My novel “Trail of Vengeance” is officially classified as a mystery novel by the publishing industry, although if the truth were told, there is very little mystery involved. Indeed, as soon as readers are introduced to the antagonist, Emile Charpentier, in chapter two, they realize, or at least they should, that this is a very dubious character, not to be trusted—not with your money, and certainly not with your girlfriend. This is not to say that “Trail of Vengeance” is not an enthralling and exciting read. It is full of murder, mayhem and hair-raising scrapes for our protagonist on both sides of the Atlantic, who at one point works undercover in a strip club, and also finds time for a love affair with a man that turns out to be a childhood friend of the man she is pursuing.
“Trail of Vengeance,” then, is an open mystery, a mystery that unfolds similar to the old Peter Falk television series “Colombo.” In Colombo the villain du jour is a fully realized character, often quite glamorous, whose motives are very clear, and who almost gets away with whatever devilish plot he or she has conceived. This usually involves a murder, although the murder is quite often a side effect of the villain’s actual plot.
And so it is with “Trail of Vengeance.” The murder, and subsequently the engine that drives the novel forward, is not a planned assassination, it is merely a by-product of a botched jewelry heist that takes place outside a high-end emporium in Manhattan. But unfortunately for the gang, the victim was the partner, mentor and friend of a very determined and relentless investigator named Detective Lisa Rossi of the NYPD.
“Trail of Vengeance” takes these two characters, the protagonist Lisa Rossi and the antagonist Emile Charpentier, and follows their fascinating and dangerous lives in alternating chapters until they finally meet, in Europe, roughly halfway through the novel. And even then, Lisa is not actually aware that Emile is the man she is hunting. At the time he seems to be merely the jovial former colleague of Lisa’s lover, a French ski instructor named Jean-Loup Caron.
At that point the story’s tension ratchets up anew, through a mountain avalanche in the French Alps, more jewelry heists in Lyon and Paris, and an ultimate chase that takes Lisa through a fishing village in Brittany and back to North America, and finally to St. Pierre, a French fishing station near the Canadian Maritimes, to a deadly face off with Emile on a small fishing boat, as he attempts to disappear into Canada.