By Kelly Bridgewater
Back Cover Copy:
No one needs to push Nikki Boyd to excel on the Tennessee Missing Person Task Force. The case of her own missing sister, still unsolved after ten years, is the driving force in her work. When a Polaroid photo of a missing girl shows up at a crime scene, Nikki quickly recognizes similarities to the past. The closer she gets to the abductor, the more she feels that this case is getting personal, and that she is not the hunter at all--but actually the one being hunted.
I have read Hidden Agenda by Lisa Harris, and it was an okay mystery. There were some elements that needed fixed in the overall plot. Feel free to browse my previous review on Hidden Agenda. The synopsis for Vendetta appeared to be better, and I was hoping that Harris’ game was more up to a mystery lover’s standard. Vendetta was a much better written book than Hidden Agenda for three reasons.
The conflict in this story was twofold: internal and external. Harris made me care about Nikki who wanted to seek revenge on the Angel Abductor, who took her sister ten years ago. I could totally understand and empathize with her pain. I really enjoy stories where someone is missing, and my heart races as I flip the pages, wanting to find out what happens to the absent person. The dilemma in this story was not original by any means. It has been done tons of times, so there was nothing really new here. I didn’t figure out the who the abductor was because they pretty much don’t enter the story until the last third of the book, so there were no bread crumbs pointing to him. It did appear kind of odd that this person was the villain. I would have liked to have seen more interaction with him during the beginning of the book to throw me off base.
Like I already said, I got on board pretty quickly with Nikki and Tyler. Harris made Nikki’s dilemma come to life, which paralleled the dilemma unfolding in Vendetta with the missing teenager, Bridget. I understood the paralyzing fear that gripped Nikki as the killer taunted and tortured her with clues to the current and past case. Nikki was a strong heroine who would not back down from the case. She wanted to prove the bad guy that he had no control over her life. Nikki is the type of character most of us women can relate too. On the other hand, Tyler was a supportive friend who did whatever Nikki asked. Being an ex-army guy, Tyler was trained in all sorts of missions and skills, so he could lend a helping hand as he comforted Nikki. They both had deaths in their past that they both have been blaming themselves for, but with Bridget missing, both of them learn to lean on each other and let go of some of the blame.
Harris takes a familiar story and lightens with her use of descriptive images. I really felt like I was traveling through the Smoky Mountains. She does a good job at showing me what is happening in the surroundings as much as the tension happening inside and outside Nikki. There is an even amount of prose and dialogue when it is needed. But there is also lots of dialogue during the important moments, which help quicken the pace for the story. I love when a writer does this.
Overall, Vendetta by Lisa Harris is a much better mystery for me. I really enjoyed the characters and the descriptions. I just wish the villain made an appearance sooner.
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars