The Revenge List by Hannah Mary McKinnon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
**3.5-stars rounded up**
In The Revenge List we follow Frankie Morgan, a single-woman living in Portland, Maine, who works as a Project Manager for her Dad’s construction company.
Frankie has had some difficult times in her life, beginning with the hit-and-run accident that killed her Mom when Frankie was just a teen.
Since that time, things have snowballed. Now Frankie finds herself a barely functioning adult, filled with anger, guilt and growing list of regrets.
It doesn’t matter where she is, or who she is dealing with. Frankie has a short fuse and zero restraint when it comes to her reactions. There’s no take a deep breath and count to ten in her playbook.
After an explosive incident at work involving a very important client, Frankie’s Dad is fed up. Her temper is having a major impact on their family and their business.
As luck would have it, a woman he is friendly with leads a local anger management group. It is arranged that Frankie will start attending; required, not requested.
At her first session, one of the tasks is to create a list of people to forgive. People who have angered her in the past that she will now forgive. Even though she thinks it a little silly, Frankie goes along with it and records her list in her favorite notebook, the one with sunflowers on the cover.
In the events of the evening that follows, Frankie sort of forgets about the list. It was just an exercise, it doesn’t mean anything, but then the list goes missing.
Shortly thereafter, individuals on her list start getting injured in very bizarre ways. At first, after the first one or two, Frankie thinks it must be a coincidence, but three? And it’s starting to get closer to home?
Is Frankie losing it, or is someone actually targeting the people on her forgiveness list?
Desperate to get to the bottom of it before it’s to late, Frankie begins to investigate the harmful incidents. Things get wild and crazy from there. Trust no one.
I had a lot of fun reading this. I had been looking forward to it for a while, having really enjoyed previous works from Hannah Mary McKinnon.
I enjoyed the choices that McKinnon made in telling this story. For example, it felt refreshing to have just one-POV.
I feel like for the past two or three years, the vast majority of stories that I’ve read have featured dual, or multiple, POVs. And while I love that, I also liked getting the chance to just ride out this entire narrative with Frankie.
I felt like because of that choice, I genuinely got to know Frankie’s character and it felt important to hear it all from her. It gave great insight into the reasons why she was the way she was. It made her actions make sense.
In some ways, she’s not a super likable person, but I felt myself really empathizing with her and connecting with her. She’s like that friend who you love, but who always makes the stupidest choices and you just want to grab her by the shoulders and shake the heck out of her.
The best part about Frankie’s journey was watching the growth she made as a character. I wasn’t expecting much in that regard, but I loved how McKinnon gave her room to learn and change.
When you first meet Frankie she is bogged down in her anger. It literally feels like she is being crushed by it. It’s palpable. As she evolves over the course of the story, you can feel that weight dropping off. It was impressive to me how McKinnon was able to capture that feeling so well.
As far as the overriding plot went, I was super intrigued in the first half. I had no clue what was happening. Then there was a bit of a shift and I felt like the answer was then obvious, but I was still invested in following along with Frankie as she got the evidence she needed.
I would say it’s a slow-burn story, but the tension does continue to build throughout. Additionally, it gets bat-poop crazy at the end, so be prepared. Grab your popcorn and be prepared to yell at the book. I did.
And the ending!? Don’t even get me started. I mean, I can’t say anything, but like, Hannah!? Hannah Mary McKinnon!? What the?
It made me so devilishly happy, but also…
Overall, I had a fun time with this one, I really did. I enjoyed it from beginning to end. I also feel like this one is going to stick in my head for a while.
Thank you so much to the publisher, MIRA, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I can’t wait for more from this author!