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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
Still Life with a Vengeance by Jan Turk Petrie is a modern-day love story set against the background of a successful rock band. Eve Quenington is married to musician and guitarist Nick Quenington, whose band is a worldwide success story. Living in a country mansion, it seems like Eve and Nick indeed have it all, but dark clouds are looming on the horizon. When a woman claims that Nick and two of the other band members drugged and raped her in Berlin after a concert several years earlier, the supposed video footage of the orgy circulates on the internet. Their band is shunned by concert promoters, radio DJs, and the public in general. Initially, Eve stands by her husband and tells the relentless tabloid press that this isn’t the man her husband is and that she believes in him. When details of Eve’s own tragic past surface in the press, she can’t take it anymore, and her mind begins to doubt her husband’s assertions.
Still Life with a Vengeance is an interesting criticism of the power of social media today to influence and dictate people’s perspectives. Author Jan Turk Petrie has developed two characters that are true-to-life and extremely believable; the aging rock star, who is looking to settle down and establish a “normal” life after the headiness of early success, and a woman seeking to escape her tragic past and build a new private life, despite the intrusive aspects of social media and the rapacious scandal-seeking press. I particularly enjoyed the relationship between Eve and her next-door neighbors, who had a deep understanding of the difficulties she felt, walking the tightrope of supporting her husband and yet still being beset by doubts and haunted by her own past history. The plot was extremely well developed and contained enough little twists and turns to keep any reader interested. The writing flows seamlessly, and the story is easy to read in one sitting, as I did. This was an enjoyable read and one I can highly recommend.