When a different kind of justice is needed—swift, effective, and personal—a new type of avenger must take action. In Vengeance, best-selling author Lee Child, "a superb craftsman of suspense" (Entertainment Weekly), presents 21 riveting stories from some of today's top crime writers.
In our dangerous world, offenders cannot always be brought down by the justice system. They must be stopped by someone outside the law. Some call them vigilantes; others claim they are just another brand of criminal. In Dennis Lehane's "The Consumers", a suburban woman hires a hit man to target her husband, who has committed a terrible crime. In Karin Slaughter's "The Unremarkable Heart", a dying woman learns the truth about a dark family secret. In Michael Connelly's "A Fine Mist of Blood", LAPD Detective Harry Bosch discovers a witness who will lead him to the doorstep of a hardened killer. And in Lee Child's "The Hollywood I Remember", an assassin gets his long overdue comeuppance.
Edited and with an introduction by Lee Child, these stories reveal the shocking consequences when men and women take the law into their own hands.
©2012 Mystery Writers of America (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Most of the rest were just ok. 21 short stories with themes of revenge or vengeance. I hesitate to read short stories. More often than not something doesn’t get developed enough - characters, motivations, plot. Some of my harsh ratings below are because of this. Those same authors would probably get a higher rating from me for their full length novels. But, it can be done. Two of the short stories were excellent - by Michael Connelly and Darrell James. The stories below are in the same order as in the book.
3 stars. THE 14th JUROR by Twist Phelan.
Two police detectives talk to a judge. The ending was too abrupt. I wanted to see specifically what would happen to the recipient of the revenge.
1 star. LOST AND FOUND by Zoe Sharp.
This was a weird combination of second and third person point of views. “You” are being attacked. “He” is doing the attacking. Throughout the story the author switches back and forth between what “You” are thinking and feeling and what “He” is thinking and doing. I was frustrated and confused. This was too subtle for me. I didn’t like the ending. I wanted to know what was going to happen to “He.”
2 stars. THE MOTHER by Alafair Burke.
The main story was pretty good - 3 stars. But the ending was unfinished - 1 star. It left me hanging. A bad guy was discovered, and I have no idea what will happen with him. One storyline is who will have custody of a two-year-old girl who had been raped.
1 star. BLIND JUSTICE by Jim Fusilli.
Angie and Turnip are two guys who interact with organized crime types. Relationships could not be fully shown because there were too many characters. Motivations and actions were vague. I didn’t know who did what or why. I didn’t know what the bad guy did that caused a need for revenge. The revenge was referred to, not shown. At the end one guy asks “Dead or alive?” The other guy says “What do you think?” This ending was too vague.
3 ½ stars. THE CONSUMERS by Dennis Lehane.
A broker sells bad investments causing people to lose money. He also beats his wife. The story was good until the end. A character got revenge, but I wasn’t clear about his motives. I wanted to understand him better.
3 stars. MOONSHINER’S LAMENT by Rick McMahan.
Too much was too vague. I didn’t see motives for Goat’s actions after he left the men in the woods. Then I vaguely knew what happened to the men in the woods. I needed to know more about the bad guy’s motivations and actions.
2 stars. RIVER SECRET by Anne Swardson.
A street musician sees a little girl with her mother. Too much subtlety. Not obvious enough.
3 stars. HOT SUGAR BLUES by Steve Liskow.
A lot of time was spent with things the bad guy musician did which was depressing. His victims were wimps because they were powerless or they didn’t choose their actions well. Someone gets revenge which was ok, but the overall story was depressing.
3 ½ stars. THE FINAL BALLAD by Brendan DuBois.
Good story. It’s about what happens after Beth’s daughter was beaten by the son of a senator.
2 stars. AFRICA ALWAYS NEEDS GUNS by Michael Niemann.
So, so. I couldn’t get into the characters. An investigator needs to examine cargo. The pilot won’t let him.
2 stars. THE UNREMARKABLE HEART by Karin Slaughter.
This didn’t feel like revenge or vengeance. The main character is dying and her main crime was trusting someone she shouldn’t have and saying some mean things to others. As a story it’s ok but it’s depressing about someone dying. There is a shocking surprise at the end.
2 stars. IT AIN’T RIGHT by Michelle Gagnon.
Too subtle. Don’t know what happened. Joe and his wife may have done something bad. I didn’t see any revenge or vengeance in this story. It’s possible my mind wandered and I missed it?
3 stars. SILENT JUSTICE by C.E. Lawrence.
