Book Critique - Vendetta Road (Torpedo Ink #3)
For reviews of all books in the series: Go here
Stars: 3 / 5
Recommendation: Definitely gorier and grittier than the previous series by Christine, yet with strong social elements that will make the reader plow through the plot. Despite more focus on the erotic part of the story, don’t miss this for more about the characters.
Vendetta Road is the third book in the Torpedo Ink Series by Christine Feehan published in January of 2020. The central plot revolves around Isaak "Ice" Koval - Secretary for Torpedo Ink Motorcycle Club - and Soleil Bordeur - a rich lonely woman who has a past that she is running from. The plot picks up from where Vengeance Road ended.
Torpedo Ink is the third series in the Sea Haven Novels – first set The Drake Sisters series and second set the Sisters of the Heart series - with stories revolving around the members of Torpedo Ink Motorcycle Club. The club consists of 18 men and women who had survived the most brutal training schools in Russia. They form a family under the leadership of Victor "Czar" Prakenskii and, finally finding freedom on the road belonging to their club. After years of doing undercover work to hunt the most cruel criminals, they find the town of Sea Haven where they settle and build for the first time a home for themselves, despite the enemies they still have to fight.
In the very first book, Judgement Road, The Torpedo Ink Club, finds that a boy was being auctioned off in Las Vegas and votes to rescue him. And Ice and Storm are tasked to head the operation. I expected that to be the central plot for Vengeance Road, but then Christine veered off a bit. With her story of Ice and Soleil in this plot, she revisits this sub-plot, spinning their tale around it.
Isaak "Ice" Koval is on a mission to rescue the boy that is being auctioned off. But little does he know that in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip and their operation, he would find his soulmate in Soleil Bordeur. And he would do everything in this power to keep her with him.
Soleil is running from a troubled past and lands smack in the middle of the Torpedo Ink Club's celebration of Steele and Breezy's wedding. We met Steele and Breezy in Vengeance Road. There she finds Ice, her fantasy man. Determined to keep him one way or the other, she resorts to every method in her arsenal as well. But the past from their lives catches up and now they have to work together to keep their lives, families and outsmart their rivals.
It is so funny that Christine gives same intentions to both Ice and Soleil in the way they want each other. True to her name, Soleil becomes Ice's sunshine bringing in warmth to his heart, chasing away his demons. Christine created her tailor-made for Ice. However all through the book it made me wonder if Ice would be same to her. Other than sex between them for the first half of the book, not a lot of other factors of Ice are made compatible to Soleil. And then suddenly she shows Ice in a different light and everything makes sense to me as a reader.
Christine does spend almost half the book on one day and night giving readers adventure of rescuing a boy, thrill of killing the bad people and journey into the erotic world between Ice and Soleil. There was so much of repeat paraphrasing in just the first half it made me skip a few paragraphs. I missed the family gathering scene and Czar and Blythe's home that Christine usually gives.
Despite the goriness, explicit sexual content, Christine provides moments where you get tears in your eyes just reading the scene. However the amount of exhibitionism that Ice craves for threw me off. Knowing how cruel their childhood had been, one expects some sort of twisted wiring in all of their brains and that they are trying to make the best out of the situation. However this was a but too much to handle for me. I am glad she made Ice realize that being exhibitionist always isn't right either and gave him a path to move forward to, and yet keep his exhibitionism to a safe zone.
As before, the plot is more gorier and grittier than Christine's other series. It shows the dynamics of a Motorcycle Club, how they are striving to make a life for themselves, their family dynamics, club politics and their goal to weed out the bad. In this book, Christine also adds more background to each of the members of the Torpedo Ink Club, that she hadn't given to us till now. Certainly I am now looking forward to stories of Absinthe, Code, Alena and Savage more than others.
One interesting incident I want to share here. Since I post all my reviews on Goodreads.com as well, I was reached out to by an employee from their site, where she gave an opportunity to ask Christine Feehan a question about this book, Vendetta Road. But then I hadnt read the book yet so I had asked the only obvious question I felt - Why did the book cover for Vendetta Road look so similar to Vengeance Road, it's predecessor. And if they had used the same models. See the pictures below to see what I mean.
And Christine was kindly enough to respond:
I can't say I disagree. I don't create those covers. Those are all done by the publisher. I couldn't even tell you who the models are. I have far more control with the book trailers when it comes to model choices. I think the covers are nice, but those two do look pretty similar. I doubt they'd use the same model, but I'm not sure.
With all of her series’, Christine had some kind of connection between the men and women of the plots – Carpathians chose psychic humans to bond as lifemate, Leopard People chose their mates in every life, Ghoswalkers were paired to each other by the evil scientist Dr. Peter Whitney, Drake Sisters recognized the powers in their other half to take them as husband while the Prankenskii brothers bonded to each of the Sisters of the Heart and one Drake Sister through a connection that burned on their palms.
In each of the series there was some kind of psychic element that tied the men and women. With the Torpedo Ink Series, other than the brutal childhood they all had that connected them, I was trying to figure out if there was any psychic element involved too. It wasn’t clear in the first two books, but in this she does elaborate that every one of them has some kind of psychic powers. Although she doesn’t give in detail what their talents are like her other series. However their partners don’t have psychic abilities tying to them, but the strong sexual chemistry binds them first, before they are tied with mind, heart and soul. I presume that is the link Christine is using to connect each pairs in this series.
