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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Vengeful by AJ Parnell lives up to its chosen genre as a psychological thriller. Luke Bolton is a college professor who was critically wounded after trying to save a student from getting shot. If you think this is going to give him a hero status and elevate his standing in the community, the opposite happens as he sinks into depression from self-blame, thinking that he should have saved more students. He starts seeing a counselor named Abigail Davies, and this leads to a more intimate encounter. Emily Marquez is a student who survived the shooting who also suffers from self-blame, thinking that the whole incident was her fault, and Luke has been trying to help her. Emily calls Luke to say her last goodbye before she dies, and Luke could do nothing but rush to Abigail for comfort. This whole new incident will put a strain on Luke and Abigail’s relationship, and Luke, after surviving an overdose of medication, will be visited by ghosts, including Emily’s. They are all seeking justice for their deaths that they claim to have been masterminded by Abigail.
Vengeful is dark and foreboding, the kind of psychological thriller that keeps you awake at night. The delicious, creeping fear makes it a page-turner. AJ Parnell chips away at the workings of a disturbed mind piece by piece, and you either believe that Luke sees ghosts or it is simply the phantasmagorical workings of his troubled psyche. The novel has a brilliant effect on your senses. Everything is slowly pieced together by the mystery of a sinister agenda. Luke is an ideal flawed hero. He moves into the story with heavy baggage, and his unsettled issues make him believable. He faces uncertainty, and this is something that will keep you on edge. You will want to know what will happen next. For anyone who wants a compelling psychological thriller that will surely perk up your senses, Vengeful is the book to pick.