Fiction - Short Story/Novela
100 Pages
Reviewed on 05/09/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite

Retribution is an exciting and engaging prequel novella in the Jason Conrad USAF thriller series by Michael Byars Lewis. Three story lines converge in the character of Jason Conrad, a married newly-commissioned lieutenant in the Air Force who is about to start Undergraduate Pilot Training. First, his personal life and a marriage showing the signs of cracks and fissures. Second, his (unbeknownst to most of the world) politician father, who is about to engage in a run for the office of President of the United States and doesn’t need it known that Jason or his mother exist. And third, a distraught man, a total stranger to Jason, shoved to the edge of insanity and seeking revenge after the brutal murder of his wife and children in Rwanda.

If you like fast-paced suspenseful stories that blend a complex plot with characters that run the gamut from nice guys to assassins, and blend political conspiracy and touches of psychological thriller into the mix for good measure, you’ll like Retribution. Lewis introduces the beginnings of the Jason Conrad thriller series in a novella that is packed with all the punch of a novel. With its flowing narrative, crisp dialog, page-turning action, plot surprises, and some interesting military history along the way, this is the kind of book you don’t want to put down until the very last page. Jason Conrad is a superb protagonist, humanly flawed but with that tough-mindedness and courage you expect in an Air Force pilot. I haven’t read the other books in the series, but this certainly inspires me to do so. Highly recommended.

Dr. Oliva Dsouza

Jason Conrad is due to join the United States Air Force pilot training school shortly. His wife, Brittany, a former actress, works as a waitress and Jason hopes to turn around their financial condition and life by joining the United States Air Force. In the meantime, he is offered the opportunity of a lifetime to participate in a flypast in the United Kingdom to celebrate the 50th anniversary of D-Day. Jason jumps at the offer and is thrilled at getting the chance to live his dream. But, somewhere a crazed killer has made other plans. As Jason takes off on his flight of fancy, the plan is set in motion. Will Jason succeed in doing the right thing? Read Retribution by Michael Byars Lewis to find out what really happens in this nail-biting thriller.

If there is a book that has kept me on the edge of my seat, waiting for what happens next, then Retribution by Michael Byars Lewis is the one. The novella is a prequel to the Jason Conrad, United States Air Force thriller series. It has all the right ingredients to keep readers hooked to the story from start to finish and the exciting plot makes the blood rush through your veins. The minute and in-depth details make the story sound very authentic. Jason's character is well etched and piques the reader's interest to discover what will happen to him. Definitely worth a read and I am really looking forward to the sequels.

Paul F. Johnson

In Retribution, by Michael Byars Lewis, Senator Jonathan Bowman wants to be president, and his right hand man, Sterling MacIntosh, will do whatever it takes to make that happen. Senator Bowman has the reputation of being a swinging bachelor and can’t afford any type of scandal. If it gets out that he has an ex-wife and an illegitimate son that have been kept secret, his campaign will be over. Sterling MacIntosh is going to make sure that never happens. That’s where newly commissioned Lieutenant Jason Conrad, USAF, comes in. Jason has contacted his father and MacIntosh must cease any further contact.

Jason is scheduled for flight training in a couple of months, but before he leaves his mother has offered him an opportunity he can’t pass up. Jason will fly to England, and then fly in a WWII B-25 for the 50th Anniversary of the D-Day celebrations. For Jason, it’s the adventure of a lifetime. But things are not exactly what they seem. A mentally unstable serial killer has other plans, plans that will culminate with his final revenge. When Jason is accidentally caught up in the middle of the killer’s plans, maybe it wasn’t such a grand adventure after all...

Retribution is an exciting thrill ride from beginning to end. Great characters and an outstanding, if short, plot. Some years back I had the privilege of reading and reviewing Mr. Lewis’s book Surly Bonds so I looked forward to reading this one. I was not disappointed. Many people shy away from novellas, but this one fitted the bill perfectly as a lead in to Surly Bonds. Do yourself a favor, and read both. Retribution is a good story that ended too soon for me.

Sarah Stuart

Retribution is the prequel to Surly Bonds and the ideal place to start reading Michael Byars Lewis’s Jason Conrad aviation thriller series. It opens with a bang, literally, that fortunately does not directly involve Lieutenant Jason Conran, USAF pilot. Jason is a well-rounded character, with a mom who worries, and Bethany, his ambitious but unsuccessful model and actress wife. However, nothing is simple in the world of politics, and if a certain senator has his way, Bill Clinton won’t be serving a second term in the White House, but nobody has mentioned murder, or conspiracy, or international ramifications, or not to Jason. What the man aiming to make a fortune out of manipulating a presidential election has to say is something else.

Michael Byars Lewis is an author to watch. He creates an authentic, detailed scenario for Retribution, an expertly-written setting, plus of course, accurate action. It’s a joy to read a book that takes you so effortlessly into a different world: no “not sure I believe that” or “surely a bit OTT”, and it’s all down to the characters that step off the page to meet you. Jason himself starts out very bohemian, and he remains true to himself in his military career and his entanglement with a hijacking when the Grim Reaper goes along for the ride. “Swift-paced” doesn’t do Retribution justice. It travels at a flat-out gallop through the week between its explosive opening and the tempting epilogue. It begs to be made into a movie; it ran like one in my head.

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

Retribution is the prequel to Michael Byars Lewis’s highly acclaimed Jason Conrad Thriller Series. After recently graduating from college, Jason Conrad is now a 2nd Lieutenant in USAF. His dream is about to come true; in two months he will begin military pilot training. While visiting his mother in New Orleans, she surprises him with a once in a lifetime opportunity. The 50th Anniversary of the D-Day invasion will be commemorated in a grand celebration in Europe. Jason’s mother has arranged for him to be a member of a B-25 flight crew. Jason would be a “part of making history while honoring history.” However, one member of the four-man flight team is on the brink of insanity. His mission is one of vengeance, not of celebration. Jason’s excitement to honor the brave aviators of WWII escalates into his own life or death flight in the skies above Normandy.

Retribution by Michael Byars Lewis is an adrenaline surging, heart-pounding action adventure. Make sure you sit back, with your tray tables secured and your seat belts fastened. Retribution soars, dips, spins and dives with its fast-paced action. Lewis quickly lays out the plot, introduces and intertwines his characters with high-velocity finesse, while skillfully depicting the conflict of a man driven by revenge. Lewis does a superb job of portraying the emotions of a grieving “unhinged human being.” As a reader, you understand the villain’s turmoil but are shocked by his unfathomable premeditated acts. The hero is young, virile, and smart. So young that he hasn’t mastered the art of relationships. The primary unfinished element of the hero’s character development resides in the relationship with his estranged father. With clever intrigue, Lewis allows a peek into the future escapades of James Conrad. Retribution is only the beginning; the prequel baits and hooks, and then reels you into the thrilling adventure series.