I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Revenge List by Hannah Mary McKinnon
Published by Harlequin, MIRA on May 23, 2023
Genres: Fiction / Thrillers / Crime, Fiction / Thrillers / Domestic, Fiction / Thrillers / Psychological, Fiction / Thrillers / Suspense
“This twisty, original thriller through the dark side of self-help is a breath of fresh air that ends with a jaw-dropping gasp.” —Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Overnight Guest
“The Revenge List checks all the boxes of what a thriller should be. Brilliant premise? Check. Mounting tension? Check. Jaw-dropping twist? Double-check. I couldn't put it down!”
— Riley Sager, New York Times bestselling author of The House Across the Lake
They say life flashes before your eyes when you’re about to die. But all she could see was regret.
The people in Frankie Morgan’s life say she’s angry. Emotionally stunted. Combative. But really, who can blame her? It’s hard being nice when your clients are insufferable, your next-door neighbor is a miserable woman and the cowardly driver who killed your mother is still out living it up somewhere.
Somehow, though, she finds herself at her very first anger-management group session—drinking terrible coffee and learning all about how “forgiveness is a process.”
One that starts with a list.
Frankie is skeptical. A list of everyone who’s wronged her in some way over the years? More paper, please. Still, she makes the pointless list—with her own name in a prominent spot—and promptly forgets about it…until it goes missing. And one by one, the people she’s named start getting hurt in freak accidents, each deadlier than the last.
Could it be coincidence giving her the revenge she never dared to seek…or something more sinister?
If Frankie doesn’t find out who’s behind it all, she might be next.
Hannah Mary McKinnon comes up with some very smart thrillers and suspense novels. Her latest THE REVENGE LIST is fantastic just like her last two novels. Check out the excerpt and my review down below.
The sharp sound of a high-pitched scream filled the air. A noise so unrecognizable, at first I didn’t register it had come from deep within me, traveling up my throat in stealth mode before bursting from my mouth.
The remnants of the yell reverberated around the car, forcing their way into my ears and penetrating my skull, urging me to do something. Survival instincts kicked in, and I fumbled with the seatbelt, my other hand grasping for the door handle. The need for the relative safety that solid, stationary ground would bring was so intense it made my stomach heave. A loud click of the central locking system meant my captor had outsmarted me again, obliterating my immediate plan to throw myself from the moving vehicle.
When I looked out the windshield, I knew there was no time to find an alternate escape. The end of the road—the edge of the cliff—announced by signs and broken red-and-white-striped wooden barricades, had been far enough away seconds ago but now gleamed in the car’s headlights, a looming warning yards ahead. I couldn’t comprehend what was about to happen, couldn’t do anything as the vehicle kept going, splintering planks and racing out the other side with nothing but air below. I let out another scream, far louder than my first, the absolute terror exploding from my lungs.
For the briefest of moments, we were suspended, as if this was a magic trick or an elaborate roller coaster. Perhaps, if I were really lucky, this was all a dream. Except I already knew there were no smoke and mirrors, no swirling track leading us through loop-the-loops and to safety. It wasn’t a nightmare I’d wake from with bedsheets wrapped around my sweaty body. This was happening. It was all terrifyingly real.
As the car continued its trajectory, it tipped forward. The only thing to stop our momentum was whatever we were rushing toward, obscured by the cloudy night skies. Pushing my heels into the floor, I tried to flatten my shoulders against the seat. My hands scrambled for the ceiling to brace myself, but I flopped like a rag doll, my loosened seatbelt tearing into my shoulder.
They say your life flashes before you when you’re close to death. That didn’t happen to me. Instead, it was all my regrets. Choices I’d made. Not made. Things I’d said and done. Not said. Not done. It was far too late to make amends. There would be no opportunity to beg anyone for forgiveness. No possibility of offering some.
As the finality of the situation hit me full on, I turned my head. The features of the driver next to me were illuminated in a blueish glint from the dashboard lights. His face had set in a stony grimace; his jaw clenched so tight he had to have shattered teeth. But what frightened me the most were his eyes, filled with what could only be described as maniacal delight.
He’d said we were both going to die. As the car hurtled to the bottom of the cliff, I closed my eyes and accepted he was right.
Excerpted from The Revenge List by Hannah Mary McKinnon, Copyright © 2023 by Hannah McKinnon. Published by MIRA Books.
THE REVENGE LIST is the third novel I’ve read by Hannah Mary McKinnon. This is an auto-read author for me. Early thirties Frankie is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. Life has not been kind to her starting with her mother’s hit-and-run murder when Frankie was just fourteen. She works as a project manager for her father’s construction company, and after another incident of her temper after a client touched her butt, her father demands that she go to anger management classes to get herself straight. Frankie reluctantly goes and has to write a list of the people who she needs to forgive, but this list goes missing and those on it start to have bad things happen to them. Is it a coincidence that someone is taking care of all the wrongs these people have done to Frankie or is something more sinister hiding in the darkness?
Frankie’s out-of-control temper flares at the drop of a hat. Her nosy and demanding elderly neighbor confronts her again, someone takes too long to pump their gas when her truck is almost empty, her soup gets spilled in the street after someone bumps into her–any of these things light her fuse so fast. About halfway through the book you get a lot more information about what has happened to Frankie in her past and present that fuels her despair and anger. The past doesn’t stay buried once she realizes that someone has been watching her, but figuring out just who is doing this takes a while. Getting Frankie’s point of view was very enlightening, especially when she starts to track down those on her list but keeps getting wrapped up with the police.
As a character, Frankie is likable and smart, but she made some bad decisions in her early years that still haunt her to this day. She’s very loyal towards her family, even though her relationship has been rocky with her father/boss ever since her mother died. Her father just doesn’t know how to deal with explosive Frankie and keep his business afloat, so cutting her loose is a threat that he just might make good on. Her brother and his husband have a young daughter who gets very sick, and I did enjoy their family dynamic–even during a very stressful and scary time.
I give THE REVENGE LIST a four out of five. The tension did build pretty steadily toward the end, but the pacing was a bit up and down for the first third of the novel. The identity of Frankie’s stalker was pretty obvious about halfway through the book, but it didn’t make this any less enjoyable to read. Frankie’s journey to forgiveness instead of wishing the worst for those that wronged her was bumpy, emotional, and a bit dangerous at times. While the book is wrapped up pretty tidily at the end, there is one little idea left out there that makes me hope a second book with Frankie is in the future.
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About Hannah Mary McKinnon
Hannah Mary McKinnon was born in the UK, grew up in Switzerland and moved to Canada in 2010. After a successful career in recruitment, she quit the corporate world in favor of writing. She now lives in Oakville, Ontario, with her husband and three sons, and is delighted by her twenty-second commute. Connect with her on Facebook, on Twitter @HannahMMcKinnon, and on Instagram @HannahMaryMcKinnon. For more, visit her website, www.hannahmarymckinnon.com.
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