Publisher: Berkley Books
Publication Date: March 7, 2023
Series or Standalone: Veronica Speedwell #8
Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Goodreads – StoryGraph
CW: murder; death; violence; infidelity
I was so giddy reading A Sinister Revenge – and I’m still giddy thinking about this book. I read this whole book with a smile as it was everything I wanted and more, especially after everything that happened in An Impossible Impostor. Deanna Raybourn seamlessly blends the humor, wit, and emotions you’ve come to know yet makes it feel new and exciting in the eighth installment of the Veronica Speedwell series.
This book gives over major A Dangerous Collaboration vibes. That book just happens to be one of my favorites in the Veronica Speedwell series, so I knew early on that I would be a fan of A Sinister Revenge, and I was not wrong. I was seriously smitten with this book within the first chapter. What is not to love as we have some delicious tension between Veronica and Stoker, time with my favorite Templeton-Vane brother and DINOSAURS?
In the eighth installment of the Veronica Speedwell series, Veronica must help Tiberius unravel a murderous mystery. Tiberius has received a cryptic message – along with the obituaries of two recently deceased members of his old friend group, the Seven Sinners. Realizing he’s in danger but unsure why he plans a reunion party for the remaining Sinners at his estate to lure out the killer while Veronica and Stoker investigate. At the center of the mystery is revenge, a dinosaur, and something more.
Stoker and Veronica’s relationship has changed after An Impossible Impostor, and my god, I was so nervous and excited to see where Deanna Raybourn would take it in this one. They have so much to talk about and SO MANY FEELINGS. This book delivers on the sexual tension and the slow burn that readers of the series are familiar with. And I have to say, the end of chapter 35 was *chef’s kiss* and delivered all the emotions I wanted.
I loved that Stoker does not let Veronica off the hook easily for her actions in An Impossible Impostor. He makes her work to get back in his good graces after her missteps. He usually gives the most in the relationship, so I was so glad to see him put this on Veronica this time and not let her get away scot-free. She’s the one who needs to make the grand gesture this time, and I was living for it.
And let’s hear it for the character growth with Veronica! This is the first time I feel we see Veronica be open and vulnerable. She always puts on a brave face and tries to show that nothing gets to her, but in A Sinister Revenge, she’s more self-reflective than ever before on her flaws and honest about her fears. At points during this story, she’s more isolated and alone than we’ve ever seen her, which impacts her and makes her evaluate her feelings and emotions. I loved watching her struggle with how her actions have hurt herself and those she cares about. She finally sees that letting people in is not a weakness but something essential to her own happiness.
I am always here for a mystery that involves Tiberius, my favorite Templeton-Vane brother, as I enjoy spending time with him. He’s, once again, got more secrets in his past than we knew about it. I also loved spending more time with Merryweather, the youngest Templeton-Vane child. Merry is so innocent and so different from Stoker and Tiberius. It’s such a treat watching the Templeton-Vane siblings interact, and we got plenty of that in this book!
We also see a lot of other familiar faces, including Julian and J.J. Butterworth. I liked how Veronica’s relationship with JJ progressed as they became friends in this book. As Stoker keeps a bit of distance from Veronica, JJ becomes a co-investigator with her, and I loved watching them go sleuthing together.
The mystery in this book was so much fun! Who doesn’t like a complicated revenge plot? While I did predict who was behind the murders, there were some fun twists and turns along the way that were a delight to uncover and helped give this some soap opera-y vibes. Plus, we get a dramatic dinner in INSIDE OF A DINOSAUR. How perfect is that? Also, this wouldn’t be a Veronica Speedwell novel without some perilous situations, and Raybourn delivers on that!
If I had one complaint, it would be that this book did not have enough Veronica and Stoker scenes! I understand why there were fewer of them, and I actually appreciate them being apart for most of the book as it makes sense narratively, yet I cannot help but want more of them together. However, the scenes we do get with the two of them are delicious, and Raybourn makes up for it in the end.
I am so glad this book is not the end of Veronica and Stoker’s tale, even though the ending feels like it could be a good series ending. This series is my all-time favorite, and I will continue to read every Veronica and Stoker book for as long as Deanna Raybourn publishes them. I am already awaiting the next book with bated breath. In the meantime, I will sit here rereading the whole series and enjoying all the delicious details Deanna Raybourn weaves into every book.
Thank you to Berkley/Edelweiss for the ARC. All thoughts, ideas and opinions expressed in this review are my own.