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Hailey's War [Paperback]

Jodi Compton
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

9 Dec 2010
Twenty-four-year-old Hailey Cain has dropped out of the US Military Academy for reasons she won't reveal. She has had to leave Los Angeles and it would be too big a risk for her to return. Now working as a bike messenger in San Francisco, Hailey keeps a low profile, until her high school best friend Serena Delgadillo makes a call that will turn her whole life upside-down. Serena is the head of an all-female gang on the rough streets of LA. She wants Hailey to escort the cousin of a recently murdered gang member across the border to Mexico. It's a mission that will nearly cost Hailey her life, causing her to choose more than once between loyalty and lawlessness, and forcing her to confront two very big secrets in her past...

Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (9 Dec 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847393764
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847393760
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 12.5 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,529,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jodi Compton is an almost-lifelong Californian educated at the University of California at Berkeley; she worked as a copy editor (sub-editor) before publishing her first novel. She wrote two crime novels about Minnesotan missing-persons detective Sarah Pribek before debuting new series character Hailey Cain, a former West Point cadet turned bike messenger. She currently lives in Northern California.

Product Description


'Compton has a definite gift for portraying flawed, multidimensional characters, and Hailey may be her most compelling creation so far' --Booklist 'A "Kill Bill-style revenge thriller' --Publishers Weekly 'Compton has come up with a first-rate thriller' --I Love A Mystery 'Hailey's War is an unusual and gripping thriller with a unique heroine - don't miss it!' --Bookloons.com 'Inscrutable heroines are in vogue, thanks to a wonderful little fictional phenom named Lisbeth Salander. Something tells me that if Hailey Cain, the 23-year-old protagonist of Compton's new novel "Hailey's War" and Salander ever met, they'd circle around, size each other up and accept some grudging mutual respect that might, with a lot of time, develop into mutual loyalty. Woe to those who think Hailey is some knockoff; as Compton makes clear very early on, she is a creature very much of her own making, singing a metaphorical tune few, if any, can hear... 'Compton demonstrates deep understanding of all her characters...Her vision of California, North and South, isn't the stylized flash seen on reality television (thank God), but something rich and more subtle...where people do terrible things for reasons they don't always know... "Hailey's War" serves as a metaphor for dreams so close to realization but for a fault line or two. Weaker hearts would flinch, then crack. But Hailey, instead, summons her inner soldier, the one that tells her, no matter what perilous situation she's in, to paraphrase Bob Marley, she has to get up, stand up, stand up for her life -- a better and truer test of heroism' --Los Angeles Times

About the Author

Jodi Compton lives and writes in California. She is currently working on her third Hailey Cain novel.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable, fast-moving action story 25 Feb 2013
I bought this reduced in a local supermarket, and was pleasantly surprised.

The protagonist, Hailey Cain, is a 23 year old bike messenger in San Francisco. Her life's not terrible, but it's not going anywhere either. She has a number of secrets that are hinted at from the very first page, and slowly revealed throughout the book.

The story, which revolves around Hailey's (initially reluctant) involvement in the story of a young Mexican girl chased by gangs, moved along at quite a clip. There were enough twists and turns to the plot that I couldn't see from the outset what the ending would be.

There was somewhat of a deus ex machina resolution to the 'nothing can save her now' chapter, but it fit well within the rest of the story. I liked the way that, although in the beginning some of Hailey's backstory seems extraneous, everything you're told throughout the book has a purpose as the story unfolds.

The voice, which is first person, reads well. Hailey is an engaging and likeable character, and I feel pulls you along with her story as she goes.

All in all, I will look out for other stories by this author, and not just when they're reduced either!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable! 3 Jun 2014
By AshtonT
Having a small child, reading is something of a guilty pleasure that i dont get to do enough of but i picked this up and really enjoyed it to the point where i couldnt put it down!

Great storyline and interesting thriller.. enjoyed the writing style and felt engaged with the characters, plenty of twists and turns.. In fact, I read it in a couple of nights which is a first for me usually i dont get to the end of a book! Will definately have a look for other titles by this author!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Okay but contrived thriller 2 Jan 2013
By I Read, Therefore I Blog VINE VOICE
23-year-old Hailey Cain's been on a downward spiral since dropping out of West Point in her final year. After holing up with her cousin CJ (a successful music producer) in LA, a tragic accident forces her to move to San Francisco where she's working as a bike messenger when she gets a phone call from an old school friend, Serena (now head of a gang of Latina gangsters) asking for a favour. Serena wants her to accompany a young teenage girl called Nidia whose gangbanger boyfriend's just died over the border to a remote Mexican village.

Hailey agrees but as soon as they're over the border, they're ambushed by a group of men who take Nidia. Hailey's left for dead but against all the odds, Hailey survives and instead of walking away, decides to find out what happened to Nidia, even though the men who attacked her won't hesitate to finish the job if offered a second chance ...

Jodi Compton's thriller, the first in a series, is a tightly written novel with a brave and resourceful heroine but the plot relies heavily on contrivance to keep the story moving, which I rapidly found irritating.

