Retribution: A Jack Sanders Novelette
by Philip Barnard

"All you know is that the case remains unsolved. Your repression of the actual events has contributed to your reluctance to proceed with an investigation of your own."

Dr. Jack Sanders is a well-known and well-respected clinical psychologist, going so far as to even occasionally help the police with cases. Such is the case when Sanders discovers that one of his clients is murdered by another one of his clients. The case rattles him to his core and brings back the skeletons in his own closet. He finds his judgment clouded because of the demons of his own repressed past coming back to haunt him. In order to move on, he finds that he needs to bring an end to the unsolved murders of his own parents. In order to do that, he dives deep into his own family’s history and discovers dark secrets long buried that now finally are coming to light. Terrible family ties, long lost relatives, and unspeakable crimes bubble to the surface. Will Sanders finally be able to move on from his own trauma, or will he be buried by his family’s dangerous secrets?

Barnard, a clinical psychologist like his protagonist, builds a complex family history that will easily draw in any reader. A relatively short novelette, the focus is kept clear and crisp so as to not bog down the story. The pacing is effective in keeping you wondering what Sanders will find out next but not so fast as to hurry you through to the end. It gives a perfect sense of impending dread as he uncovers his family’s secrets, building and building until you reach the climax. By the end, you will feel yourself rooting for Sanders to find the closure he so desperately desires.

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