The Bottom Line: A timely, high-octane revenge thriller for the #metoo era.
Julie Reichwein’s new thriller is a raw revenge fantasy where fiction meets the real-world fight to stop sexual assault. The story begins as Detective Michelle Velasquez is assigned to two cases, the first of which is the rape of financial company intern Maria Acevedo. The second is a 30-year-old murder case involving her former friend, Susie Murphy.
The connective tissue between the two cases comes in the form of a man, arrogant extreme skier Richard Stanberry III. Reichwein crafts the narrative from alternating points of view, including Velasquez, Acevedo, Stanberry and others. The structure works well enough, although those expecting much mystery or subtlety should look elsewhere. Like the Uma Thurman revenge thriller Kill Bill, Reichwein’s narrative is full-bore from the get-go, and is intended to invoke sympathy and revulsion from readers in equal measure. In this regard, it succeeds. Only a sociopath could come away from Reichwein’s novel without being somehow moved by the heartfelt grief, shame, compassion and violence demonstrated throughout.
References to the #metoo movement – including specific references to Twitter – appear throughout. Those looking for a tangible connection to Fire & Fury, the non-fiction expose on the Trump white house, won’t find one. Given the explosive content, however, one can guess that it may be a reference to the president’s warning to North Korea on Aug. 8, 2017 that he would unleash “fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.” Whether intentional or not, the title is an apt description for the raw emotion on display in this most unusual and effective novel.