he found out that her father was studying them and was planning to publish his insights. Though the new information belies that theory. If her father was a founder, so she doesn’t know why her family was murdered.
Darius has plans for Mickey, which include marriage to his son Percy, who just got out of prison. Percy has learned to hate at the hands of his father for his entire life and is entrenched in the group an slated to be the next leader. There is a lot of danger in Mic continuing to be with the group especially after she finds her sister in a cage looking near death. She thought her sister had died with their family.
The overall theme of the book is great, though in my opinion a bit simplistic (Hate/Love). But I did really enjoy the story quite a bit. The story took precedence over the romance which is opposite of the first book. Though the romance was still there between Pike and Mickey and it is quite steamy when they are together. Of course the book also has some hilarious scenes with our favorite characters (Preppy, Nine and King).
Preppy clears his throat. “Nine’s right. You guys shouldn’t have let her go. That was never one of the options. Marry or kill. That was it. Did you even read The Kidnappers Commandments? I spent a lot of time on that, you know, and not just writing it. I had to break into The Copy Store to print that thing, and that wasn’t exactly easy when the Trekkie who runs the printing press holds his Dungeons and Dragons meetings there at night. I was a fucking elf on a quest for six fucking weeks until I was able to sneak away and get it printed.” He sighs and looks to the ceiling with regret in his eyes. “I never even got a chance to find the diary of Princess Elfington and release its powers back into the world, restoring the basic rights and magical powers to all of the little elven boys and girls throughout The Kingdom of CopyStoreland.”
Preppy is my favorite character ever. I could read book after book about him! On another note, I liked the fact that Mickey is studying the hate group and trying to come up with conclusions about what drives them. I mean we all know that hate is a product of ignorance, and that in these types of groups, the children are raised in this culture of hate and not given true facts about the reasoning for hating or about of people they hate.
However, saying hate is due to ignorance is not the full truth and this book touches on that also. There are people in hate groups that are intelligent and that have all the knowledge about the groups they hate. They know people are people and one race or group of people is not inherently better than any other. So this book does show how hate is a choice and not only a product of ignorance. Hate groups target the disenfranchised and give them a home, a place to belong and people to call their own. They know what they are doing and how to get others into the fold.
I don’t want to say more about what actually happens in the story with our characters, but I liked that this book was timely and it did hold my interest. I don’t think it was perfect, but it was a good ending to the story of Pike and Mickey.