Reavis Z. Wortham,
Vengeance is Mine
(Poisoned Pen Press, 2014)

Vengeance is Mine is the fourth book in this series by Reavis Z. Wortham, and I have not read any of the previous ones. That being said, it seems a clear enough place to start; while at first all the characters can be a mite confusing, they sort out, and enough background is given that one can understand the context without spoiling the previous books.

This is not really a mystery, though. I'm not sure what to call it -- maybe a thriller? -- but with a small and detailed scope rather than the vast scopes that a "thriller" usually involves.

The setting is a small town in Texas in the summer of 1967. The atmosphere is excellent -- things are changing, and people have very mixed minds about it. The specific dates, though seem somewhat arbitrary; while there's some specific references to the period, they are not vital to the plot (although I can see ways they'd contribute to future books in the series).

The characters are reasonably well-drawn, but there are so many, and so many points of view, that it's hard to keep track, and the author does not go into detail with any of them. Even Top -- an early-teen character whose POV is first-person -- comes across as a bit generic.

While the plot is twisty, it depends on a level of coincidence that is at best unlikely in the extreme. Also, there's a high body count; this is not a cozy mystery.

One compensation, though -- the author is the only author who I have read who has a series of murder-mysteries (etc.) set in a small town that addresses the effect that all this violence would have on the townsfolk. I love a few "cozy" series, but they do tend to overlook the impact that a whole series of complicated and elaborate murders would have on a community, especially if it were small and close-knit.

It was definitely a page-turner! However, the levels of coincidence detracted from my satisfaction with it.

book review by
Amanda Fisher

20 December 2014

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