Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Page turning thrill ride
Cons: A bit somber, which fits the story
The Bottom Line:
Starts this thrilling mystery
I couldn’t put down
Target: First Responders
I immediately spotted the irony when I picked up With a Vengeance. In a time when we are praising first responders, and rightly so, I start reading a book where someone is targeting them. But that was soon a side note as I got lost in the story.
Paramedic Zoe Chambers is shocked to hear that two of her co-workers were ambushed when out on a call. One of them is dead, and the other is in critical condition. The sniper got away without a trace, leaving Zoe and police chief Pete Adams scrambling to understand what is going on. Was it a random attack? Or was someone out to settle a score with these two paramedics? Will the shooter be caught before Zoe goes back on duty?
If you haven’t picked up these books, I don’t recommend you start here. There are lots of references to the earlier books in the series, especially the last book, and events from the climax are spoiled. They’d have to be. So if you want to read that book unspoiled, you definitely need to read the series in order.
I’ve always placed this series firmly in the traditional mystery sub-genre. The plots are a bit more serious than a typical cozy, there is a smattering of foul language, and aftermath of violence since Zoe is also the deputy coroner. However, this book edges into thriller territory. I was hooked as Zoe and Pete raced to figure things out before the next attack took place. I had suspicions as to who the villain was, but we didn’t find out for sure until Zoe and Pete figured it out.
There’s a reason I keep mentioning Zoe and Pete. The book spends near equal time following both of them around as they work to solve the case. These changes in point of view are always easy to follow, and it allows us to get to know both protagonists well. I love this technique when it is done well, and it is used perfectly here. In fact, as we reach the climax, it really ramps up the tension.
Because Zoe and Pete know the victims in this book, it has a somber tone. This is not light reading, but it is excellent reading.
Part of that are the characters. We don’t see all of the supporting players this time, but those we do see are excellent at rounding out Zoe and Pete’s world. I love this cast of characters, which also helped make me care that much more about the outcome.
The pages were flying the further I got into With a Vengeance. Fans of the series will definitely be glad they picked it up.
Need those earlier books? Here’s the Zoe Chambers series in order.