REVENGE by Bill Ward
Set in London, "Revenge" is an extremely well written and highly engrossing thriller. It is always a pleasure, in this brave new world of independent publishing, to read something with a minimum of typos and other errors. I know, it used to be something we all took for granted in published works, but these days competent writing and proofing has become rare enough to warrant a mention. Clearly, Mr. Ward is a good writer who cares about his craft.
I especially enjoyed the opening incident of the novel and found myself quickly swept into the world of Londoner Tom Ashdown, a down-on-his-luck betting shop owner, as his otherwise discouraging future prospects suddenly take a turn into what could be the best or worst moment of his life. The overlapped turfs of London police and British anti-terror forces as they face off against the often conflicted and always emotionally charged collections of IRA, Real IRA and other terror operatives was great fun and kept things moving along at a good clip. I also enjoyed the guilty pleasure of the unexpected romance between a normally untouchable movie star and our “regular guy” main character.
I felt the book lived up to its title and I enjoyed the twists and turns of the plot as each character made fateful decisions based upon some aspect of revenge. Although not exactly a page turner, I will admit that the book certainly did slip by quickly and pleasantly during my plane flight.
I had a few quibbles about the ease with which Melanie Adams, our glamorous movie star, either had or didn’t have bodyguards. Clearly, after the initial attack, she would increase her bodyguard count – and she does. However, after that, the bodyguards were dispensed with, seemingly, whenever their presence would be inconvenient for the plot. This was painfully evident in the hospital scenes toward the end of the book. A minor quibble, I admit, but bothersome nevertheless, and something that could have been easily handled in the text.
Of more concern to me were the unexpectedly graphic sex descriptions. While not a prude, I just felt, in a few instances, that the scenes were a bit more than I had bargained for.
"Revenge" is a delightful trip into London with an author who knows his way around. The local flavor and dialogue were well done and crisp. I do feel, though, that there was a an anti-Irish mood to the novel overall. There didn’t seem to be room for a single Irish character, whether IRA related or not, who had any ounce of morality or true human feeling. They all simply hated the Brits, killed innocents or each other without any second thoughts, and, seemingly, had little purpose to their lives other than mayhem, pleasure and vengeance. Their leaders used any means to advance their “cause” including casual executions of friends and enemies alike, along with trapping politicians into pedophilia using their own Irish girls. I think a more balanced set of characters (or at least a few that are morally conflicted) would open up the heart of the novel to even more intensity and allow it to reach a little deeper as well.
Here's the Amazon book link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00F0SLWEA