What monster lurks in the dark? Is it a boogieman hiding under your bed or a ghoul waiting in the hallway? For Matthew Walker, it was an intruder armed with a baseball bat. The innocent nine-year-old wasn’t supposed to be home when he heard his parents’ screams as they were killed in their bed by a masked man. After he was discovered, Matthew attempted to escape but caught a blow to the head from the strange man that left him deaf. Nine years later, Matthew discovers he can see relationships between people and objects. Visions flood his mind when he touches a lock or a steering wheel at random times. What is this new power? Can he learn to control it? Could it help him solve the mystery of who killed his parents?
Lyle Howard injects A Trace of Revenge with so much detail, it’s like watching a movie. My first experience with this was during the first scene after Matthew (Matt) was injured. His grandparents were in the waiting room of the Children’s Hospital. The author took the time to describe the entire waiting room, down to the cheap coffee that sat on the counter. These may seem like small details to most, but I loved every word of it. This effort made it easy for me to immerse myself in the world of the Walkers.
A unique writing component I noticed was the author using thought-processing to transition between different moments in each scene. Whichever character was the focus of the scene could be observed thinking about their situation, what had led to it, and their role in it. The author wrote out the characters’ thoughts and gave the reader a front-row view of their emotions. He organized the sentence structure to suggest each emotion without saying things such as ‘I’m angry’ or ‘I’m worried’. Instead, he would use ellipses to suggest wonder, short sentences to represent anxiety, or show memories to create a feeling of nostalgia. I loved that the author did this because it made me feel like I was experiencing all these emotions and thoughts with the character, not just observing them from a distance.
I will warn future readers that this is not a book suited for younger audiences. There is violence described in gruesome detail during a few chapters. In others, characters can be observed arguing and cursing at each other.
My only complaint about this book is how the author introduces new scenes and characters. When shifting to a different location with new characters, I was confused about their relationship to the main plotline. After reading for a while, it would be revealed that they were somehow involved in Matt’s or his family’s life. However, this process would take at least two or three chapters. As entertaining as the introductions were, while reading, I felt like there was a giant hole in the story until I came to these revealing moments.
I give this book a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. As stated before, the author did an amazing job to include so much detail when writing scenes. I did not give this book full stars because of the delayed relevance of some scenes. I felt that these scenes could have been introduced in a better way to show their relationship to the main character.
This is a book for murder mystery lovers. It contains action, plot twists, and characters you can’t help but relate to. It captured my attention within the first two pages and kept it throughout my entire reading experience. I hope all enjoy this book as much as I did.