Book Review: REVENGE by Mark Young

Review by Nike Chillemi –

If you want a surprise ending, as in one you really can’t figure out no matter how your try — even if you create charts and graphs — then Mark Young’s debut novel, REVENGE is for you!

Travis Mays, a former northern California police detective now teaching criminology in college, is trying to escape his painful past. The guilt of having sent Michelle Scarborough, a beautiful snitch to her death — the woman he loved.

Five years later when visiting his weekend/summer cabin on the Lochsa River in Idaho he meets up with feisty Jessie White Eagle, a Nez Perce white-water rafting guide whose brother Tommy has gone missing. She pleads and Travis gets roped into helping with the case. And thus, the reader plunges headlong into a story with a multi-faceted plot. One that will keep the pages turning.

Author Mark Young does well with character descriptions. I loved the one of Frank White Eagle, Jessie’s dad and the Nez Perce police chief…”his face seemed weathered by life without too much erosion.” The chief is one of the few Christians in the novel and he represents the faith well.

Tribal deputy, Baptiste, had a chip on his shoulder. Clay Lafata, a FBI special agent with jurisdiction issues, is running what turns into a murder investigation when Thomas White Eagle, Esq.’s body is found. Either one of these two lawmen could be playing both sides of the fence and could’ve passed information to the killer that puts Tommy’s friend on the run.

Travis is unexpectedly called back to Washington State University, where he teaches, because there’s going to be a security audit of the campus and the college higher ups want him to meet with John Ares, the school’s new security consultant. Ares, who moves with the agility of a cat, raises Travis’s hackles.

Just when I thought I had things figured out, another twist is thrown into the mix. Out of the blue, an old northern California police associate and an FBI special agent show up at WSU to warn Travis somebody might be out to kill him. As it turns out Frank Lafata was the FBI supervisor who insisted Michelle Scarborough go back into the criminal cartel to get more information resulting in her murder. Being a former lawman, Mark Young pays special attention to accuracy in presenting police procedure. Something I appreciate in a crime fiction novel.

The novel is primarily one of suspense, but there is a subtheme of romance. I love the way Travis catches himself thinking about Jessie, having to admit she’s disturbing his well-arranged life, pulling him out of hiding, and that most of the time she’s mad at him.

Creasy is one of a wall of aliases the killer uses as he takes out, one-by-one, everyone associated with that painful event in Travis’s past…the case in which the beautiful snitch died. Last on his hit list if Travis Mays. He wants Travis to pay dearly for his past sins.

About Nike Chillemi

Nike Chillemi has been called a crime fictionista due to her passion for crime fiction. She is a member of ACFW and the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers on Ning. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 and a Carol Awards 2011 judge, She is the founding board member of the Grace Awards, a reader's choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction.

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