An elderly Asian couple has been brutally killed and the children they fostered, kidnapped. Enter Jake Penny, a troubled homicide detective whose demons won’t let him get a good night’s sleep. He lives in an apartment so spare, that his bed, punching bag and memorial to his dead wife and daughter are the only appointments. The memory of their demise in an accident, coupled with survivor’s guilt, has driven him to drugs and alcohol. When he finds himself in an unexpected confrontation with a robber at a local pharmacy, his scrappy, unconventional style of law enforcement comes to the rescue and gives the first hints of just how flawed a man he is.
Burnt-out, grieving and depressed, the detective doesn’t always play by the rules and, in fact, often bends them to suit himself. That inner conflict between right and wrong becomes even more fascinating to observe when Penny is assigned to lend support on the double murder/kidnapping case. What starts out as a routine gathering of information unfolds as something far more sinister when Penny makes a curious discovery at the crime scene and is asked to give an accounting to NSA special agent, Ethan Parker. This was no random act of violence. This was a crime with links to V.E.N.O.M. – Veiled and Exclusive Nation of Organized Mercenaries – a disbanded group of international spies and assassins who adopted new identities and reintegrated into society. With the murders coming to light, these ex-V.E.N.O.M. begin resurfacing, which could have far-reaching, deadly global effects.
Parker insists on recruiting a reluctant Penny to work with him on the case. When Zasha Avery, a comely newspaper reporter and potential love interest, shows up and pressures Penny for leads on the investigation, this thrilling romp through the murky underworld of political intrigue really ramps up. Confrontations ensue, identities are revealed to be ruses, threats are carried out, bluffs are called and bad guys are killed in gruesome fashion. Suspicions run high and the lines between right and wrong become increasingly blurred. Are the characters actually who they say they are? Are seemingly noble intentions really rooted in evil? Is anyone acting for the greater good or is it every man (or woman) for himself? Will Penny be able to stop the resurgence of V.E.N.O.M.?
Author Ty Mitchell does an admirable of job teasing out the answers, maintaining the tension at a level that earns this book “page turner” status. Readers who love strong characters, shadowy espionage and high action will find V.E.N.O.M. to be a satisfying read with a thrilling, unexpected ending as their ultimate reward.
Brimming with espionage, mystery, murder and moral conflict, V.E.N.O.M. is a fast-paced thriller that lures readers in at page one and keeps them riveted to the very end.
~Libby Wiersema for IndieReader