Review of ‘Pledge to Kill’

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Debra Hayes sister, Jane, was gang-raped when she was a high school student in the little town of Decker, Texas. A head injury left her brain damaged and institutionalized. A decade later, Debra, under an assumed name is back in Decker, and she takes over the town dentist’s practice. But, her mission is not dentistry; it’s to avenge her sister.

Pledge to Kill by Judy Goodspeed follows Debra from her teen years as she formulates a complicated plan to find and punish her sister’s attackers. While the reader can sympathize with her desire for revenge, she comes across as a selfish, self-absorbed vigilante who buries all traces of humanity under a blanket of anger and vengeance. At times, the reader is almost able to have some sympathy for her, and then she does something to show that she’s been totally taken over by a need to inflict pain on those she blames for her sister’s condition.

The plotting of this story is competent, though marred by too much detail that does little to explain her obsession. The tempo of the story is uninspiring, with far too much busy work, such as the details of her fixing a meal. Too much telling, and not enough showing, makes reading it an effort.

It only gets really interesting near the end when the main character is faced with a situation where she should learn that vengeance can be as damaging to the avenger as to the target, but is unable to. This has the potential to be a really great story, maybe even one with cinematic potential, but it needs some serious line editing to work out the boring parts, and do more showing of what the character is experiencing rather than the telling.

The author has potential that can be realized with some more serious proofreading and line editing.

I would sincerely like to rate it higher, but can only give it two and a half stars.


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