The Conviction: Enacting Vigilante Justice by John Mathews

Published: 25th January 2015Goodreads badge
 Self Published
Pages: 72
Format: Ebook
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

Two criminals are responsible for an innocent man getting sentenced to life for murder. An inept defense attorney and a crooked prosecutor are the other players in this case of egregious American corruption.

The four of them have been lured into a trap in an abandoned warehouse. Someone wants vengeance. This is a story of vigilante justice for the wrongfully convicted. Marked doors lead to four locked rooms, one where each of them will have to pay a price for what they have done. What will they be required to do in order to survive?

This riveting crime thriller puts the American justice system in public view and will keep you guessing until the very last scene. A dark masked figure watches…waits…and wants revenge.

Note: I was provided with a copy of this book from the author for review.

This short story is an interesting take on the idea of vigilante justice with entrapment, mind games, and threats all playing a part. There is drama and suspense and a multitude of questions about who is behind the elaborate set up. There is mystery and unanswered questions that are hidden from the reader as well as the characters, but small clues and snippets of information make an already mysterious situation complex and even more curious.

Narrative wise the story flowed quite well and Matthews tells the story with care, keeping it interesting and engaging, while also holding back when needed. The dialogue didn’t have much life, and the conversation between character seemed stiff, not really connecting with one another, and yet at times Matthews captures the panic and desperation they feel quite well as their situation looks dire and the begin to turn on one another.

The characters themselves are terrible people in all honesty, but that is why they have found themselves in their current predicament. I didn’t really engage with who they were aside from casting casual judgements on them based on what they did, but not caring about them didn’t really bother me as I was more focused on the developing mystery and game play element than realising how one dimensional they were.

Away from the characters, and to Matthews’ credit, the story itself was clever and it never goes where you expect. From early on it intrigued me and this was maintained as the story progressed with a lot packed into such a short story. There are surprises and revelations that change what you though would happen and what you thought had happened.

I liked the idea of the vigilante justice and the mystery figure orchestrating the entire thing was great and led to all manner of creative theories on who he possibly was. When the man behind the curtain is finally revealed it was certainly unexpected and I can imagine it would split readers to either liking it or disliking it. Personally I wasn’t a fan of how Matthews chose to end it, one because I thought it was going in a totally different direction, and two it immediately seemed unbelievable which flattened the anticipation that had been building from the start. Having said that it was different, and creative in its own way, and it was completely unexpected.

You can purchase The Conviction via the following

Amazon | Amazon Aust

A Game of Greed and Deception by John Mathews

Published: 13th October 2014Goodreads badge
 Self Published
Pages: 186
Format: ebook
Genre: Thriller
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

She is young and beautiful, and recently married to a very wealthy middle-aged man who considers her to be the ultimate woman for him and holds her out as a model for his beloved 10-year-old daughter. They travel to a mountain hideaway to celebrate their first year together as a family when things begin to unravel. Her husband goes missing after a treacherous car accident, and the wife and daughter seem trapped and isolated and stalked from both inside and outside the cabin.

What ensues is the story of a woman driven by her soulless greed and self-entitlement, and a man who is wronged and apparently out to get revenge. This deadly game of cat and mouse will keep you on the edge of your seat. The macabre scenes include deadly traps and medieval torture devices, hidden doors, secret rooms, and an underground labyrinth of torture chambers. Add in the legend of a hoard of pure gold bars, and it becomes clear that someone has a much bigger plan in mind and will let nothing get in their way. But who? This is the story of a plot so devious that it is set up to fool the State police investigation. But can it fool you? Keep guessing until the final scene as to what is really going on and let your intuition guide you.

Note: I was provided a copy of this book for review

From what appears to be an obvious beginning, this story soon unfurls into something quite unexpected. While on the surface it seems clear what is happening it soon becomes evident that there is a lot more to this story than meets the eye.

The narrative is complicated and certainly shocking and a tad sadistic at times, but there is no doubt it is also quite captivating and filled with intrigue. The writing is clever and well thought out, and each character is presented well. Mathews’ use of his characters only adds to the thrill of the story and their role in the unfolding events brings about some of the more shocking and unexpected moments.

There are shocks and twists in almost every aspect of the story, not just from the actions of characters and events around them, but about the characters themselves as the intensity and stress of their environment reveal more of their true nature. Amidst the drama there are many guilty and innocent alike, each caught in the web of personal gain and pure cruelty, something which makes the chaos more unsettling as it means anything could happen.

The way Mathews presented this cat and mouse story was wonderful, especially coupled with characters who are clearly unbalanced and slightly psychopathic almost to their own admission. The ensuing conflict and consequences are depicted with style, Mathews never wavering from his characters nature, making their actions believable and justifiable, even if only to themselves.

What made this story enjoyable is that you really did not know how it was going to end. After starting out so simple and transparent, it is not long before it is clear nothing is as it seems and anything is possible. One of Mathews’ strengths is toying with the reader and giving them the unexpected. There are twists and surprises and there are multiple mysteries to keep you guessing. The fast paced action means there is never a lull in the drama, and even the seemingly still moments adds to the tension and intrigue.

Mathews pushes past what you expect to happen and brings this thriller into a whole other level of madness. It is a twisted game of cat and mouse certainly, but Mathews brings another element altogether making it compelling and something you do not want to put down until the very last page.

You can purchase A Game of Greed and Deception via the following


Amazon AU

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