4 out of 4 stars
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Vengeful Unhinged by Jerry Sonenblick is a riveting, political thriller that immerses readers into the inner workings of politics, law, high-stakes crime, greed, and vengeance. Set in the 1960s and 1970s America, the author incorporated actual political and legal events that occurred in that era, including the 1970s’ financial crisis. This aspect of the book intrigued me because it was weaved into the story brilliantly, and I acquired new knowledge about America and its politics in that period.
The story begins with Mason Grewe being disbarred from the practice of law after it was revealed that he had swindled a client. Although this client had agreed to settle the issue privately, David Sherwood insists that it is his duty as an attorney to file charges. Disgraced and humiliated, Mason decides to flee the town, vowing to take revenge on David — he immediately sets his plan in motion. David, on the other hand, is determined to succeed in his love life and career. Except, his world is turned upside down when discrimination, sabotage, and corruption threaten to ruin his romantic relationship and everything he is working so hard to build. Will David rise above all the curveballs thrown at him and come out on top or will he cave under pressure? Will Mason have his ultimate revenge?
The author does an impeccable job with the world-building. From the streets, constructions, and atmosphere, downright to the foods, the author left no stone unturned, while it is easy to bog down a story with too much detail, the level of detail in Vengeful Unhinged worked in creating a vibrant and believable environment for the characters. Being a ‘foodie,’ I relished the restaurant visits and mention of food choices. Even with the large cast of characters, the characters were all well-described and well-developed, which made it easy for me to place and picture them in their environment and different circumstances.
The narrative, written from the third-person point of view, mainly focuses on David and Mason interchangeably; the story delivers an in-depth view of their experiences and encounters with numerous characters at different stages of their lives. I quickly became invested in these characters. Moreover, even though one is the antagonist, I found myself strangely rooting for both of them to succeed, as well as other supporting characters who were not so saintly (one being Barney Stone). Certain aspects of Barney Stone’s character reminded me of Hollis Doyle from one of my favorite TV series, Scandal. Thus, when tragedy befell the characters, I felt genuine sadness for them. I believe this is because the author did a superb job in creating believable, multifaceted, and fascinating personalities in his cast of characters. That is not to say that I liked all the characters, however, towards the end of the novel, I utterly disliked Ronnie for what she did and how she tried to justify it.
From the first page up to the last, there was no dull moment. So much was going on, from conspiracies, political campaigns, sex scandals, mafia-related crimes, betrayals, to even murder! All of this made for an intriguing read. The unexpected plot-twists also kept things interesting. I certainly enjoyed Vengeful Unhinged, which is why I rate it 4 out of 4 stars. If you are not into books with a multitude of characters, this is not the book for you. However, if you appreciate novels that balance large casts with an intriguing plot, centered around politics and crime, then I’d highly recommend that you read this novel.
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