Vigilante is the tried and true story of taking justice into your own hands. It was written and published by Claude Bouchard. It is part of his Vigilante series of hard crime thrillers and is available on Amazon.
The story opens with a prologue where a stepfather brutally beats and rapes his stepdaughter. In the next chapter a woman drinks at a bar while a man gets dressed. This is literally how the entire book reads—a scene of intense violence along with a scene of incredible dullness.
As we read on we meet a group of individuals investigating a series of violent murders. A masked hero going by the name Vigilante is beating thugs to death in the back alleys of Montreal. The team spends nearly the entire book just one step behind the masked individual.
The story could be pretty good. The story drags its feet with pages and pages of unneeded exposition. Entire chapters of this book could have been cut out from the amount of unnecessary additional adjectives, explanation, and background.
For example a character finds a sticky note on their computer. The reader is told outright that the sticky note is from a Chris—then it is implicitly stated again that it is from Chris right before the character talks about the sticky note… FROM CHRIS!
This makes the entire reading experience a chore. Nearly every line is a cliché or repeats itself. Every description has either way too much or way too little explanation.
That in addition to the poor representation of actual detective/police work makes this novel hard to push through. In order to track down the assailant, the police use a computer repair men (because a high profile serial killer investigation would get no trained Royal Canadian Mounted Police assigned to it or anything). This is where we should allow our suspension of belief to take over but next to the blatant disregard for proper editing, planning, and execution it is hard to not let it bother you.
Then there is the matter of the big twist at the end. This is what the 90+ four and five star reviews listed as the reason to get the book in the first place. The twist was a complete flop. After reading the prologue one is lead to think they know who the masked hero is (and you do). It was not till the very end that you question who it is because the amount of setup for the twist.
All said this book does present an interesting idea: what would a real world vigilante be like? No powers, no cape, and nothing to lose. The answer here is a somewhat crazy murderer. For that it is at least somewhat interesting and it is a part of a larger body of work that Claude is still adding to.
I give Vigilante a single dancing hamster out of five. After reading some more of his work I will see if it gets any better but I don’t endorse this series for any nonfans of crime fiction.