Everyone has moments when they want to let loose and get back at someone who has wronged them (or who they think has wronged them). But revenge is generally frowned upon in modern society, and that’s probably for the best: revenge may be sweet to think about, but it often has unintended consequences for both parties.
Fortunately, we can always turn to books to vicariously enjoy the double-edged pleasure of vengeance. The characters in these thrillers throw caution to the wind in the name of avenging a lover, a child, or a close friend. Inevitably, they get more than they bargained for, adding even more twists and turns to these thorny narratives. So check out the following suspense novels for your daily dose of revenge.
by Dan Simmons
The first in "The Kurtz Series" by Dan Simmons, Hardcase is the dark suspense story of Joe Kurtz, whose need for revenge landed him behind bars and got him entangled with a notorious crime family. Now out of prison and working for the mob, Kurtz had better watch his back, or he may become the target of someone else's vengeance.
When privileged individuals get away with murder, the collective sees that justice is done. But is it justice, really? Grieving mother Camille Gardner must decide for herself as she is pulled deeper and deeper into the collective's twisted world. The Collective, written by award-winning author Alison Gaylin, is now available for preorder. It will be released in November 2021—and this spine-tingling thriller is certainly worth the wait.
by Andrew Holmes
Years ago, the Drake family hired David Shelley to guard their little girl, Emma. Fourteen years later, when Emma seemingly dies by suicide, Shelley once again finds himself in the Drakes' employ, this time to uncover the truth about her death. But the truth, especially when it comes to the type of life Emma was leading prior to her death, may not be something the Drakes want to hear.
Marcus Clay is the owner of a record store in a Washington, DC ghetto, and his wife has just kicked him to the curb—in short, he is a most unlikely hero. But he is the only one who cares enough to even try cleaning up his drug-riddled neighborhood, and that might have to be enough. This is part of George P. Pelecanos's "DC Quartet" series of suspense books.
In The Broken Promise Land, the sixteenth entry in Marcia Muller's long-running "A Sharon McCone Mystery" series, Investigator Sharon McCone faces danger unusually close to home: her brother-in-law, who is also a country music superstar, is the target of a deadly revenge plot.
by Kanae Minato
Translated by Stephen Snyder
After her daughter's death, Yuko Moriguchi's only purpose in life is to get revenge on the individuals she holds responsible: her own students. Moriguchi's last lecture becomes the site of a terrifying showdown that not everyone will survive in Confessions, a gripping work of mystery suspense.
FBI Special Agent Pendergast's determination to avenge his wife's murder drags him across two continents. But what if the woman he is avenging was not who she seemed? Will his vengeance cost him even his happy memories of his beloved wife? Cold Vengeance is part of the "Pendergast" series of mystery books by bestselling authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.
Ming Tsu, a Chinese American assassin, thought his killing days were behind him when he married the beautiful Ada. He should have known better: when Ada is kidnapped and Ming Tsu pressed back into service for a different master, he resolves to go to any lengths to get his revenge. The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu is an unforgettable novel by debut author Tom Lin.
by Sandra Brown
Burke Basile's plan was perfect. All he had to do to get revenge against a hated defense attorney was to kidnap the attorney's wife, Remy. The plan swiftly derails as unexpected feelings erupt between Burke and Remy. Burke now faces both a physical showdown with his nemesis and a personal one with his own past. Written by renowned bestselling author Sandra Brown, Fat Tuesday is an exciting novel filled with romance and intrigue.
by Deon Meyer
There is a serial killer on the loose in Cape Town—but he is only killing dangerous criminals, and the public loves him for it. Inspector Benny Griessel must tread carefully as he seeks to do the right thing. Who is this avenging killer, and what happens when Griessel and the murderer come face to face in the unlikeliest of circumstances? The first of Deon Meyer's "Benny Griessel Mysteries," Devil's Peak is a searing and shocking thriller.
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Eileen Gonzalez is a freelance writer from Connecticut. She has a Master’s degree in communications and years of experience writing about pop culture. She contributes to Book Riot and Foreword Reviews, and she occasionally tweets at @eileen2thestars.