Pinebox Vendetta: A Book Review

The Pinebox Vendetta by Jeff Bond

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From the publisher: “The Gallaghers and Pruitts have dominated the American political landscape dating back to Revolutionary times. The Yale University class of 1996 had one of each, and as the twenty-year reunion approaches, the families are on a collision course.

Owen Gallagher is coasting to the Democratic nomination for president.

Rock Pruitt – the brash maverick whose career was derailed two decades ago by his association to a tragic death – is back, ready to reclaim the mantle of clan leader.

And fatefully in between lies Samantha Lessing. Sam arrives at reunion weekend lugging a rotten marriage, dumb hope, and a portable audio recorder she’ll use for a public radio-style documentary on the Pruitt-Gallagher rivalry – widely known as the pinebox vendetta. What Sam uncovers will thrust her into the middle of the ancient feud, upending presidential politics and changing the trajectory of one clan forever.”

I saw a new book by Jeff Bond offered on BookSirens. When I checked the title, I found it was also available on Kindle Unlimited. So, I used my KU account, borrowed it and got myself comfortable for a new thriller by an author I have appreciated in the past. Out of the three books I have read, this was my least favorite. Although, I just read this may be book 1 in a new series, so maybe the future titles in the series will redeem this one.

The series may be a continuation of the two political families, who have a 200+ year feud going and essentially live on either side of the libera-conservative divide. There is a lot of promise there and Bond has already introduced a variety of characters from both families.

This book was about politics and power and greed. The storyline was limited to a long weekend, but many things occurred during that time. I found most of the characterizations to be sterotypical and stiff. There was a little bit of a twist at the end and that is part of the reason I would be willing (maybe more than) to read the subsequent books in this series.

Throughout this book, the author chose not to use much profanity, some, but not much. He would instead cut off his characters and tell the reader in less offensive words what his character may have said. I found this somewhat off-putting. Maybe I borrowed the PG version from KU? Profane language can easily become offensive. And I have certainly been taken out of a story when the cursing feels abrupt or out of character, but I think this may have been worse. At one point, we get “She strung together four or five curses, a sequence that suggested extreme bodily contortion.” and then the next paragraph begins “She painted another profane image”. This happened multiple times through the story. Not with just one character nor with every character. I found it took me out of the story a bit.

I do believe with the number of small characters, especially from the two feuding families, we could see a greater breadth of good guys and bad guys coming from both sides. I hope in the future installments we will get to see a better balance of strengths and flaws on both sides. There was some good insights from both camps that I thought could have been better explored without assigning one as evil and the other flighty.

With all that said, I will continue to read Jeff Bond’s books. I think he has interesting and original stories. I have faith that writing can be practiced and improved upon, but originality and creativity can not be. I see his originality and will continue reading for it.

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