Retribution, a review by Joanna

posted in: Joanna | 0


Sarah Barrie

Published November 30th, 2022

Harlequin Australia

384 pages


Retribution is the second instalment in the Lexie Winter series, set in Central New South Wales, Australia, about a young hacker/vigilante who has survived childhood abuse and a serial killer and is now a probationary police officer – but who struggles with rules. You definitely need to have read the first book, Unforgiven, to understand Lexie’s back story and her relationships with Finn and Rachael. This is a dark, violent story about the dangerous underbelly of Australian society, and while plenty of suspension of disbelief is required, the fast paced action had me gripped to the end.

After a police operation targeting the younger members of a notorious crime family goes horribly wrong, Lexie, injured but resolute, vows to take them down by any means necessary. Meanwhile Rachael is helping the federal police, who are still pursuing the violent paedophile who escaped custody in Unforgiven, and Finn is called to a suspicious death on a building site. As links between the cases begin to emerge, the villains always seem to escape formal justice, so maybe Lexie’s unconventional methods are the only way?
I do enjoy female vigilante stories, and Lexie, with her sarcastic humour and out of the box thinking, is a great addition to the genre. This was a twisty thriller with well developed and likeably flawed central characters. I had a few minor issues: Lexie’s POV is told in first person present, while everyone else’s is third person past, and the perspectives sometimes shift quite abruptly. Also the dialogue is written in a way that often made it hard to know who was saying what. There’s a lot going on here, and a high body count that made me sceptical that this would all have been left in the hands of the local police – and that Lexie would get away with as much as she does, but this didn’t stop me enjoying it immensely. I look forward to reading more of Lexie’s adventures – and the return of one of the best characters from the first book! 4.5 rounded down for the present tense.
Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Australia for the ARC.

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