Book review: Retribution by Sarah Barrie

Sunday, December 4, 2022 Permalink

Retribution by Sarah Barrie is the second in the series featuring (former sex worker and computer hacker) Lexi as well as DI Rachael Langley and Rachael’s nephew Finn Carson (also a cop), and I for one was excited by their return as I really liked Lexi when she was introduced in Unforgiven.

Here she’s joined the police and when the book opens is on nightshift with a likeable new partner and mentor while secretly continuing to chase after Damon Vaughn, the man who’d tried to kill her when we last met.

Book review: Retribution by Sarah BarrieRetribution
by Sarah Barrie
Series: Lexi Winter #2
Published by Harlequin Enterprises (Australia) Pty Ltd
on 30/11/2022
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural
ISBN: 9781867226468
Pages: 384

Most probationary constables would baulk at chasing a drug dealer into a train tunnel in the dead of night. Not Lexi Winter. She emerges injured but alive, to face the wrath of her boss.

Lexi may now be in uniform, but she has as much trouble with authority as ever, and is quietly using her hacking skills to investigate a notorious drug-dealing Sydney crime family with links to her old prey, the paedophile Damon Vaughn.

Meanwhile, Detective Sergeant Finn Carson investigates a death on a Sydney building site ... which oddly enough, leads him to the picturesque Wondabyne station on the Hawkesbury River, and Inspector Rachael Langley oversees an investigation that could tie it all together. Lexi holds the key ... if only she'll toe the line ...

It doesn’t matter if you haven’t read Unforgiven as you’re caught up pretty weekly and the case/s here are only kinda related to the substance of the previous book through Vaughn’s connection to the Hamill crime family.

Although the Hamill family’s been on the police’s radar for a myriad of drug and firearm offences there’s been little leverage. Until Lexi and her partner arrest grandsons of the patriarch. Unfortunately, results turn out to be dire and Lexi’s given a harsh reminder that she now needs to be a team player as there are more lives than hers at risk. In order to find Vaughn she needs to unsettle the family however and manages to pick the family off (in a not-entirely-legal but non-violent way) one by one, resulting in arrests and sees her partnering up with Finn and working again with Rachael.

This was a standout read for me. Barrie’s created a strong group of complex characters in Lexi’s sister Bailee, Rachael and Finn as well as newcomers to Rachael’s team – one of whom I have my suspicions about.

My previous reviews of Barrie’s work have commented on her ability to imbue a sense of place. This however is more about the characters and their stories and I enjoyed the dip into Finn’s personal life and struggles with his daughter and ex-wife. There’s a smidge of posturing but Barrie doesn’t go down the cliched route of turf wars amongst police officers or pissing competitions between homicide and drugs and firearms squads. I came away with the feeling I’d observed something very real. This is very much about the people and the crimes they’re solving, offered up effortlessly and elevating this to be an exceptional read.

Retribution by Sarah Barrie was published in Australia by Harper Collins and is now available.

I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. 


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