Title: Vernon Fix
Author: Peter P. Sellers
Genre: Thriller / Suspense / Crime
Michael Butler has harness racing in his blood. His parents fell in love during racing season and his father dedicated his life to driving until his name was wrongly slandered, ending his career. Now, it’s Michael’s time to avenge his family legacy, and when he discovers his new neighbors have close ties to Carlton DeVeb, the man who ruined his father’s career, he does everything he can to see DeVeb’s demise.
Vernon Fix takes place in the late 1970s near the Vernon Downs horse racetrack, where Michael decides to spend his summer working as a groom for a respected horse driver. Michael meets his new neighbors Tommy, who spends his time holed up in his room shuffling playing cards, and Barbara, Tommy’s lusty wife. When Michael realizes Tommy’s elite crew of lawless gangsters can get him closer to DeVeb, he risks his job, future, and life to reclaim honor for his father’s name.
When Michael gets the opportunity to put DeVeb away for good, his loyalty to Tommy is tested. The novel’s pace begins to quicken and suspense rapidly builds as Michael forms relationships that are complicated and dangerous to everyone. Realistic and memorable, each character has their own trademark personality that make them unforgettable and easy for the reader to keep track of the many roles the characters play in the story.
The novel is written from Michael’s perspective as he recalls it to an interviewer, Dr. Gordon. The brief introduction to Dr. Gordon is mysterious at the start of the novel but quickly becomes confusing as the story progresses. With the exception of a few interjections by Dr. Gordon throughout the novel, which are often more distracting than clarifying, there is little to no revisitation to who this interviewing-figure is and what purpose he serves until the conclusion of the novel, leaving the reader to connect the dots on their own.
Though a bit dense at times, the equestrian terminology is explained clearly for readers unfamiliar to the technicalities of horse-racing. Never watered-down or aimlessly used, the use of racing language makes a great contribution to the novel’s strongest quality, the setting. Sellers does a spectacular job juxtaposing the beauty and serenity of the landscape to the dangerous, provocative people that it inhabits.
There are numerous erotic scenes in the novel, thus it is recommended for an adult audience. Though the characters’ relationship that is formed through these scenes are important to the rest of the story, the extremely graphic details and lengthiness of scenes often do not.
Lusty and intense, nothing is what it seems in Vernon Fix. Ridden with crime and ruthless characters, it brings out the best and worst of everyone who is greedy enough to go after what they want. A summer of gangsters, money, and beautiful women, this slow-but-steady thriller is sure to leave readers wanting more with every page.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Editorial Review written by the Book Review Directory Production Team. To receive a similarly honest, professional review for one of your own books, click here.