Revenge. No, not the Kiss album and not the Jim Harrison-written screenplay staring Kevin Costner, but Mary Morris’ 2004 novel now out in paperback from Picador. Revenge details the complicated relationship between a young painter named Andrea and a famous novelist named Loretta. Andrea is stuck in grief and obsession over an tragic accident involving her father and she turns to her novelist neighbor for support, and also a bit of payback. As a critic from the Chicago Tribune writes, “a thriller doesn’t always need international intrigue, firearms, or even a murder to be exciting. In the right hands, a story of a growing friendship can be as tense as anything publishers would subtitle ‘A Tale of Suspense.’ Revenge is such a novel.”
The best compliment I can pay this novel is that it’s easy to read. I got involved in this book, was ensnared, hurtled along, and before I knew it, I’d read a hundred pages. Don’t mistake that for being simplistic or poor writing like an airport massmarket paperback. This is no Jackie Collins novel. Morris has written a literary novel: the characters are well-developed, scenes are set nicely, and there is just enough foreshadowing to hint at things to come while not being obvious. This book is deceptive in that it’s extremely quiet in execution which is a testatment to Morris’ skill.