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Two Wrongs

by Morgan Mandel

      Danny Calloway was only a teenager when he discovered the body of his sister Mary Alice brutally raped and murdered one February day. Earlier, Danny had heard her arguing with another classmate about a prom date. She had turned him down and Kevin Green was so furious he had said that he'd "see her dead."

The case might have been more open to question, but somehow the DNA evidence collected at the crime scene had disappeared. The most condemning thing that the jury had to go on was Danny Galloway's testimony about the violent argument that took place very shortly before the murder. Danny was totally devastated at the loss of his beloved sister and was determined to do all he could to make certain that Kevin Green received the death penalty for this heinous act. But the verdict came back second degree murder. There would be no execution. Danny was destroyed, but made a silent vow that he would avenge his sister's death. Kevin Green would die, too, and it would be by Danny's hand.

Time passed as Kevin Green sat in his prison cell. Danny buried himself in playing basketball in order to fill his mind and exhaust his body. It was his insulation against reality. His intensity coupled with his natural talent eventually earned him a college scholarship to play basketball for a major school. After college, Danny's dedication led him to an opportunity to play professional basketball. Anyone else would have been thrilled, but Danny's soul remained focused on revenge. Sooner or later, Kevin Green would be released from prison, then Danny would hunt him down and kill him like the animal he was. Basketball was merely a diversion.

Then something new happened in Danny's life. Love visited him for the first time. It was pure love for a pure woman; much too pure for the evil thoughts that hid behind Danny's friendly smile. Danny struggled with his dilemma. He truly loved this woman, too much to eventually drag her down with him. He did a lot of soul searching. Finally a long talk with an old friend convinced him that his thirst for revenge was wrong and two wrongs don't make a right. After a great internal struggle, Danny determined that it was best to abandon his thoughts of vengeance and do something productive and positive with his life.

Danny married the beautiful Cathy and his life finally began to have some direction. With the burden lifted from his shoulders he was able to concentrate more on basketball and his game improved dramatically. He was becoming a legitimate star.

Then something else happened. The long lost DNA evidence resurfaced and exonerated Kevin Green while implicating Mary Alice Galloway's boyfriend who eventually confessed to the murder. Kevin had lost years of his life sitting behind bars for a crime that he didn't commit. And it was Danny Galloway's testimony that had put him there. Now it was Kevin Green's turn to plan murderous revenge.

This is Morgan Mandel's debut novel, but you'd never know it from her style. It's an extremely hard-hitting suspense novel with a complicated plot that Mandel makes easy to follow. The dialogue is sometimes fittingly harsh and the situations can be downright violent at times. The story has the pace of the last two minutes of an NBA basketball game. Mandel pulls no punches when describing man's inhumanity to man. It's a gritty story and not for the faint of heart, but it's very well-written with visible characters and well-painted scenes. A very good read.

The Book

Hard Shell Word Factory
February, 2006
Trade Paperback
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The Reviewer

Dennis Collins
Reviewed 2006
NOTE: Reviewer Dennis Collins is the author of The Unreal McCoy.
© 2006