Book Review – Vengeance Wears Black by Seumas Gallacher

I met Seumas Gallacher online. No, not that way, but as a fellow blogger. His irrepressible personality shines through his posts and as a result, I had to read one of his books. I chose Vengeance Wears Black, the second in his series – nothing like jumping straight in – but it reads nicely as a stand-alone, without the first book needed. One of my own rules for a good series.

Vengeance Wears Black is definitely a man’s thriller. Written with spare prose, but enough to give you a good idea of the characters and their emotions, the book provides lots of action with hardly a pause for breath. Not to say that a woman reader wouldn’t enjoy it — there are lots of handsome characters.

The story: It begins spectacularly, when a truck load of women from Eastern Europe being smuggled to England for ‘a better life’ is blown up as they wait for transport across the English channel. Flash to Jack Calder and his colleagues at International Security Partners (ISP) all former SAS, meeting at the Peking Garden Restaurant in London’s Soho, for a quiet lunch. Two figures, clad in black with their faces covered, enter the restaurant and throw a bomb onto the floor. A friend of Jack’s, Chandra Rana, ex-Ghurka captain, throws himself on the bomb and saves everyone’s life but his own. Investigating the incident, ISP learned they were caught in a turf war between an Asian gang led by a ruthless 80 year old Chinese matriarch and her son and Eastern European mobsters led by an equally ruthless ex-Chechen fighter. Both groups want control of drug smuggling, female trafficking, prostitution and money laundering in London and beyond. When international law enforcement pays ISP a visit to enlist their help, Jack and his colleagues are offered an opportunity to wreak their vengeance on both gangs, while operating outside the normal constraints of the law – in other words, black ops. Once the gangs realize they are both being pursued relentlessly by an unknown group, they decide to form an unholy alliance, complicating ISP’s plan to eliminate them. The story takes the reader across Europe, through France and Germany to Istanbul and North Africa, following ISP’s and the gangs’ actions.

What struck me as different in this tale is that the reader knows who the bad guys and the good guys are from the start, no guessing, none of the ethical dithering which weighs down other books of the same genre in a sea of moral molasses. As a reader, you want vengeance as much as the main characters and it is accomplished without a lot of verbal gore.

If you like action and a fast-paced read, you will enjoy this book. Now I need to go read the first, The Violin Man’s Legacy, and the third, Savage Payback, launched late 2013.

Seumus GallacherSeumas Gallacher can be found at



26 thoughts on “Book Review – Vengeance Wears Black by Seumas Gallacher”

  1. This sounds great! You touched on two of my issues – series that can be read as stand alones and plots that don’t get bogged down in ethical debate/preaching. I’ll have to look for this one. I’m trying to mix in more male authors into my reading this year.

  2. Great review, Noelle, sounds like an exciting read! I was wondering about ‘it’s a man’s thriller’. I know exactly what you mean when you said it, I think:) This is a discussion I’ve often had, but haven’t reached a decision/conclusion yet. Is men’s writing different to women’s, and if so how?

    1. It occurred to me while I was reading it that it was a man’s thriller because it was loaded with action, breathtakingly so, and very spare on description, just enough to give you the bare bones. What do you think? Not all men write like this, but I think it is what men like to read.

      1. I need to think a little more about this. I agree to a point for contemporary authors, but this wasn’t the case in the 19th and 20th centuries. Great male authors were great ‘describers’ such as Dickens, Willie Collins, Galsworthy, Bennett, Somerset Maugham, Greene, I could go on forever… Interesting point in any case. Food for thought…

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