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The Revenge List: Book Review

Anger management, mystery, and unapologetic humour by the bestselling novelist Hannah Mary McKinnon.

The Revenge List

AUTHOR Hannah Mary McKinnon
PUBLISHER Harper Collins
GENRE Thriller, Mystery
RELEASE DATE May 23, 2023
ISBN 978-0778333463

Harper Collins
Harper Collins

Fresh off the heels of bestselling Sister Dear, You Will Remember Me, and Never Coming Home, Hannah Mary McKinnon has published her new thriller The Revenge List

McKinnon's newest book follows Frankie Morgan, a spirited and intelligent thirty-something-year-old working for her father's construction company, who attends an anger-management group (in an attempt to appease her father). She is immediately propelled into events that will change her life from the moment the group introduces a "forgiveness list." 

People in Frankie's life and past all begin to suffer accidents, and it seems all too peculiar that everyone is on Frankie's forgiveness list. Is it all coincidence, or is something more sinister afoot, especially since some accidents are more injurious than others?

These might be the bigger questions of Hannah Mary McKinnon's novel, but the natural charm of The Revenge List is not the destination. It is a long-lasting and never apologetically humorous journey.

Right from the beginning, Hannah Mary has the reader chortling at the vividly descriptive yet well unabashedly accurate perceptions of situations that Frankie finds herself in. Frankie's inner observations of what her anger-management group looks like, "Making eye contact with the counsellor, nodding like a gigantic set of bobbleheads,"  or Frankie's internal monologue where she "Wondered if corralling a bunch of individuals with temper issues in the same room was a good idea," are only a select few of hilarious moments in the book.

The use of this charming humour continues as other themes are wrapped purposefully and skilfully. A seemingly minor incident where Frankie hopes to find camaraderie with another woman, who is also attending the anger-management session, because "Girls gotta stick together," introduces a theme that is largely explored later on.

Managing double standards in the workplace as a woman with perceived "anger issues" is never shied away from (unaided by the fact that Frankie works in a male-dominated industry). 

We get insights into Frankie's past, understanding many different struggles that a young and professional woman may go through in the workplace that oftentimes many are blissfully unaware of. Yet, these insights are weaved in masterfully, allowing the reader to soak in Frankie's journey as the plot unfolds. We want to get behind why Frankie's forgiveness list is suddenly the focal point of the book.

I found myself referring back to Frankie's forgiveness list and was captivated with "A-hah" moments each time I unearthed the story behind why each specific character ended up on her forgiveness list (or Revenge List).

The Revenge List sparks a host of emotions. The sense of humour is not a deflection from sad themes, tragedies, and shocking revelations. It keeps the reader glued to every step of Frankie's journey, as the reader always wants to figure out what happens next, immaterial of Frankie's past, present, or future.

My fix relates to one character introduced late in the book. If there could have been more chances to explore what they have gone through. As a reader, I started to really care about what happens to this one character, and the sudden finality of their arc leaves us wanting more, wishing they had a denouement of sorts.

That said, Hannah Mary has a poetic end to her story, allowing me to find more solace at the end of this character's journey in the book (or is it really?)

The Revenge List is a must-read; what is wonderful about it is that there is no deadwood in the book. Nothing is written more than it needs to be. In the way that Frankie Morgan would put it:

Hannah Mary - 1

Usual Pitfalls of a Long-Winded Narrative - 0