The Domino Vendetta, published in 1984 by Adam Kennedy, is the sequel to his excellent 1975 novel The Domino Principle, which I previously reviewed here. It continues the saga of everyman Roy Tucker, a working class murder convict who was sprung from prison by a shadowy cabal of powerful men in return for carrying out a high-level assassination.
Vendetta continues where Principle left off, as Tucker, following the grim ending of the last novel, is still in Costa Rica and under attack by agents of the cabal. Tucker survives the assault, then proceeds to burn down his villa, dump his attackers’ car in the ocean and take off on foot, their identity cards and cash in hand. Using those, Tucker flies to Brazil to hide out and figure out what to do next. But the cabal soon finds him and tries to frame him for a murder, which Tucker narrowly escapes.
Meanwhile, everyone involved in the assassination plot is being killed off, including Tucker himself, according to a newspaper report. Tucker decides that he’s through running and returns stateside to take the fight to the cabal. The problem is he has no idea where to find them or how to take them on. He turns to the last person alive who can help him, his long-time lawyer and close friend from his Vietnam War days, Robert Applegate. Applegate has gone into hiding, but Tucker manages to track him down and get him to talk. It turns out that Applegate has some inside information about the conspirators who enlisted Roy for his hit on the American ex-president. The description he provides of the cabal and their agenda sound all-too plausible, even more so today than in 1984:
The group, which calls itself Interworld Alliance, admits that it aspires to a position of high-level international influence, something apolitical, extra-political, a kind of world government outside government that speaks the language of business. Profit and loss, expansion and growth, acquisition, manipulation, and planned obsolescence. Brave New World, Man and Superman, business is business, money talks.
We learn that Interworld’s chief military advisor, an American general named Reser, has a devious scheme to get permanent control of Middle Eastern oil. We also learn why Interworld targeted an ex-president for assassination and enlisted Tucker for the hit.
Roy Tucker, being a common man motivated by common emotions, doesn’t much care about this larger conspiracy. He simply wants violent revenge for the wrongs the conspirators have done to him and his loved ones, and in particular, revenge against Reser. Ever the cunning redneck, Tucker prepares a trap to bring the Interworld men to him so that he can get to them. The novel moves quickly toward a dramatic climax, as Tucker makes his way to New York, where Reser is scheduled to address the United Nations and announce his “peace initiative” in the Middle East. Tucker uses his natural ninja cunning to get close to his target, and like the first novel, this one ends with a violent, dark twist.
Vendetta was a worthy sequel to The Domino Principle; though not quite as riveting and a little slow at times, it was a well-written, tightly plotted continuation of the Roy Tucker saga. It fleshes out the events of the first novel, not only with regard to the assassination conspiracy, but Tucker’s early life, the events that landed him in prison, his time in Vietnam, and the love of his life, his late wife Thelma. The tough, resourceful, poor country boy convict from West Virginia is a sympathetic character, like a more human and likeable Jason Bourne, on the run from sinister power players but determined to survive and get revenge. This series is definitely worth your time if you enjoy classic assassin/conspiracy thrillers along these lines.
Get a copy of The Domino Vendetta here.