Exact Revenge Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook
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From Publishers Weekly
The world is Raymond White's oyster: a working-class boy from Syracuse who made good, he's got a Princeton degree, rugged good looks and the gorgeous girlfriend to match, and partner status at a law firm by age 25. But in this lively modern-day retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo, just as White is poised to run for Congress, he is framed for murder, convicted and thrown into solitary confinement. After almost two decades of hard time, White is befriended by a fellow prisoner, lifer, "thief and part-time murderer," Lester Cole. "Exact revenge.... If you don't do it, you'll be a professional victim. You exact it and it's exact. Not just a reaction, but planned out. Precise. It needs to send a message," Cole advises, beginning his tutelage about life, literature and the location of a billion dollars worth of loot that they'll split after they escape. Cole dies in the breakout through the sewers of the Big House, but White goes on to retrieve the money and put in motion his reprisal plan against the former colleagues who framed him for murder. White takes down his enemies one by one in a fun, fast-paced update on the Dumas formula that will have readers booing the bad guys and rooting for the wronged hero.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
In the early 1980s, Raymond White had it all--partnership at a law firm, a beautiful girlfriend about to become his wife, a close relationship with his father the rocker (in a quarry, that is), and the prospect of a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Why, then, when the novel opens, is he trapped in solitary confinement, doing time for a murder he didn't commit? That's the question he tries to answer, and he has plenty of time to work it out: what happened, who set him up, and how he plans to exact revenge. It's clear who masterminded the whole operation from the start, but we don't grasp how deep the deception goes. After 18 years, White is out of prison and dead set on making things right. What follows takes place at a heart-pounding pace, with suspense constantly building in a manner similar to The Fugitive, as White's chase for the truth forces his enemies to start chasing him. Green's writing can still be a bit heavy-handed, but he knows how to get a narrative steamroller moving and keep it going. Mary Frances Wilkens
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Characters: See above; substitute Lexis (sic) for Mercedes. No kidding! And look for a cameo by Bonaparte.
Prose style: Mixture of first person and third person; combines a style that could be called "lawyerish" (a la John Grisham) with an unaffected bluntness that could be called "linemanish."
I didn't really know quite what to make of this book. It is, of course, a modern re-telling of The Count of Monte Cristo, and its thematic elements are virtually the same as the Dumas classic. What, then, is the point? Why bother, other than as an act of ego by the author to proclaim that he's just as good as the masters? But is he, if the whole work is derivative?
These questions troubled me as I read this book. But the story is well-enough told that I decided at last that the motive must be to make the story accessible to modern readers, who can tolerate only short chapters and straightforward prose. On that level, the book works. It is fun reading, just as was the original, and combines fantasy wish fulfillment with ambiguous moral judgments. I don't think there is great art in this -- it is like a masterwork painting duplicated by a talented student -- but it is entertaining. I found it fun to read, even though I sometimes felt guilty taking pleasure in something so derivative, and I recommend it, particularly to those who have not read the original and therefore are free of the burdens of comparison.
This is the story of Raymond White, written in the intensity and with the introspection that a first person narrative allows. The opening lines are "there was a time when people wished that they were me. The only boundaries I had were the limits of my imagination." Raymond had been a highly successful NY attorney, a self-made success about to be nominated for political office and hoping to marry the beautiful woman with whom he was deeply in love. Following the conclusion of a very important deal, he agreed to secretly deliver a letter of unknown contents from a dying Congressman to a local woman in upstate New York. This simple act resulted in his BETRAYAL, his conviction for a murder which he did not commit, and the loss of all he held dear - his father (who died while he was in prison), his job, his girlfriend and for a while his hope for the future. We meet White while he is still in prison - twenty years after his 1985 trial he has stayed alive by committing acts which keep him in solitary confinement and away from the dangers posed by his fellow prisoners.
Suddenly, in another seemingly random event White saves an old inmate named Lester Cole. In gratitude, Cole gradually overcomes White's distrust and skepticism and convinces White that he can in fact not only survive but achieve the impossible, ESCAPE from the supposedly escape-proof Auburn NYS maximum-security prison in which they are incarcerated. Lester also teaches White his three rules of survival at Auburn. The third and most important is "EXACT REVENGE". "If you don't do it, you'll be a professional victim. You exact it and it's exact. Not just a reaction, but planned out. Precise. It needs to send a message." Yes, the double entendre of the title is intentional.
In addition to the hope that Cole's plan offers for potential escape, Cole also eventually comes to trust Raymond enough to confide to him that he has a hidden cache of wealth from his exploits. These have the potential to provide the means for Raymond's establishment of a new identity and his ASCENSION to a position of power which will enable him to achieve the REVENGE which he so desperately desires to inflict on the villains of twenty years ago.
This is a well-constructed story, taut and spare and with an intriguing subplot regarding Raymond's partially Indian heritage. There are also a few shocking twists as the story progresses. The author Tim Green is intimately familiar with upstate NY and is a member of the NYS Bar and his knowledge adds realistic detail to the story. After my enjoyment of THE LETTER OF THE LAW and THE FOURTH PERIMETER, I was terribly disappointed by his one star novel THE FIFTH ANGEL. Thus, I am very pleased that his latest two books, which continue to examine the themes which formed the basis of that book (i.e., the achievement of justice and retribution outside the legal system), have been much more enjoyable and philosophically consistent.
Despite my praise and the fact that the story captivated me, I did not rate it five stars for several reasons, all of which I freely admit are a matter of personal taste. First, taken as a whole the series of coincidences which combined to allow Raymond to create his new identity strained my credibility even while creating a fascinating story. Second, Raymond's desire to exact a full measure of vengeance before he could move forward with that new life and enjoy his good fortune was understandable but very unsettling to me. Third, Green's vision of humanity as revealed in Raymond's acts of revenge, while definitely less dark than that of Dennis Lehane (who is a much better author than Green), still detracts quite a bit from my enjoyment of his work. Thus, for me the conclusion is made somewhat bittersweet by the knowledge of how Raymond arrived there. Nevertheless, this is not only a good story but also has provides the material to form the basis for an interesting philosophical discussion of the interplay of the concepts of revenge and justice.
I generally like Tim Green's work, but this was a real disappointment.
From the beginning of the book, it felt as though the storytelling was offputting. Somehow the introduction of the characters was stilted and ackward.
I usually don't like to have too many details in the stories I read, but this book was incredibly short on the important ones and made me feel as though I was reading a report intead of a thriller.
There was no ebb and flow at all and this book was just a major disappointment.