Again a very gritty and gorier plot with a lot of f-bombs and open nudity that I still cringe reading sometimes. However, each character's background gives a clear thread for the reader to understand their wiring and the paths they chose. Christine still has a strong back to her plot and does not leave it just as an erotic plot. Yet, I would tread it cautiously and judge the series one book at a time.
1. Plot Reveals:
a. While rescuing the boy, Jimmy, Torpedo Ink Club find that there is a Collector, who finds families that have no other relatives, kill the parents and kidnap the kids. Later sell them to an organization headed by a Russian, where the kids are auctioned off for making "snuff" movies. Is this Russian somehow tied to the schools the Club members went to as kids? A loose end, Terrance Marshall, one of the lower-tier in this group misses from underneath the Club's hands. I presume this tale will continue in future books and Terrance will surface soon.
b. In Bound Together we saw that Walter Sandlin slips out of the Club's grasps. But I don’t remember him being killed in that plot. However, in this plot it is clear that The Club had taken care of him for his atrocities towards his nephew, Kenny. Perhaps it was done in the first book, Judgment Road and I don’t remember that scene.
c. Christine has Maestro and Storm discussing about finding the right woman for them just as Ice, Steele and Reaper have found. Will she have the next plot around one of them?
d. Soleil's ex-fiancée, Winston Trent, is involved with a con artists ring who look for lonely rich women, marry then and then kill them after inhering their properties. And somehow this ring is connected to the pedophile ring that the Club was hunting and taking down one criminal at a time.
e. One more smaller club is interested to getting patched with Torpedo Ink. More to come about them in future books perhaps.
f. Stallion, a member from Twisted Steel Club, fixates on Soleil when she and Ice are having wild exhibiting sex. Christine doesn’t give a closure to that character. Will he be coming back in a future book to give Ice and Soleil some grief?
g. The Club forms a partnership with Inez, who owns a grocery sore in Sea Haven. Another of her store opens in Casper with the Club operating it.
2. Sub- Plots:
a. A misunderstanding between Ilya Prakenskii and Viktor Prakenskii is shown in Bound Together (Sisters of the Heart #6). Lev Prakenskii joins with Ilya on this. Will they resolve their differences?
b. Four children - 3 girls (Lucia, Nicia and Siena) and 1 boy (Benito) - who were saved from the human trafficking ring by Arianna and Maxim Prakenskii in Air Bound are adopted by them and living on the farm.
c. More children adopted by Viktor and Blythe in Bound Together – Darby Henessey, Zoe Henessey, Emily Henessey and Kenny. In this plot Jimmy joins the brood, the boy rescued from the pedophile ring.
d. Twenty-five members from the school that Gavriil Prakenskii had gone to, had survived and want to live a life different than the life they grew up with, join the Torpedo Ink Motorcycle Club chapter for the Trinity area, in Vengeance Road.
e. Newer enemies and threats that the Torpedo Ink Club face:
i. The remaining members of the Swords Motorcycle Club that was taken down including their leader Evan Shackler-Grastos by Drake Sisters, Sisters of the Heart and their husbands the Prakenskii brothers and the Torpedo Ink Club.
ii. In Bound Together, we saw that all the notes left by Viktor never reached their brothers. Then there are the missing tapes of the tortures the Club suffered at the hands of Uri Sorbacov and Kostya Sorbacov since they were kids.
iii. In Judgment Road, the Club comes across a Ghost Club that is using torturing methods the Torpedo Ink members recognize as something from the schools they were trained in. Did the Torpedo Club missed out on taking down a rogue school?
f. The Torpedo Ink Motorcycle Club members tidbits:
i. In Judgment Road, we see that Lucia “Code “ Litvin, the Treasurer of the club, has a friend who is a hacker calling herself “Cat”.
ii. Since Pierce – road captain (enforcer ??) for Diamondback Motorcycle Club – met Alena "Torch" Koval in Judgment Road, a story is brewing between them. Considering that Alena is a fully patched member of their club, which is not accepted in Diamondback, I am curious to see how Christine will spin their tale.
iii. Steele and Breezy have a son, Zane, in Vengeance Road. They get married in this book.
iv. Ice marries Soleil in the middle of this plot.
v. Alena's plans to open a restaurant have been in play since Judgement Road.
g. Prospects and extended members of the Torpedo Ink:
i. Fatei; Glitch; Hyde, Hitch
ii. Harry Bannister, a 60 year old independent biker, who hangs out with Torpedo Ink Club since their settlement in Casper, Sea Haven. He now moved to the apartment over the bar the Club owns.
h. Still makes me wonder though how did Christine come up with the number 17 for this series. A question I would like to ask next time I get an opportunity.
3. Grammatical / Character / Location / Geographical / Historical / Mythological Errors:
a. When Pierce was first introduced in Judgment Road, Christine introduced him as road captain for Diamondback Motorcycle Club. In this book, she calls him as their enforcer. Which one is he? Both?
b. On Pg. 250, Last line, it should be "…with equal care she had…"
c. On Pg. 308, Christine introduces a new prospect for the Club, Hitch. Earlier we saw Hyde as one of them. Is it Hyde and mis-named as Hitch? Or both do exist?