Review of Swift Vengeance by Jean Copeland, Jackie D. and Erin Zak
Normally you find books co-written by two authors but a collaboration of three sounds like an idea born from a joke or a dare that could either go very well or very wrong. Fortunately for lesfic crime fans, Swift Vengeance worked really well.
After surviving an almost fatal motorcycle accident, journalist Brittany starts having visions of something evil about to happen in Swift Island, a queer summer retreat. Feeling the urge to find answers to her questions, she travels there and meets Toni, a woman living with her aunts who is recovering from a nasty breakup. Their mutual attraction is undeniable but there is a serial killer on the island who’s going after their next prey…
This was an entertaining crime/intrigue book with a good balance of action, mystery and romance. I’m hardly an expert in the genre, so I’m not sure if this book will work for the real fans of mystery, but this novel kept me turning pages and some parts got me to the edge of my seat. To draw a comparison, if you’ve read British lesfic crime author Cari Hunter, this is a lighter and definitely less gruesome type of book. Swift Vengeance is closer to a cozy mystery. I had my suspicions about who the perpetrator was but it wasn’t very obvious.
The main characters Brittany and Toni, plus Toni’s aunts Leslie and Alice, come from some of the authors’ previous books. Toni is a shop attendant in Zak’s Breaking down her walls, Brittany is one of the mains’ occasional lover in Land’s End by Jackie D. and Leslie and Alice are the main characters from Copeland’s The Second Wave. I thought this idea of intertwining characters from different books was very clever and a great way to engage readers with other novels.
There’s a little bit of a paranormal plot that is central to the story but despite that, this couldn’t be considered a paranormal book. The story is told from different points of view: Brittany, Toni, Leslie and the serial killer. The latter is told in first person and adds a creepy mood to the story. There’s a balance between mystery, action and romance so the love story has quite a bit of space in the book. Both main characters are healing from old wounds and their relationship is complicated but, at the same time, they have great chemistry together. Leslie and Alice are a cute old couple who bring support and understanding to the younger women. The landscape of an isolated island with a rough climate sets out a perfect background to the mystery.
Overall, an enjoyable crime/mystery with a heavy dose of romance. A very good collaboration between three seasoned authors. 4 stars.