In Lynn Lipinski’s STALKED BY REVENGE, the third in the Zane Clearwater series, Zane is carving out a better life for himself and pregnant sister, Lettie. Against the odds, he is accepted to train as a police officer and it seems that his life is finally on the right track. But the shadow of his half-brother Clyde Doom, hell-bent on wreaking revenge on Zane, is never far away. Zane’s past is a colorful one: forced to kill his father in self-defense, his testimony then ensures that Clyde is – rightly – convicted. From behind bars, Clyde’s vengeful and murderous intentions are kept at bay, but when he is released on a technicality Zane and Lettie find themselves in real danger. Zane has the best of intentions. On arrival at police academy he is determined to make the most of the opportunity: he “arrived early” and readied himself to “write down everything that came out of the instructor’s mouth.” Nevertheless, his background is not kept quiet for long, and when allegations are made against him he is suspended while an investigation is undertaken. For Zane, it is as if “a door was shutting slowly while he tried to run to it.” Forced to defend himself, his sister, and his integrity, Zane takes up the challenge with brio. Joining forces with grizzled former cop Loris Trapper (who has somewhat creative means of exacting justice) and taking on Ballpoint (a “big dog for security”), Zane has no intention of playing victim.
STALKED BY REVENGE is a story of cat-and-mouse. Suspense is introduced very early in the narrative when Lettie receives a baby gift from an anonymous benefactor. Zane is under no illusions that this is a message from Clyde and from here on in the pace is pulsating. Such a plot ensures that the reader is kept on pins and needles, hooked by the desire to see justice served. The arc propels toward a finale that veers from the standard. Furthermore, the plot is complemented by engaging characters. It is easy to root for Zane, and we will him to catch a break. The supporting characters, too, have their quirks that endear them to Lipinski’s readers. Lettie, for example, could easily be cast as a trailer-trash teenager who finds herself in a stereotypical pickle, but her blend of computer savvy and vulnerability ensures this doesn’t happen. The pair’s Grandma, too, is deliciously sparky. Perhaps it is Loris, though, who steals the show – her brand of vigilante morality somehow strikes a chord and makes us want to champion her tough, uncompromising approach.
Lynn Lipinski’s pacy plot and hinterland characters – set against a Tulsa backdrop and narrated in uncomplicated prose – make her thriller, STALKED BY REVENGE, a cut above the usual.
~Amanda Ellison for IndieReader