“Revenge proves its own executioner” - John Ford
As much as everyone would like to distance themselves from this apparent ‘primitive’ notion, everyone enjoys a good revenge tale. Something about it is hard wired into our brains, a psychological impulse that says tit for tat is just and necessary under the right circumstances.
Author Betta Ferrendelli returns with the second book in the Samantha Church Mystery series, titled ‘Revenge is Sweet’. Starting off from where the last book ended, the characters of Samantha Church, her daughter April and her friend and co worker Wilson Cole Jr have to reap the consequences of her actions in the previous outing. After Sam successfully unearths a massive illegal drug operation and helps put the people behind it in bars in Friday Edition, this time around she has to deal with some sinister people who are out for revenge and indulge in kidnapping and torture to make their point. This thriller isn’t just about solving the mystery behind the kidnappings but also showing how the main protagonist deals with her inner demons through this extremely difficult and trying period.
In a space dominated by crime fighting solitary male wolves, Samantha Church is a welcome change and a refreshing distraction. After a slow start that sets up the scenario of the grave situation to the readers, the novel then goes into overdrive and you will find yourself turning the pages anxiously trying to find out what is going to happen to Sam and her daughter April. The pacing has always been one of the biggest strengths of this series and it continues in this book as well. Betta takes care to describe even snowflakes and the wattage of power bulbs as she does with the complex emotions of her characters and yet the pages fly by quickly.
There are a lot of key points that are worth mentioning here. The bad guys she has created for example, Betta’s Juan, the twins and Fuzz face are a bunch of nicely written villainous characters, the evilness especially of Juan is menacing and dark and the accompanying violence is necessary to mark them out as the bad people and make you further empathize with the characters of Sam, Wilson and April. The chemistry between David and Howard provides some airy refreshment when compared to the dark mood in the background, the way they come to Sam’s and Wilson’s rescue at the end is a nicely written pulse raising fight scene. Sam’s letter to April deserves a couple of rereads for its lyrical prose and heart tugging raw emotions portrayed in it.
Revenge is Sweet is a more emotional and intimate story when compared to the previous book. The story is easy to follow, well written, true to life, and spell binding. Even though the characters have many twists and turns in their emotional baggage, they are all well developed. One of the book's main strengths is that even the secondary characters are fully etched out, they are some interesting characters and you become deeply involved with what is happening to them as well. Also praiseworthy is the way she gets inside the head of each of her characters and creates a unique and distinct voice for them.
Next book in the series is Dead Wrong and if Betta Ferrendelli’s previous works are any indication then you can be dead sure that it too will be a winner!