A killer confesses to a priest. Ok story.
4 stars. EVEN A BLIND MAN by Darrell James.
Young girl is in trouble. Her grandfather travels across the country by bus to find her and help her. He pretends to be blind, but he is not. This was very good.
2 stars. THE GENERAL by Janice Law Trecker.
Not a pleasant story. Not enjoyable. The General did evil things when he was in power which are recalled. The ending has some revenge, but it was more sad than good.
4 ½ to 5 stars. A FINE MIST OF BLOOD by Michael Connelly.
Yay! I love Harry Bosch! This is another installment in that series. It was my favorite story in this book. Detective Bosch is investigating a murder. At first I was drawn in because I thought “how in the world is he going to catch this person?” Later there was suspense, and I was worried about Bosch. Then my favorite part was the person who got revenge - that was a surprise. I didn’t expect it. And, we had a complete ending. So to Michael Connelly, thank you, you write so well!
3 stars. LEVERAGE by Mike Cooper.
The subject matter was depressing. Much of the story is about employees of a company being terminated and losing their pensions. One of the employees wants to do something about it. It was ok, but I didn’t feel much. At least the ending was complete.
3 stars. THE HOTLINE by Dreda Say Mitchell.
Ruckshana wears a Muslim head scarf when working at the bank. Her boss lies to her and is behind her firing. It’s an ok story.
3 stars. BLOOD AND SUNSHINE by Adam Meyer.
It was ok but odd. I was frustrated that the author didn’t say what happened to the baby. I’m still troubled by that. Eddie is a college student working at a day care center/camp for kids during the summer. Dillon is a five-year-old who is sneaky and evil. This is a dark story. The good guy gets revenge but did something evil to get it. It left me with an unsettled feeling.
3 stars. IN PERSONA CHRISTY by Orest Stelmach.
Maria and her son Manuel flee Mexico and live with a priest in a Connecticut parish. Her husband was killed by bad guys. Several years earlier Father Nathan lost his right arm and right leg and wears prosthetics. The ending was pretty good about someone saving the day and getting some revenge.
3 stars. THE HOLLYWOOD I REMEMBER by Lee Child.
The main character is a killer for hire. He kills prostitutes who threaten to talk/blackmail their clients. Someone wants revenge and to see him in jail. The revenge he gets is unexpected. This was ok at best.
Genre: mystery suspense.
Say something about yourself!
Most of these stories were good,but there were a few stories that I didn't care for. It's a good thing to listen on audio, as you can listen in short bursts and get the complete story. Some of the endings were vague, rushed or forced. I really enjoyed the following stories: Hot Sugar Blues (by Steve Liskow), The Final Ballad (by Brendan DuBois), The 14th Juror (by Twist Phelan), The Consumers (by Dennis Lehane), The Unremarkable Heart (by Karin Slaughter), A Fine Mist of Blood (by Michael Connelly), and The Hollywood I Remember (by Lee Child).
My main complaint is that the audio chapters did not equate to one story. I wish they had been broken down so it was one story per chapter, so I knew how long each one was in advance. Also, I did not like that when it was broken out into two separate files, the separation was made in the middle of a story. There was no reason the story could not have finished and provided a natural break between the two parts.
Any short story collection is bound to have its ups and downs, and that's very much the case here. Some of the stories are utterly compelling and well worth the price of the listen--others fell flat and left me wondering what they had to do with the theme, or how they possibly got selected.
One that particularly stood out for me as being excellent was "The Last Ballot,"
Overall, I would say this was worth it, and while I'm not usually interested in introductions, I have to say I enjoyed Lee Child's description of how he selected the authors he was able to invite, as well as the selection process for the remaining 10.
The narrators do a great job with the material and I'd listen to them read other things as well. Overall, this was worthwhile.
I probably wouldn't. The stories are well-written but I find that the short story style is not well fitted for audio.
"it's all in the voice"
I never write reviews, EVER. However, I have felt compelled to comment on this collection. Many of the shorts are good and a few are very good. Yet, at times I have found myself laughing out loud to the accents the narrators put on. Their normal American voices are great and easy to listen to, it's just when they apply an accent. For example, one short is based in England. The writer actually uses the words "slap and tickle" (which in itself made me cry laughing) and the accent that this was accompanied with made it sound like something from a really poor Aussie soap. There are many other instances of this happening. So actually I think my advice would be if you get this book, you might enjoy it, but not for the reasons you think!
A good selection of short stories with interesting twists and unexpected endings. I really enjoyed it.
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