Stephen Hunter has written several good female characters in this novel, in answer to previous critiques about his lack of them. Lavelva Oates is as brave as they come and it's terrific that she learned strategy from action video games. Nikki Swagger is outstanding; observant, quick-thinking and funny. Molly Chan will be a good match for Ray Cruz - bright, resourceful and cool in a crisis. The best one of all is Molly's hmong mother who has lived through so much brutality that nothing surprises or scares her anymore. I got several good laughs out of this story, such as, "what kind of a McGyver stunt is this ?" and "what kind of ancestors do you have to answer to ? Are they from China ?" "No, worse, from Arkansas."