Zoe Chambers is our main character. She's a paramedic and the deputy coroner for the small town in which she lives. One evening a terrible call comes in to dispatch. The first responders to an overturned ATV have been shot. This starts a tense and angst ridden mystery about who would want to kill first responders. Everyone Zoe works with is in danger and now with the police trying to protect the first responders, Zoe's boyfriend, the sheriff, is also in danger of being shot. Figuring out whether this is about specific people being targeted or just a psycho shooting at any first responders becomes the only way of trying to catch a killer.
**SPOILER ALERT** To explain my low rating on this book I have to break my own rule about giving out details of the book. I rarely do this but it seems unfair not to explain my thinking.
This was such a different experience for me as I read through this mystery. It started out as a five out of five, reading it felt like being on a freight train that was out of control (in a good way). But then as I got to the ninety percent mark the author broke an unwritten rule. The rule is that it's unfair to make the killer some character that's not been introduced before. It makes no sense to make a character who has not been fleshed out by the author, the killer in the book. If the author has given no real details that lets the reader wonder if they could be the killer ,then how is that fair? How is it even possible for the reader to figure out who done it? And isn't that the point of any good mystery?
There were two other small details that I would have overlooked if the author had played fair with the "Who Done It" game. The first detail was that Zoe's best friend has a meltdown, yelling at Zoe for the stupidest thing even when she knows Zoe's life is in eminent danger every night and sleep has been unattainable because of the stress of the situation. There are times when one should hold one's tongue and wait for a better time to have a hissy fit, eminent death would be one of them. The second detail was when Zoe had the opportunity to shoot the killer, she said "Stop or I'll shoot", giving the killer time to duck and cover, using Zoe's boyfriend as said cover. If you have the training to shoot a gun, which Zoe does and a killer is threatening every life around you, why would you warn him that you're gonna stop his rampage? JUST SHOOT HIM for god's sake!! This kind of thing totally ticks me off as a reader.
For these reasons I'm forced to give this book a three. Unfortunately, I enjoyed most of this book. It was fast paced and I loved how the author created tension so the reader certainly didn't get bored. BUT, to break the "Who Done It" rule and then to have such stupid details thrown in that tick off the reader, "With A Vengeance" lost two stars very quickly. I recommend this author generally, I had read a previous Zoe Chambers mystery and enjoyed it much more than I did this one. If I were you, I'd start at number one in this series and when you get to this one, know that the story will move the general plot forward, you just might not like it as much as the previous three.
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