The environs of Tomahawk, Wisconsin, provide the setting for
ENVY THE NIGHT, Michael Koryta’s first stand-alone novel.
There are diametrically opposing forces converging on this quiet,
almost idyllic town. The main spark is Frank Temple III, whose
father and namesake was a respected U.S. Marshal who died in
disgrace after it was revealed that he had been simultaneously
working as a contract killer. The identity of the informant who
uncovered this double life is Devin Matteson, a career criminal and
friend of Temple’s father who lured him into the killing
game. They served together in a military special unit with a third
man, Ezra Ballard, and the three of them bought property in the
Tomahawk area. Only Ballard has remained there, working as a
hunting and fishing guide and acting as a caretaker for the
property owned by Temple and Matteson.
When Ballard receives a cryptic call preparing Matteson’s
cabin for visitors, however, he fulfills a promise and notifies
Temple, who has been absent from the area for several years. In his
mid-20s, Temple possesses an inner strength and combat skill level
far beyond his years, having been trained by his father at a young
age. He is also very much interested in revenge; previously content
to leave Matteson alone as long as he remained secluded in Florida,
Temple puts his life on hold and immediately journeys to Tomahawk,
where he hopes to obtain closure. But what he encounters is not
what he expects.
Rather than finding Matteson, Temple collides --- literally ---
with a nervous, enigmatic gentleman whose primary characteristics
are a penchant for paying in cash, always being in a hurry and,
interestingly enough, carrying a concealed firearm. Perhaps the
most interesting thing about him, though, is that he is occupying
Matteson’s cabin, with Matteson’s beautiful wife.
Meanwhile, two brooding strangers with a capacity for detached and
sudden violence have appeared in Tomahawk, seeking the anxious
man’s whereabouts --- and Matteson is not far behind.
Temple’s impulsiveness has inadvertently put Nora
Stafford, the proprietor of a local body shop (and a possible love
interest for him), in terrible danger. As dark forces begin to
converge upon the formerly idyllic Wisconsin wilderness, what began
as a mission of revenge for Temple will become a brutal battle for
survival --- not only for him, but also for Stafford and
Koryta has attracted a fiercely loyal readership over the short
space of three novels featuring ex-Cleveland policeman Lincoln
Perry. Fans will have absolutely no remorse for immediately
embracing ENVY THE NIGHT, which features Koryta’s trademark
elements of sharp characterization, unexpected but logical plot
twists, and sudden explosive action. This is one work you will not
want to miss.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 21, 2011