The Vengeance Squad by Sidney W. Frost@PeterWilliam117

The Vengeance Squad by Sidney W. Frost

When Chris McCowan's fiancée, 24-year-old Sarah Eason, is killed during a bizarre robbery near Austin, Texas, an unlikely trio teams up to find those responsible for her death. The trio, Chris, a 31-year-old computer science professor, Percy "Tex" Thompson, a 40-year-old wheelchair bound ex-con student of Chris', and 65-year-old head librarian Liz Siedo, pool their talents to find the criminals after local law enforcement agencies have given up.
Chris wants an eye for an eye even if it means giving up God and the church where he and Sarah were to be married. He sets out to learn the tricks of the trade from his ex-con student, all while continuing to teach and coming to terms with his grief. Angela, who claims to be an FBI agent, joins the Vengeance Squad to help the three find the killers.

The Guru's Review:

I had this book on my To Be Read shelf since April 2012. It was only earlier this year when the sequel, The Vengeance Squad Goes To England, became free on Amazon, that I felt it was about time I read this first one. Then, a few months later, the author discovered my blog and contacted me requesting me to review these two books.
It was the cover that drew me to investigate what this book was about. The man in the wheelchair. I had not read a book with a character in a wheelchair and with my wife suddenly in a wheelchair herself due to a chronic disease, my interest was doubly piqued. I was intrigued how someone with a disability was going to be able to avoid the danger of finding these killers. At the end of the novel Frost more than satisfied my curiosity in this area. I am not a great fan of murder mysteries, but this plot was different to others whose blurbs I had read and I have been very pleasantly surprised.
This is one very easy read and very entertaining. Frost says this about his novels,

I would hope that readers would walk away with a feeling of joy in having read my books. After all, the main goal is entertainment. If some other meaning comes through, it is often unintended.

Having said that, there is also a message of dealing with grief and learning to trust God in such circumstances. From an interview involving this author, I discovered that Frost had experienced the loss of his wife to cancer. Frost says of this,

My second novel, The Vengeance Squad, is about grieving. It was written after my wife died from pancreatic cancer. I experienced the same feelings the fictional character did when his fiancé was murdered during a robbery. Or, should I say he experienced my feelings.

I admire Frost for this, as it really does add credibility to this part of the plot. This would be the take home message in this novel and I pray that any reader who has had or having trouble dealing with grief will find comfort and hope that God is still with them and is there to comfort and restore them and be a stronger, wiser and better person for allowing them to come to terms and be healed from the tragedy of losing a loved one and become more like Him in the process. I must confess, I can identify with Chris' reactions having lost a loved one many years ago and I can say from this that Frost has dealt with this topic very well in this novel.
From reading about Frost from another interview, I found it interesting Frosts' journey becoming an author resulting in his first book, Where Love Once Lived. I have not read this one yet, but reading The Vengeance Squad, I can see that the end result of his journey is one well written and constructed novel and he showcases his talent and creativity well as a new author. Just goes to show that it is never too late to follow one's dreams once God gets hold of it and it is left in His control. I encourage any reader to read this interview; it gives a good insight into this author and knowing some of any author's background enhances the reader's experience and appreciation of their novels.

Frost has created some very relational characters, from the lovable, grandmother type in Liz Siedo, head librarian, from the street smart ex-con, Percy "Tex" Thompson, to the tough and mysterious Angela, who claims to be an  FBI agent. Rather an eclectic group, but who work well together in searching for Sarah's killers. Each has different and diverse talents or occupational expertise that when combined, are very successful in not only finding the killers, but thwarting their end game to kill the POTUS. While their methods are not depicted as action packed or fast paced with unseen twists and turns that you expect from more involved and complex plot structure, the methods used by The Vengeance Squad reflect their individual expertise and fits in very well with the general pace and flavour of this novel with its sub-plots of Chris' grief and Tex's continued quest to better himself from his past and his estrangement from his parents.

I became very fond of all of these characters. Liz makes me laugh the way she wants to hug everyone whether they want it, need it or expect it. Tex is very enthusiastic about using his talents and darker side of his life experience on the streets as an ex-con to educate Chris and prepare him to avenge the death of Sarah. Angela adds an element of mystery while offering the Squad her expertise, but not confirming which side she is on or whether she is an FBI agent, but proves to be one very tough and reliable Squad member and invaluable to them at the end. And speaking of the end, there is evidence of an attraction between Chris and Angela and I rejoiced here as this showed that Chris was coming to terms with his grief and learning to live again.

I also loved the element of the supernatural with the visit of an angel in the guise of a prison chaplain that provided Chris with just what he needed to be reconciled to God and to get his grief in the correct perspective, so he could "let go and let God" to quote familiar Christian jargon. Although a very short account in this novel, it was very effective in adding a touch of tenderness to Chris realising his need for God and that he had been wrong in blaming God for Sarah's demise and abandoning his faith. From this point on, the novel is strengthened with Chris' newly restored relationship and forms a pivotal point in the action and pace of the novel increasing until the very satisfying end where all the loose ends are wrapped up, but with an obvious tie in to the sequel.
I am glad I discovered this novel and author Sidney W. Frost. I am looking forward to reading the sequel, The Vengeance Squad Goes To England. I have decided also to read his other two novels, and I very rarely read in the romance genre, Christian based or otherwise, but if I let the influence of the reviews from these two novels have their affect, I am in for a treat!

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