Hailey's got a good first person voice and Compton does well at smoothly bringing in her family history and why West Point was so important to her. I liked her fondness for Latin and believed in the way she tried to lose herself after dropping out. However it soon becomes clear that every personal detail she's raising will become important later on, which robbed the plot of much of its tension. Hailey makes a point of not mentioning why she left West Point and although this is supposed to make the reader curious, I found that I was able to guess and I felt that when it was revealed, it was shoe-horned in too clumsily.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The good times. The one's you know are never really coming." 15 Jun 2010
By Luan Gaines - Published on Amazon.com
At twenty-four, Hailey Cain is world-weary, a West Point dropout with something to prove and a secret that is not revealed until the final pages of a thriller that takes her from LA to San Francisco to Chihuahua, Mexico, and Truckee in the High Sierras in a violent contretemps with LA mobsters and gang bangers, flying beneath the radar of law enforcement. A top-earning bike messenger in San Francisco, Hailey agrees to escort a young Latina girl to a remote village in Mexico as a favor to a woman she values as a sister, Serena "Warchild" Delgadillo. Unfortunately, Cain's life has already been compromised by a singular piece of bad luck that has sent her scurrying from LA to San Francisco to avoid retaliation. The favor for Serena involves a return to LA and an inevitable confrontation with an old nemesis.

What should be an easy job ends with Cain shot and left for dead, her passenger, Nidia, now in the hands of a mobster. Nidia is pregnant with the mobster's grandchild, the last of his line since the death of his son. While Serena craves revenge, Hailey operates out of a sense of justice and the thwarted dreams of graduation from West Point. Hailey has only two close friends, Serena and her cousin CJ, both of whom are pivotal to the plot and Hailey's ability to carry out her "mission"- rescuing Nidia- without attracting the attention of authorities. What is most intriguing about this thriller- and sometimes the cause of Compton's overreaching- is Hailey's friendship with Serena and, by extension, a partnership with an LA gang in an elaborate plan to protect Nidia once she has been rescued from her captors.

In a strange mix of characters, mobsters (from two different levels of criminals) and gang-bangers with an ethic all their own, most curious is Hailey herself and the secret she successfully hides from everyone who knows her, increasingly fearless in the face of diminishing odds, confronting her adversaries head on, shot down in Mexico and tortured in LA. Somehow Compton makes it all work, with a few wild stretches of imagination, a personal war carried out by a woman meant for West Point, her homegirl at her back, cold-eyed killers fighting over a helpless girl, a recipe for violence with a brilliant resolution. Luan Gaines/2010.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Insightful Mystery 12 July 2010
By wbentrim - Published on Amazon.com
Hailey's War by Jodi Compton

Hailey is a bike courier with a secret. She left West Point under unknown circumstances but what she learned there, keeps her alive through some harrowing circumstances. She truly believes in honor, respect and loyalty.

Hailey is an enigma in this story to both her friends and her enemies. She has a secret that she refuses to share. The author did a great job in maintaining mystery regarding that secret until the final conclusion.

There is artful misdirection in much of the book. Ms. Compton does a great job keeping you guessing. I admired Hailey's tenacity and her willingness to face daunting odds.

The book holds your attention and educates you in regards to intercity gang behavior.

I recommend the book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "It's always retaliation." 5 Sep 2010
By E. Bukowsky - Published on Amazon.com
Hailey Cain is a twenty-three year old woman who left West Point just two months before graduation. Her life has not been easy. She has a port-wine birthmark on her face, her father died when she was eleven, her mother is narcissistic and unloving, and Hailey was involved in a tragic accident that left her guilt-ridden. The only relative who cares about her is her cousin, CJ, who lives in Los Angeles. Hailey is a top-earning bike messenger in San Francisco, which involves zooming around the city with a certain amount of disregard for one's safety. In "Hailey's War," by Jodi Compton, this troubled individual takes on a dangerous fight that could prove fatal.

At the behest of Serena Delgadillo, a friend from elementary school, Hailey accompanies a nineteen-year-old girl named Nidia Hernandez to the mountains of inland Mexico, ostensibly to visit her sick grandmother. The mission ends badly, and Hailey recklessly teams up with Serena and her fellow gang members to set things right.

As a first-person narrator, Hailey is a smart, spunky, and entertaining raconteur. She knows her own strengths, but is also funny and self-deprecating. To enjoy this book, one must have a great deal of tolerance for gang-slang, since Serena and her male and female compatriots speak a particular lingo that is indigenous to those living "la vida loca" in Los Angeles. Although the adventure on which Hailey embarks is action-packed and engrossing, the characters are thinly drawn and, as the story progresses, the plot becomes increasingly implausible and melodramatic. In addition, the author introduces too many unconvincing developments that enable her to wrap matters up neatly. Compton is a talented writer who knows how to hold her readers' attention, but "Hailey's War" is far from her best work.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Solid Read by a Talented Author 3 July 2010
By Melissa - Published on Amazon.com
"Hailey's War" by Jodi Compton was a surprising book to me. It is the story of Hailey Cain, a West Point washout seems to have something to prove. She has family in the music business and friends in LA gangs, and finds herself protecting a pregnant Mexican teenager. She is smart and savvy, but tends to find herself in tight spots frequently.

This book was one that I couldn't put down. It was a wonderful story told by a great storyteller. The characters have a certain depth that I don't find in many books. I really connected with all the characters, and was ultimately rooting for the home team by the end of the story.

It is a book that has plenty of twists in it, but I wouldn't qualify it as a thriller. That didn't make it any less of a good read in my eyes. I would certainly give this book a try!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Terrific introduction to a fascinating character 14 Feb 2011
By Ellen C. Lamb - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Fans of Barbara Seranella's Munch Mancini will want to meet Hailey Cain, a 24-year-old woman who operates according to her own moral code and seems to feel no fear. Hailey's loyalty to her only female friend, the gang leader Serena, leads her to agree to an errand she doesn't completely understand: deliver a 19-year-old girl to her ailing grandmother in the mountains of Mexico. Things don't go as planned, because nothing about the situation is as it seems. Hailey, fighting for her own life, becomes determined to rescue the girl as well. What follows is one of the fastest, most compelling thrillers I've read in recent years.
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