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Eye of Vengeance    by Jonathon King order for
Eye of Vengeance
by Jonathon King
Order:  USA  Can
Dutton, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
* *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

Robert Walker has just been released from prison in Lee County, Florida, and on Florida's east coast, South Florida Daily News veteran crime reporter Nick Mullins is surprised to learn about Walker's release. Nick, of course, is more than just a little perturbed about the news. After all, Walker was the drunk driver who took the lives of Nick's wife and one of their twin daughters.

But Nick really doesn't have time to focus very much on Walker's release because other, more immediate matters demand his professional - and ultimately his personal - attention. Nick has heard that a convicted murderer has just been gunned down on the steps of the local jail, and immediately goes to the scene of the crime. When Nick starts looking around and then gets one or two steps ahead of the police, he figures out that the victim - an unsavory person whose death will not be mourned by anybody - was killed by a single bullet from a sniper who had apparently hidden himself on the rooftop of a nearby building.

In spite of having been repeatedly and sternly warned by the police to avoid getting in the way of their investigation, Nick digs much deeper into the case. And he soon makes some discoveries. First, Nick finds out that the murdered convict had been the subject of one of Nick's more important news stories from several years earlier. Then, after a little more digging, Nick finds out something quite disquieting that now seems to unite several subjects from some of his other major stories: a man who killed his own wife, another man who had set his girlfriend on fire, and a drug runner responsible for the death of a state trooper - each one has recently been killed by a single bullet to the head.

Nick realizes that a resourceful and cold-blooded serial sniper is on the loose, but that realization is complicated by the fact that the sniper is now sending Nick messages (or are they warnings?) about what may happen in the very near future. Drawn into the middle of a dangerous cat-and-mouse game, Nick must contend with the local police, federal authorities, Daily News editors, and the vengeful sniper himself. With his career, family, and life on the line, Nick must move carefully yet quickly in order to prevent further mayhem and - at the same time, and perhaps more importantly - to protect himself from the painful, destructive intrusion of the past upon his present and future.

Eye of Vengeance is a powerful, paradoxical tale of retribution and redemption. Filled with hard-edged realism, compelling characterizations, and fast-paced excitement, Jonathon King's vividly written, meticulously plotted novel reaffirms King's reputation as one of today's best thriller writers.

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