4 May 2011

Review: VENGEANCE ROAD, Rick Mofina

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 316 KB
  • Print Length: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Mira (September 1, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002HJ1XLW
  • Source: I bought it.

Blurb from author's website:
The International Thriller Writers (ITW) named Vengeance Road a finalist for a 2010 THRILLER AWARD in the category of Best Paperback Original and The Private Eye Writers of America named it a finalist for a 2010 SHAMUS Award for Best Paperback Original.
The murder of a broken-hearted woman and and the chilling disappearance of her friend raise questions about their ties to a respected detective and lead to one journalist’s obsession to find the truth!
The body of Bernice Hogan, a troubled young ex-nursing student with a tragic past, is found in a shallow grave near a forest creek.
Jolene Peller, a single mom struggling to build a new life with her little boy, vanishes the night she tried to find Bernice. Hero cop, Karl Styebeck is beloved by his community but privately police are uneasy with the answers he gives to protect the life — and the lie — he’s lived.
The case haunts Jack Gannon a gritty, blue-collar reporter whose sister run away from their family years ago. Gannon risks more than his job to pursue the story behind Styebeck's dark secret, his link to the women, and the mysterious big rig roaming America's loneliest highways on its descent into eternal darkness.

My take:
This is actually #1 in Rick Mofina's Jack Gannon series. I have already reviewed #2 THE PANIC ZONE.
Jack Gannon, a reporter on the Buffalo Sentinel feels he has reached a sort of impasse in his life, and is living in a rut that he must break free from.
    Wheeling out, with Springsteen in his head, Gannon questioned where he was going with his life. He was thirty-four, single and had spent the last ten years at the Buffalo Sentinel. He looked out at the city, his city. And there was no escaping it. Ever since he was a kid, all he wanted to be was a reporter, a reporter in New York City. And it almost happened a while back after he broke a huge story behind a jetliner’s crash into Lake Erie. It earned him a Pulitzer nomination and job offers in Manhattan. But he didn’t win the prize and the offers evaporated.
There's something about Rick Mofina's style that draws the reader in. It is deceptively simple, and gives Mofina the ability to build tension. By the last 20% of the book (in Kindle terms) you are positively racing to get to the end.

I found my stance on the "guilty or not?" status of the decorated detective who is the focus of Gannon's investigation constantly shifting, as Gannon revealed more. As in THE PANIC ZONE there is the feeling of a race against time, that is, if Gannon doesn't get a move on, more lives will be lost. When Gannon refuses to reveal his sources for his initial disclosure for the Buffalo Sentinel he loses his job at the paper, and continues as an independent whom everybody treats as a pariah. But he doggedly continues his investigation, just ahead of the pack, and in the long run, putting his own life on the line.

At the very end the author comments in crafting this story, I have taken great fictional liberties with geography, police jurisdiction, procedure and other aspects. Earlier he talks about how parts of the story are loosely based on an old story that occurred nearly half a century before.

VENGEANCE ROAD is certainly worth a read, and I'm looking forward to reading #3, In Desperation, sometime. I have a review copy on my Kindle.

My rating: 4.5

Rick Mofina's website where you can read excerpts and find out more about the author.

I am counting VENGEANCE ROAD in the e-book challenge and the Canadian Book Challenge

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