Mystery Thriller Week: Book Review
IN THE SHADOW OF REVENGE
Synopsis: Everybody thought brilliant Cecily would leave dead-end Millers Falls for something better. But a two-decades-old tragedy locks her in place. Few understand the fierce bond that Cecily and Amelia share with Hilary, who was assaulted one summer as the two other girls watched helplessly. It’s a bond of love and guilt…and a desire for vengeance that cuts clear to the bone.
So Assistant DA Cecily Minos waits, eager to see the guy in her courtroom. When Amelia meets a man who has the tattoo the girls remember seeing that day, they think they’ve finally caught a break. But the police refuse to reopen the case, and it’s up to Cecily and Amelia to pursue their suspect.
Their investigation soon uncovers secrets best left buried. But the law is slow, and they’ve waited long enough for revenge…
Feather’s Book Review: Patricia Hale is an excellent author. Her talent for throwing the reader into the scene is tops. Few thriller novels grab me to the degree In the Shadow of Revenge did. I could relate to Cecily’s childhood, needing to escape the threats within her home, growing up with horrific secrets. What saved Cecily as a girl was the blood bond with her two friends, Hilary and Amelia. That bond followed her into adulthood as did the guilt she suffered. When the trio discovered justice was possible, they became unstoppable in spite of overwhelming risk, physically and emotionally.
The suspense grew swiftly right from the first page. The characters were alive, each with their particular brand of personality quirks, charm, heroism and unrelenting demons. My heart was fully engaged in this story, sometimes fearful of the next chapter. And yet, I was drawn to face the terror. The plot, while sometimes extreme, was plausible.
When the police force gave no heed to their belief a rapist had returned for revenge, Cecily exchanged her lawyer hat for a detective’s. She underestimated her adversary, and was not prepared for the truth of who was behind the attack on the three girls.
The only criticism I have, and it’s minor, is that the characters seem to drink a lot of wine. Perhaps that’s part of the culture among lawyers who can’t escape a childhood nightmare.
One of my favorite paragraphs.
My anger at Hilary over her addictions had more to do with my own guilt. The longer she stayed sick, the longer I had to carry the blame. If she’d just get better, I could let some of it go and I knew that day would come, but I was impatient. Hilary exuded pain like a runner exudes sweat. Sooner or later she’d let out the last of it and wake up ready to move on. But for now, every one of her admissions into a psych unit or rehab sends me back in time. People said that Amelia and I were the lucky ones. And they were right, if you call it luck to watch your best friend get raped while you huddle in the corner of a rusted-out rail car, thank God it isn’t you and feeling guilty as hell that it’s not.
One of my favorite scenes.
“What’d you do to your hand?” he asked, nodding toward the red line on the fat of my palm where Hilary, Amelia and I had last run the straight edge for our ritual.
“It’s nothing,” I said.
“Doesn’t look like nothing. Looks sore.”
“We’re blood sisters.”
He nodded and looked back at the road.
I couldn’t tell him that sometimes I ran the straight edge along the thin red line when I was at home too. While my mother was downstairs, her eyes moving left and right over the words inside her Bible, praising God.
Officer Marquette pulled his police car into my driveway and lifted my bike out of the trunk. “There you go,” he’s said and leaned it toward me.
When I took it from him he’d placed his palm on my shoulder and I’d felt the same heat as the night in my kitchen.
“We’ve got a deal, right?” he asked. “No more visits to the rail car.”
His hand had been warm, comforting as a blanket fresh out of the dryer. I’d dropped my bike and ran for the house.
He’d looked at my hand again today. Not everything in childhood gets left behind.