Book Review: Vengeance Road

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Author: Rick Mofina
ISBN: 978-192179541-1
RRP: $29.99

Vengeance Road landed on my desk quite some time ago and it looked good but there was always something else that needed to be read, my TBR pile is in a constant state of flux. This book eventually got a little lost in the pile and I unearthed it this week because I’m a little hormonal and decided I needed a break from romance for a while. This pregnancy is making me an even bigger cry-baby. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to bring it out and sink my teeth in. I really wish I hadn’t waited so long now.


Rick Mofina is a former journalist who has worked on some major stories, including death row inmates and serial killers, making him familiar with the subject matter he has used for Vengeance Road. The book is completely fiction and Mofina has taken liberties with many aspects to further his story.

Bernice Hogan is found in a shallow grave after a ritualisitc, and brutal murder. Ambitious reporter Jack Gannon picks up the story off the scanner and heads out to the scene. Jack has big dreams for his career and they never involved being at the Buffalo Sentinel for quite so long, perhaps this story will give him his big break and his ticket to a big paper in New York City.

He gets the scoop, he writes a great piece and he uses some very sensitive information from reliable sources that can not be named. The sensitive information creates some rather large ripples and Jack can protect his source or protect himself but he can’t do both – he opts for his source which ends up with him fired. Jack no longer has a paper to write the story for but he refuses to give up. He holds out hope that he will still manage to get the scoop, stay one step ahead of the other papers and ultimately realise his journalistic dreams.

Gannon is a tireless investigative reporter who never stops thinking about the case and new angles to start digging from. He is determined to get the scoop but it’s not just that, he wants to make sure they get the guy perpetrating the horror and preferably before the body count rises.

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The suspense was taut with both the police and Gannon doing all they can to track down every lead and tie it together watertight, which is never as easily said as done.

There were lots of players in the narrative which means we are following lots of third person points of view to keep an eye on all the action. We are following Gannon, the police, the missing girl, the suspect and through it all the story gets more twisted and the psychological damage gets scarier as we delve further into the past.

Mofina’s writing is tight, blunt and to the point. Everything we get is pertinent information, there is no superfluous misdirection or irrelevant character building and scene setting. You know what you need to know.

I was totally engrossed in this book, the action started right from the beginning and it didn’t really let up. I think there is a lot more of Gannon to explore and I was left with some unanswered questions I would have liked resolved but they didn’t detract from the book at all. I wanted a break from romance reads and other books that were sure to make me cry, well I certainly got what I asked for in that respect, though I must say I still felt for some of the characters and the horror they went through.

Gannon was working outside of the sanctions of newspaper employment, without the access to resources he would have had from his desk so he was doing this all on his own time, his own dime and with no guarantees it would help him out in the end. He still had his contacts but most of them knew of his very public dismissal so it was with great determination he pursued this story and I did love watching that in action. It was interesting to watch where his information lead him in relation to where the police were at with their investigations.

All in all this was an engaging read relating to the sometimes gruesome human nature of twisted individuals but nothing was revealed in gut-wrenching graphic detail. You knew scenes were gruesome by the reactions of those on site but we didn’t need to be subjected to the full colour descriptions which was admirable. It demonstrated that Mofina is about the thrill and the suspense, not the gore. Definitely an author I would read again.

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