A wealthy industrialist’s compassionate act triggers retribution in this thriller set in Paris.
Jonathan Sinclair is a perfect example of the proverb “No good deed goes unpunished.” Life is grand for the rich industrialist, as the woman he has always loved, Kathy Hunter, leaves her abusive husband and moves to France to live with Jonathan. But there are signs that all is not well. His prototype machinery for finding diamonds underwater quits working properly. He and Kathy almost get run off the road on the ride home from the airport. Then there are the strangers lurking around his rural home. What Jonathan doesn’t realize is that these incidents are part of a vendetta planned by a man named Aziz Bey. That’s because two years earlier in Paris, an offended Jonathan halted a sadistic sex show staged by Bey for members of the ultra-secret gentlemen’s club to which both belong: “Bey’s screams about honor and retribution followed” Jonathan as he “covered the girl with his jacket and, lifting her into his arms, strode across the foyer and out onto the street.” Despite the two men’s history, in order to keep the peace at “the Club,” Jonathan agrees to a business meeting with Bey, who tricks Kathy into attending as well. This leads to a night of horror for Kathy, resulting in her monthslong mission of revenge on those who tortured her, while she attempts to keep Jonathan oblivious to what really happened that evening. Herst (Tunnel Vision, 2015) has created an intricately crafted thriller that requires the reader to pay close attention. Her use of flashbacks can be somewhat jarring, but is essential as she slowly reveals the cruelty inflicted upon Kathy. Her benevolent characters are well drawn, especially Jonathan and Kathy, but her villains are rather two-dimensional (the simpering Bey as well as a pompous German industrialist and a blustering American ex-senator). But her narrative is propulsive and absorbing, with Kathy sadly laboring to keep Jonathan in the dark as she meticulously plots her vendetta. Herst again delivers a winning, complex thriller.
An engrossing novel that successfully ponders the justification for revenge and yet remains suspenseful until the end.