Review

Eye of Vengeance

by Jonathon King



In the short course of four novels, Jonathon King has introduced
and developed Max Freeman, one of the more unique characters in
crime fiction. Freeman has been slowly and surely evolving against
the backdrop of South Florida, supported by a limited number of
strong secondary characters and building a loyal readership that
has been expanding exponentially. At a point when most writers
would continue to solidify the series, at least for purposes of
momentum, King has looked the other way. His new novel, EYE OF
VENGEANCE, introduces Nick Mullins, a protagonist as instantly
memorable as Freeman, but in entirely different ways.

Mullins is a crime reporter for the South Florida Daily
News
, a powderkeg sitting in the middle of the newsroom.
Mullins's life has been one of quiet devastation since his wife and
one of his twin daughters were killed in an accident involving a
drunk driver. Mullins attempts to balance his life between his
reporting and his duties of fatherhood toward his surviving
daughter, but it is a losing battle with his paternal duties coming
out on the short end. Mullins is further distracted, mightily, when
he discovers that the man who killed his wife and daughter has been
freed from prison.

Things begin to slowly converge for Mullins, however, when a
convicted murderer, attempting to overturn the verdict against him
on appeal, is gunned down with brutal and precise efficiency
outside a corrections facility. Mullins is familiar with the
victim, and even more familiar with his crime: the man was the
subject of a series feature that Mullins wrote during the man's
trial and conviction. While researching his past stories, Mullins
discovers to his shock that another criminal he had previously
written about had been killed in a similar fashion. And when a
third criminal Mullins had written about is executed in the same
way, Mullins cannot escape the conclusion that someone is using his
crime story articles as a means to obtain a rough and righteous
justice against those who have escaped the law. Mullins soon finds
himself confronted with a choice that will have serious
repercussions with him personally --- one that will either bring
him the peace he so desperately needs, or spin his life into deeper
turmoil.

King visits the landscapes of some uncomfortable moral dilemmas in
EYE OF VENGEANCE. The sniper within the pages of this finely
written work is not a bad guy and is certainly more righteous than
his targets. It is Mullins, however, who is the subject of deep
exploration, and King's past employment as a newspaper reporter
holds him in good stead here as he gives the reader an
over-the-shoulder look at a modern-day newsroom and the industry of
which it is a part. As demonstrated in his Freeman novels, King is
a master of characterization with few peers, and he takes his
already considerable talents up a notch or two in EYE OF VENGEANCE.
Mullins and Freeman, for one thing, are not interchangeable
characters. Other than their shared locale of South Florida, and
the fact that both are badly bent in different ways, they have no
common characteristics. Yet they are both equally appealing, strong
and sympathetic characters who succeed, even on the brink of
failure, because they keep moving ever forward.

Fans of Freeman who regret his absence here will find any reticence
toward meeting Mullins evaporating after reading the first few
pages of this gripping work. From its startling beginning to its
unpredictable yet oddly satisfying ending, EYE OF VENGEANCE is a
winner.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 21, 2011

Eye of Vengeance
by Jonathon King

  • Publication Date: May 18, 2006
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult
  • ISBN-10: 0525949534
  • ISBN-13: 9780525949534