ABEL’S REVENGE – A man on the edge. A city in danger.
A serial killer named Abel is stalking the streets of the city. The growing terror and rising crime rate have the city on edge and the police can do little. Partners Olivia and Dan, like others in the city, are stressed and alienated. Their relationship is crumbling, with Olivia planning to leave the country with their two children. When Olivia is threatened by Abel, the two must come together to survive.
Theme of the Book
Abel’s Revenge is a dark novel of alienation, fear, and loneliness. Abel himself is a perfect example of an alienated, solitary, vengeful character. Olivia and Dan, though living together and sharing two children, are isolated and each, in his or her own way, is alone. There is a glimmer of light at the end with what the reader hopes will be the resurrection of love between them.
What I Liked About the Story
Mr. Greenwood has peopled this novel with some of the most unappealing characters I have ever read about. The unidentified Abel is frightening, cold, and determined to have revenge for some unspecified hurt in the past. Dan, partner of Olivia, sinks into depression when their relationship falls apart. He drinks too much, ignores his children, complains constantly about his job or lack thereof, the city he lives in, his relationships with others. Olivia, while the most sympathetic character, has her faults as well. She constantly criticizes Dan and is more concerned with her children and her career than with her partner.
Having said this, the characters (aside from Abel) are definitely true to life. Dan and Olivia are beautifully drawn. Even the secondary characters are carefully portrayed and believable. Mr. Greenwood has a real talent for making his fictional characters come alive on the page.
The majority of the book concerns Dan and Olivia with Abel appearing infrequently to describe his reign of terror. The problems faced by Dan and Olivia will be familiar, in a less serious way one hopes, to all adult readers. The reader is given the chance to see their relationship from both sides and is privy to the intimate details of their partnership. This was a fascinating glimpse into the inner workings of an almost-marriage and the levels of maturity of both partners.
The plot moves quickly right up until the end.
What I Didn’t Like About the Story
On its Amazon page, Abel’s Revenge is described as a gripping serial killer thriller. I must disagree. I found the novel gripping but would hardly describe it as a thriller. There is little of the normal tension and fear present in most serial killer novels. In fact, the serial killer seems almost an afterthought used as a way to demonstrate the mental illness of one of the characters. (I cannot say here which character is meant because I don’t want to give away the ending.) If Mr. Greenwood’s purpose was to write a serial killer thriller, he missed the mark. If he wished to write about mental illness, he shouldn’t have saved that topic until the end.
I was quite disappointed in the ending. Having given the reader a number of red herrings, Mr. Greenwood chose the least likely character as the killer. It simply didn’t make sense to me.
As a character study of damaged people struggling to form lasting relationships, Abel’s Revenge is a wonderful book. As a serial killer thriller, it doesn’t quite make it.