By: John Fennell
Publication Date: April 2018
Reviewed by: Barbara Bamberger Scott
Cold-hearted killers meet lion-hearted, determined adversaries in this latest offering by award winning writer John Fennell II.
Raven, who was known back home in West Virginia as a smart, pert young thing, has broken all the rules, even abandoning the Foundation, an organization dedicated to finding and eliminating evildoers all over the globe. Raven went rogue because the Foundation would not allow her to put the final touches of her revenge on the murderer of her beloved Uncle Bill. An international consortium, the Foundation is run by Amelia, the grandmother of Raven’s one true love, a downhome boy named Naci who is himself no slouch at intrigue and dangerous deeds.
Raven has joined forces with the mysterious Morgan, a noted and feared hit man whose post-kill “calling card” is a vintage silver dollar. Befriending Morgan, Raven learns that the great love of his life, a woman named Lilly, was killed in a drug-related incident in Latin America. Or was she? Might she still be alive? Raven resolves to track down the truth about Lilly, also known in undercover circles as the Hawk. Raven will learn more about Lilly – and about her pal Morgan – to her peril, in a saga that reaches from the inviting beaches of Florida to the dingy dives south of the border. Ultimately, it will be Uncle Bill who guides her – with a message from beyond the grave.
This adventurous, murderous, twisting tale follows the first of Fennell’s Raven series, Raven and the Panther. Like that book, this one shows how Raven compounds killings and stacks bodies like a one-woman world war without losing her small-town values or her passion for Naci, who is equally forever smitten with his beautiful, daring lover. Though separated by current circumstances, two lovers will have a chance to get together secretly in one sexy, steamy encounter. This and other erotic interludes are vividly described, offering a counterpoint to ever changing, ever escalating violence that characterize much of this thriller, the balancing act a testament to Fennell’s talents. A prolonged death scene composed of bloody choppings before the final slice is but one of the disturbing images that Fennell has masterfully created to demonstrate the extreme malice of Raven’s enemies. So when she strikes - rapidly, efficiently and effectively – the author makes it seem almost a kindness to the monstrous foes she is dealing with.
Quill says: Readers with a taste for the eternal struggle between greedy, gore-enthralled goons and strong, steady-minded super-sleuths will gravitate to Fennell’s imaginative work and will want more. With a sequel waiting in the wings, they should not be disappointed.