“Trace of Revenge” Summary

Updated May 6, 2022

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“Trace of Revenge” Summary essay

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A couple are bludgeoned to death by a contract killer, and their young son, Matthew Walker, left for dead. Matthew survives, and although his hearing is lost, he has gained a new sense which he refers to as “tracing”.

Fast forward 7 years and Matthew, still haunted by the death of his parents, receives an unexpected visit from Detective Lauren King of the Jacksonville Police and Forensic Pathologist Doctor Toby Bilston, who are investigating the death of Commissioner Beckworth, whose murder shares things in common with that of Matthew’s parents.

At the time of his parents’ murder his father was working for Peter Mason, a rich entrepreneur from a dubious past and head of Mason Cruise Lines. Peter Mason currently has two things on his mind, the building of a new baseball arena in Jacksonville for his own team and the launch of “The Hydra”, a new concept in luxury liner cruising.

A bored company accountant, a Petty Officer who won’t take no for an answer, an embittered ship’s Captain with an axe to grind, a mob boss with secrets to hide, a coast guards’ ships last voyage lost with all hands and secret technology stolen from the Department of the Defence, all form a part in this complex tale of greed and revenge.

All comes together on board the maiden voyage of “The Hydra” along with a final, surprising twist.

Although disjointed at first I enjoyed reading “A Trace of Revenge” by Lyle Howard, my interest was held and I rooted for “the good guys”. The main plot is original, clever, and keeps you guessing. The writing style is well paced and easy to read. The characters in the book are well-defined and believable (in some cases scarily so).The characters of Lauren King and Tony Bilston in particular, stood out for me strongly, and I enjoyed the banter they shared with each other and Petty Officer Simms. I also liked the characters of Matthew and Simone who are genuine and amiable.

Although an enjoyable read, it is spoilt by a way too complex plot line. So much so, that at one point I had to check I was reading the same book. The book was fairly well edited, but there are some continuity mistakes, which do detract from the over-all enjoyment of the read. The ending was a little disappointing, leaving me with unanswered questions.

For these reasons I have rated “A Trace of Revenge” as 3 out of 4 stars.

I would recommend this book to adults who enjoy a complex thriller/mystery that stretches the imagination. I don´t think it would appeal to readers who like a tight plot and a solid ending, or to the squeamish, as some of the violence scenes are graphic.

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