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May 27, 2023

The Revenge List by Hannah Mary McKinnon ~ a Review & Excerpt

by MK French


Frankie Morgan had a rough life with many losses, and now she's in an anger management group. She makes a list of all the people who have wronged her, and her name is on the list as well. She doesn't think about it again until she realizes she lost the list and everyone on it is dying off in bizarre accidents. If she can't figure out what's happening, she could be next.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of domestic thriller The Revenge List by Hannah Mary McKinnon
May 2023; MIRA; 978-0778333463
audio, ebook, print (368 pages); domestic thriller

Frankie is an angry, irritable woman. Everything sets her off, and she takes it out on whoever is around her. It escalates quickly; we know it's just over a week because we open with an intense drive, and chapter two begins ten days earlier. She resents the world and wasn't a fan of the anger management class or the idea of making a list of people she hated so that she could forgive them. The accidents didn't always end up in death, but they happened fast and at random along her list, so the guilt regarding her list drove her further into her anger. As she contemplated each name, we learned why she hated them, and the wrong each one did to her. She didn't have it easy, and all those who manipulated her or took advantage of her meant that I felt sorry for her even as she kept screwing up.

As the story escalated, I was constantly surprised. First, by how far Frankie went to try to figure out what was going on, then by her capacity for forgiveness after all. The actual killer was a surprise, and the ending was a shocker. This is an excellent and tightly wound suspense thriller, that I stayed up late to finish. I had to know what happened next, and it was absolutely worth it.

Buy The Revenge List at Amazon

Read an excerpt from The Revenge List

CHAPTER ONE
***

The sharp sound of a high-pitched scream filled the air. A noise so unrecognizable, at first I didn’t register it had come from deep within me, traveling up my throat in stealth mode before bursting from my mouth.

The remnants of the yell reverberated around the car, forcing their way into my ears and penetrating my skull, urging me to do something. Survival instincts kicked in, and I fumbled with the seatbelt, my other hand grasping for the door handle. The need for the relative safety that solid, stationary ground would bring was so intense it made my stomach heave. A loud click of the central locking system meant my captor had outsmarted me again, obliterating my immediate plan to throw myself from the moving vehicle.

When I looked out the windshield, I knew there was no time to find an alternate escape. The end of the road—the edge of the cliff—announced by signs and broken red-and-white-striped wooden barricades, had been far enough away seconds ago but now gleamed in the car’s headlights, a looming warning yards ahead. I couldn’t comprehend what was about to happen, couldn’t do anything as the vehicle kept going, splintering planks and racing out the other side with nothing but air below. I let out another scream, far louder than my first, the absolute terror exploding from my lungs.

For the briefest of moments, we were suspended, as if this was a magic trick or an elaborate roller coaster. Perhaps, if I were really lucky, this was all a dream. Except I already knew there were no smoke and mirrors, no swirling track leading us through loop-the-loops and to safety. It wasn’t a nightmare I’d wake from with bedsheets wrapped around my sweaty body. This was happening. It was all terrifyingly real.

As the car continued its trajectory, it tipped forward. The only thing to stop our momentum was whatever we were rushing toward, obscured by the cloudy night skies. Pushing my heels into the floor, I tried to flatten my shoulders against the seat. My hands scrambled for the ceiling to brace myself, but I flopped like a rag doll, my loosened seatbelt tearing into my shoulder.

They say your life flashes before you when you’re close to death. That didn’t happen to me. Instead, it was all my regrets. Choices I’d made. Not made. Things I’d said and done. Not said. Not done. It was far too late to make amends. There would be no opportunity to beg anyone for forgiveness. No possibility of offering some.

As the finality of the situation hit me full on, I turned my head. The features of the driver next to me were illuminated in a blueish glint from the dashboard lights. His face had set in a stony grimace; his jaw clenched so tight he had to have shattered teeth. But what frightened me the most were his eyes, filled with what could only be described as maniacal delight.

He’d said we were both going to die. As the car hurtled to the bottom of the cliff, I closed my eyes and accepted he was right.

***
Excerpted from The Revenge List by Hannah Mary McKinnon, Copyright © 2023 by Hannah McKinnon. Published by MIRA Books.


Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.



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