A gruesome double murder sets the scene for Deadly Repercussions, a new crime novel by Karen Black, and triggers a series of events that takes protagonist Elaina on a perilous journey where she will unearth long-buried family secrets, race against time to uncover the truth and bring about justice, and ultimately fight for her very survival.
The world turns on a dime and this begs the question: what unintended consequences are brought about by the life choices we made when we thought we had no choice at all? This book has a solid premise, and its overarching story leaves a lot of room for world-building and exploration. The world of narcotics, criminal groups, and undercover agents—that seedy underbelly that lurks just beneath the surface of our seemingly squeaky-clean reality—have been popular tropes in both print and television recently, and here it served as a good launching point for a decade-spanning actionstory/thriller/multigenerational family drama.
The book also had several graphic scenes and violent depictions, but this was sprinkled and woven into the narrative in a way that doesn’t feel gratuitous or simply added for the sake of shock value. Rather, it felt as if these were integral to our understanding of the characters and for moving the story forward. Side by side with the more gruesome aspects of the book were the central themes of acceptance, forgiveness, honor, and loyalty, and how the echoes of the past can reverberate into the present, for better or for worse. It’s these aspects that provided the book with a strong emotional center, and a foil for its other, darker themes. The juxtaposition and contrast between dark and light elevated Deadly Repercussions from just another suspense novel into a more balanced and nuanced work of fiction....
With a sizable cast, it’s commendable that Karen Black was able to provide most of her characters with a distinct voice and a compelling backstory. From the cantankerous and slightly paranoid patriarch to the strong female lead, all the way down to the people surrounding them, whose motives remain dubious and questionable all throughout and leading up to the plot twist—the strength of the characterizations gave the book the momentum it needed as it raced toward its climactic conclusion.
Deadly Repercussions is an immersive experience, one that shows the cyclical nature of poverty, power, and struggle as well as the lengths people will go to protect what is theirs. A maze of twists, turns, and mind games, this will delight fans of the suspense and mystery genres as well as those looking for something with a little more depth. Through its strong plot and adept characterizations, Deadly Repercussions shows humanity at its worst, replete with flaws and faults, while also highlighting that redemption is always waiting just around the corner, and there is always an opportunity to become a better version of ourselves
This mystery-thriller is jam-packed with loyalty, deception, betrayal, and unexpected twists and turns. The story follows 14-year-old Juan Velasquez after the death of his father. Left on his own, Juan does what he needs to survive. He works as an informant for Diego Martinez, an ATF border agent due to his reputation for discretion and experience in navigating the mountains of the Chihuahuan desert. After working with him as an informant, Martinez later hires Juan as an ATF agent.
Through the years, Juan becomes a well-known agent and tracker who can find just about anyone and anything. He frequently works with the United States Border Patrol as a consultant and occasionally as a guide. However, because of his work, danger always lurks close by, which leads to the death of his wife. Having now lost two of the most important people in his life, Juan swears: "to use all means available to right injustice to those close to him.” Even if that means going down a path that doesn’t always follow the letter of the law.
Deadly Repercussions is a good mystery and suspense novel. The protagonist has specific skills as an agent, and he’s deeply connected to the job at hand because of its personal nature. I love what’s driving him here, especially since I’m already so invested in solving the mystery.
However, it’s not always too easy to connect with the characters. There are a number of time-jumps in the story, and as a result, we get little background information on main characters. We don’t have the opportunity to see them develop, like how Elizabeth, Juan’s daughter, is characterized. There are two different seven-year time jumps, and by the time she’s in college, we are told she has a passion for hiking, but we don’t get to see the strong independent woman the novel claims her to be. There are also a few inconsistencies with ages and descriptions.
Readerly curiosity is imminent when it comes to this mystery. Considering this is the most important element in the genre, I’d say this one succeeds in its goal. I couldn’t help but continue wondering how this thing is going to end.
All in all, Deadly Repercussions is an enjoyable mystery-thriller that explores the sanctity of justice and retribution. Quick and mysterious, Deadly Repercussions is sure to leave thriller fans feeling satisfied