codenamevoid In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that I am friends with Connie Hansen, the author of “Code Name: VOID.” I’ve known her since high school, and she’s one of the funniest and smartest people I know. She also makes fantastic cookies.

Connie did not ask me to review her novel, nor does she know that I’m writing this. This piece exists purely because someone I know wrote a book that I could not put down, and of course now I want everyone else to know about it.

The story is about an overlooked girl from the Midwest named Cassie McKinnon who becomes a very successful assassin, but when someone begins a smear campaign to ruin her reputation, she travels the globe to uncover the culprit, and inadvertently gets caught up in a much larger, nastier game than she has played to date. Worse, the members of her family become pawns as a means to persuade Cassie to do her foe’s bidding. You’ve likely read that book before, but here is the twist: Cassie is, for all intents and purposes, invisible (overlooked, indeed). She can be standing in the room with a target, and they won’t see her. Time has shown Cassie that her family members are the only ones who can see her. She soon finds out, though, that that is not the case, and that turns out to be both a very good thing and a very bad thing.

Connie is an admitted fan of Jim Butcher and his Harry Dresden series of novels, and you can see some similarities between his protagonist and hers, namely the way that their inherent nature renders even the most basic interactions difficult to impossible. Here’s the thing, though: I’ve read a few of Butcher’s books, and none of them had me chomping at the bit like Connie’s book did. (Also, Dresden’s books were poorly copy edited. Connie’s book has some mistakes too, but not as many, and she didn’t have a multimillion-dollar publishing army backing her up.) She’s also not afraid to get her hands dirty: bad things happen in her book, and it’s better because of it. The final few pages, in particular, are haymakers.

There are clearly the makings of a series here, and I, for one, would like to see the next installment, not because “Code Name VOID” was written by a friend of mine, but because it’s a wildly entertaining debut novel with tremendous potential for growth and success. And did I mention that she’s selling the book for a mere $2.99? The book costs less than a coffee at Starbucks, and it will deliver the same rush over a longer period of time. Get to know Connie Hansen, and Void. You’ll be glad you did.

Click to buy Code Name VOID from Amazon