A government plot. A con who holds all the cards. Can a young man protecting his fellow inmates stop a killer without losing his soul? Skilled hacker Tanto finds inner quiet in the ways of Bushido. So, after SWAT drags him to a hidden compound to entrap other code jockeys, he spends the next eight years drawing on his inner strength to bring honor to his peers. But when the peaceful warrior takes a terrified and badly beaten newcomer under his wing, he’s shaken to learn the kid was brutalized by an old nemesis. As if things could not get worse, the same monstrous enemy lands in his cellblock. Now, Tanto fears for the tribe he’s grown to love like family. And with the guards turning a blind eye to the rival’s calculated atrocities, Tanto plans desperate measures that could trigger deadly results. Can he maintain his sworn discipline and avoid leaving a bloody legacy?
Readers will relish the ins and outs of Pepper’s well-crafted dystopian prison society, swarming with cutthroat miscreants who will stop at nothing to dominate, and he cleverly sets the stage with a forbidding yet oddly alluring world defined by casual violence: "I…twist both of his thumbs until they pop like Bubble Wrap." The warden's office is known as the Cube of Death, and Cyfib makes a point to treat prisoners as the “dogs” he believes they are, leaving Tanto—who tries to maintain sanity by adhering to Bushido Code virtues as a last-ditch effort at morality—little recourse in his fight to survive.
Pepper’s true talent is in scene development, and his pages are permeated with dark, gloomy tones. He prefaces the novel with a trigger warning that should not be taken lightly, but there are glimmers of hope: Tanto’s bond with fellow prisoners Quidlee and AldenSong is rich with authentic banter and layers a human touch over the displays of brutality. There are times when this story becomes overly technical (Pepper provides a glossary of tech jargon to help), and the violence strains credulity toward the end, but readers will be absorbed until the very last page and find themselves eagerly anticipating the promised sequel.
Takeaway: Inmate hackers, sadistic bullies, and brutality fuel this violent thriller.
Great for fans of: Patricia Highsmith, Brett Easton Ellis
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: B+
☆☆☆☆☆ “You Will Know Vengeance is a door-knocking, high octane thrill ride, with a story that reads like a movie!” ~ 9 Minute Books Review Team
“ An absorbing, tech-smart tale that unfolds in a tense prison setting...Pepper deftly amps up his engaging prison tale with perpetual threats…The author’s crisp writing smoothly clarifies technical jargon with no sign of condescension; this creates a protagonist/narrator who comes across as an endearing, sympathetic journeyman more than a highly skilled hacker.” – Kirkus
“This book belongs on the shelves of any library devoted to building a solid, exceptional collection of thriller novels, and is highly recommended for readers who can absorb trigger subjects in the interest of a complex, thoroughly absorbing story packed with surprises…W.A. Pepper pulls no punches in sounding out the adversity and conspiracies affecting the world, and so readers will find this scenario as familiar as it is frightening…Those who pursue realistic thriller stories without being torn over man's inhumanity to man will find You Will Know Vengeance a powerful saga which promises (and delivers) a fast-paced, action-packed series of suspenseful scenarios. Part of what gives this story an especially vivid "you are here" feel in comparison to the majority of thrillers is Pepper's descriptive prowess, which reaches out to grab readers with sights, smells, and sounds…From dark web routines and Hackers’ Haven to a gritty, streetwise analysis of social, political, and legal dilemmas, the story evolves on different levels to reflect the narrator's power and force…Readers seeking a thriller steeped in too-possible worlds, undercurrents of society that exist today, technological conundrums, and the added overlay of interpersonal relationship challenges affected by conspiracy will find all these elements and more in You Will Know Vengeance. – D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
☆☆☆☆☆“W.A. Pepper writes a new techno-charged version of The Shawshank Redemption for the 21st century. You Will Know Vengeance is the first part of a fresh, new techno-thriller trilogy by author WA Pepper. Set within the confines of a prison, and the wilderness of cyber space, the two disparate worlds collide in a tense, gripping drama. It is a fast-paced, high-energy novel, that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Whilst this book will certainly appeal to techno-thriller junkies, it is an easy-to-read novel for neophytes, providing a fascinating insight into the hidden world of hackers, cyber criminals, and the dark web. A FINALIST and highly recommended.” - Readers’ Choice Book Awards (5-starred review)