As a human being, one of the very best things you can do in life is to be surprised by someone who you thought you knew. For readers, that means discovering something new inside the writing of an author you thought you already understood. Such is the case for me with Andrew Allen Smith. And it's exhilarating.
In Andrew's novel, Vengeful Son, which I took FAR TOO LONG to read, I have discovered additional layers to the writing acumen I already knew this fine gentleman possessed. Andrew is a friend, a fellow of my writing community. He is a profound thinker, offering up meditation pieces each day about the simplest moments of life. They inspire and comfort me, daily. Andrew is also a master at short stories that insinuate the answers to questions we didn't knew we needed to ask; some that make us comfortable with the shadows that follow us - which is a little unnerving at times.
Andrew is a super-tight writer. I knew that going into this book. Andrew understands the twist ending like few others I've read. I knew that, too. What I didn't know was that Andrew also knows how to give you depth of emotion and layers of intellect, without making it seem like the characters have something to prove. These are real people he writes about, confronted with extraordinary circumstances, that in truth, simply make up their ordinary lives. Having that glimpse into their motivations - and the lack of the necessity to explain themselves - is refreshing and alluring.
This is an action-packed thriller that doesn't overwhelm you with the details you really don't need to know, anyway. Backstory be dammed. Beginning with Chapter One starting out at a comfortable ninety miles per hour, Andrew offers you the opportunity to go on a ride that at first glance, you may think you've been on before... but you'd be wrong. He drops you directly into the action, and simultaneously draws you into the empathy of each character he introduces. He allows the hook of each chapter to entice you deeper into the story, with what seems like effortless negligence for "the way it's supposed to happen". The people you're set up to dislike have qualities about them that make you question your own judgement. The people you like immediately, only grow on you as time passes. And the dogs are by far, the most remarkable illustration of dichotomy I've seen in quite some time. This is a fast-paced read that forced me to put it down every so often - just so I could catch my breath.
I like these characters. I like their story goals. And I like Andrew's equal, high-octane treatment of both. I am engaged so fully in the world he has created, that I'm actually a little disgruntled with myself that I promised to read other author's books before moving the rest of this series to the top of my list. But in time - they shall all be read. With my apologies and thanks, to the author.
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