Rigors of Revenge

Fiction - Military
375 Pages
Reviewed on 03/13/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite

Tank Gunner’s Rigors of Revenge is a revenge story with a heart. It takes you on a dramatic journey that looks at the psychological effects of war on one man harboring a strong grudge against a single enemy for years. It has been fifty years since the Vietnam War yet Colonel Grady Allen cannot let go of the harrowing memory of a comrade’s death. Following a hit-and-run accident, Allen finds himself in a psychiatrist’s office being questioned about his recurring dreams and nightmares that end the same way. He opens up about wanting to get revenge on the North Vietnamese Army Captain Vo, who killed Sergeant Tommy Franklin. Allen still wants revenge and the opportunity presents itself when he gets a chance to go back to Vietnam. When he finds Vo, Allen will discover an even more painful truth about Franklin’s death, and Vo’s perspective as to who are the real murderers in the war.

Rigors of Revenge is a brilliant story about haunting nightmares and closure. While the author discusses the evils of war, he doesn’t drench the plot in violence as it focuses more on its psychological effects. Tank Gunner skillfully delivers his message and gives depth to the plot and characters with self-aware commentary. By the time the climax arrives, you need to be fully prepared for the dramatic turn, as its revelation leaves you wondering how it will affect a man suffering from deep trauma. You may think you know what you’re getting into with Rigors of Revenge but you don’t, and that’s the beauty of it. Allen is a war veteran whose experience has damaged him, but he refuses to be broken and this storyline holds its own in a sincere way that you will find surprising and compelling. It’s an absolute must-read.

Keith Mbuya

Colonel Grady Allen, a retired US Army and war veteran, cannot help but drown in guilt over some of the decisions he has made in the past. Grady believes it is his fault his wife has died. It is his fault his only daughter is in an unhappy marriage. It is his fault Tommy Franklin, one of his sergeants during the Vietnam War, died at the hands of a North Vietnamese army captain. Grady has always wanted to find Tommy’s killer, Captain Vo, and avenge Tommy’s death. An opportunity to fly to Vietnam presents itself after his grandson wins plane tickets in a contest. Will Grady find Captain Vo? Find out more in Tank Gunner’s Rigors of Revenge.

Lovers of military thriller novels with a touch of mystery and suspense will find Tank Gunner’s Rigors of Revenge an enthralling read. Tank Gunner forges an engrossing plot, anchoring the storyline in a tale of regrets, betrayal, dirty secrets, vengeance, agony, resentment, and so much more. The cast is well-crafted, with their traits boldly brought out. Gunner imbues his words with a remarkable depth of sentiment, highlighting the cast’s emotions. I felt sorry for Malrie for discovering the ugly truth about her husband’s true nature after putting up with what he put her through for so long. Albeit leading me on insightfully, Gunner caught me by surprise with the plot twists. I never saw them coming. The vivid depictions of the scenes had me feeling I was right there beside every character, helplessly watching them make their every move.

Asher Syed

Colonel Grady Allen survives and returns home from the Vietnam war, only to miraculously survive being hit at a high speed by a bank robber in a hit and run, which leads to the decision to return to Vietnam. This is the foundation and launching point of Rigors of Revenge by Tank Gunner, a military novel that blends the lasting impact of old memories and the resurgence of life when one is given a second chance, especially when another is not so fortunate. Allen forms a bond with another veteran who is a member of The Club, an informal collective of veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. One of Allen's desires is to avenge the death of a fellow veteran, Tommy, who was executed by an enemy combatant named Captain Vo at point-blank range. When the opportunity to return to Vietnam comes up, Allen snaps it up and is determined to mete out his own justice.

In Rigors of Revenge, author Tank Gunner handles the topic of PTSD compassionately and spends a lot of the story with veterans who suffer from it. There are a lot of point-of-view characters, one even being the President of the United States, and all the moving parts encircle the character arc that Gunner builds for Allen and his experiences. I would comfortably say that Allen is fully developed as a character and by the book's end we do know him and the motive that drives an overwhelming desire to settle a score. Interestingly, the time allotted to do this takes up less than a sliver of the story and Gunner leans into the journey above a destination. I'd say this is for the best because a reader who has visited Vietnam in the last 10 years may be left scratching their heads at descriptions of Allen's trip. As a good old-fashioned American exceptionalism war and redemption novel, Tank Gunner throws out the kind of red meat that devotees of its will love, and I can promise those readers, they will love this book.

K.C. Finn

Rigors of Revenge is a work of fiction in the military, thriller, and action subgenres. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience for its military content including death and violence and was penned by author Tank Gunner. In this psychologically deep and action-packed work of high drama, we follow the exploits of Colonel Grady Allen fifty years after he served in Vietnam and saw his sergeant, Tommy Franklin, murdered. Now, Grady is in a position to seek revenge, and he vows to track down the former NVA Captain Vo and finally serve justice for the memory of his sergeant.

Author Tank Gunner has crafted a masterful tale with plenty of twists and turns to keep military fiction fans involved, but this novel is also so much more than just a revenge-driven action plot. It’s a tale of an emotive and psychological journey of making peace with our past traumas and the treatment of soldiers and veterans through the years. Grady’s portrayal gives us a truly unique insight into the mind of a former soldier who has faced so much loss, both during his time in service and as an older man, and the journey to work through grief and shock was handled in a firm but sensitive manner. Gunner’s narration affords us an honest and heartfelt showcase of different memories, experiences, and emotions, and I loved the different relationships between friends, colleagues, and even enemies. Overall, this makes Rigors of Revenge an unmissable read for fans of emotive drama and military suspense.

Pikasho Deka

Rigors of Revenge is a slice-of-life drama novel revolving around a Vietnam war vet who struggles to navigate life in old age due to PTSD-induced hallucinations. Written by Tank Gunner, the book follows the story of Colonel Grady Allen, a widower who has just recently survived a near-fatal car crash that puts him in a VA hospital. Grady is frequently plagued by nightmares involving his fallen sergeant Tommy Franklin who died in Vietnam, murdered by an NVA captain named Vo. As Grady listens to the stories of other vets in the hospital, he forms a close friendship with his roommate, former US Marine Tyler Lufkin. As the two veterans come to terms with the rapidly changing world, Grady gets an unexpected chance to visit Vietnam alongside Lufkin. With his mind set on revenge, Grady will discover a shocking truth.

Bittersweet and poignant, Rigors of Revenge tugs at your heartstrings with a moving story about war veterans and their struggles to acclimate themselves to civilian life. Author Tank Gunner draws inspiration from his own life experiences of the Vietnam war and tells an emotionally resonant tale filled with tragedy, heartbreak, humor, and companionship. The characters feel like people you may have met in real life. There is a believable quality to the conflicts and inner struggles of the protagonist, which makes you sympathize with his plight and those of other veterans. I especially enjoyed the friendship between Grady and Lufkin. If you love dramatic stories featuring relatable characters, Rigors of Revenge is right up your alley.