Still Life with a Vengeance

Fiction - Literary
305 Pages
Reviewed on 10/18/2021
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Author Biography

I lives in Gloucestershire, England (UK). I'm a former English teacher with an MA in Creative Writing. 'Still Life with a Vengeance' is my eighth published novel. I decided to tell this story from the point of view of Eve - the wife of the accused rock star - because I wanted to explore the consequences such allegations might have on both the accused and their innocent loved ones.

    Book Review

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.

K.C. Finn

Still Life with a Vengeance is a work of fiction in the drama and suspense subgenres and was penned by author Jan Turk Petrie. Containing themes of sexual crime, explicit language, and graphic situations, the work is best suited to the mature adult reading audience. A harrowing drama about a relationship put to its toughest test as we find ourselves following the life of Eve Quenington married to Nick, a global rock star whose lifestyle affords them every luxury. But behind closed doors, Eve’s difficulty in conceiving a child eats away at her, and her hopes of adoption are suddenly jeopardized when Nick and his band are accused of drugging and raping a fan. What follows is a tale of a woman trying to stand by her man as her life collapses and seeds of doubt creep in.

Author Jan Turk Petrie delivers an absolutely sensational work of realistic drama and emotive fiction in Still Life with a Vengeance. The premise is somewhat dark and gritty, but it is delivered in a balanced fashion that is never sensationalized or used for shock value. I was fascinated by Nick’s portrayal and how it shifted during the narrative. It takes a skillful writer to set up a seemingly reliable narrator like Eve and then slowly take us through her different mental states and explorations, changing perceptions as we go and delivering some very shocking narrative twists. Alongside stellar dialogue and excellent pacing, all of this makes Still Life with a Vengeance a highly engaging read and one that I would recommend to all fans of suspenseful interpersonal drama.

Vincent Dublado

Sleek, glossy, and passionate, Still Life with a Vengeance by Jan Turk Petrie is an exercise in how much one can stand in the face of great controversy. The story centers on the seemingly perfect life of Eve Quenington, who is married to Nick, a famous rock guitarist. The union is almost perfect, except that they have not been blessed with a child. As Eve begins to consider adoption, Nick is embroiled in a huge scandal that threatens his career. He tells Eve that some girl is trying to earn a few quid by making up crazy allegations about the band: a girl who claims that they slipped something into her drink and subjected her to a drug-fuelled orgy. Media vultures are quick to prey on the story, but Eve chooses to believe Nick’s innocence. But more accusations pop up, and it is beginning to hurt Nick’s career. Eve begins to suspect that Nick is lying. As she gets dragged into the scandal, her tragic past will be uncovered too.

You can expect many things to go bad for Eve and Nick, and a lot of them are obligatory situations in stories about sex scandals that plague famous people. What is unusual this time is that Jan Turk Petrie gives it that Me Too Movement feel, where more claimants emerge, and both the accusers and the accused are heartbroken. What are the odds that even the wife who chooses to stand by her husband is not spared from the media’s unjust scrutiny to unearth a dark episode in her own family? You can expect an intense drama about sexual assault and also a whodunit element as the story touches on a subplot about the death of Eve’s parents. Still Life with a Vengeance is a well-written drama that I highly recommend for its meaty storyline.