Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Author: Ashley Fontaine
Defiled, attached, spirit mutilated, raped: Audra would never be the same. A young CPT devoted to her job and about to be promoted to minority partner of an accounting firm, but at what cost. Dedication at what price and at your own risk? Managing partner Olin Kemper had his own agenda in mind when meeting with Audra. The end result a blood-riddled body covered in black and blues, bruises, torn and tattered clothing and an inner being, soul forever raped as well. Winscott and Associates had its own form of sorority or fraternity initiation held in their own backroom. Silence is often golden. Rewards are pricy and others will come back at you and the payment quite dear. Audra will bide her time, make her move just when things fall right into place. Accountable to None is about one young girls journey back into life and how she will make those responsible for what happened Accountable to All. Zero Balance picks up where Accountable to None ended with Audra’s rise to the top of the company. Five years later Audra would serve what they deserve and if I were you I would not want to be invited to this party. Revenge is great when you know how to orchestrate your plan and take down those that deserve your wrath. There were many that worked in the accounting firm that she now runs who crossed her one who raped her and others who went along with what Olin Kemper did. Recounting her life before all of this happened, where she was now Audra Tanner would execute the rest of her plan. Recounting her life, what happened to her as a child, her parents, losing a child the author reminds the reader of why she enacted the revenge on those working in accounting firm. Where will she go from here and what will happen when the balance of the scale tips in another direction and just what is that Zero Balance?
Crushing dreams that are vivid and do not allow her to sleep or rest though the night even though Olin is in prison the past seems to becoming back into her present. Business prospects falling through, clients leaving and going with other firms and only one other person stepping up to plate to try and rebuild what was once a thriving accounting firm. The author reminds the reader of what Audra’s past was like and for those who did not read Accountable to None you will learn about her life before she took over this company, her wronged relationships, her fall out with her family and the loss of her child.
The author continues with the first character named Piper who seems to have a vendetta to carry but first she needs to get what one unsuspecting doctor has that will help her carry out her plan. Pretending to be a reporter for a new start up magazine called Reptiles Today our elusive “Piper,” lures her way into the office of Dr. Moore whose primary goal in life is to create anti-venom for anyone bitten by a poisonous snake. Armed with several syringes and one filled with Ambien she manages to enter his office, fill his coffee cup when she feigns felling sick and knocks the poor man out. Removing several vials was easy deciding to make sure he never woke up her revenge. Not because he did anything to her but because he reminded her of someone else that was cruel to her and brought back memories of that she chose to forget so breaking the glass on the cages of the venomous snakes not really a hard choice as she leaves the same way she came unnoticed. But, our mystery killer is not done yet as her next victim is Robert. Robert Fulton had to die. He was the next victim of this avenger. Anyone who came in the direct path of convicting Olin and making sure he stayed in prison would have to be eliminated. Robert’s body was found but the connection to the doctor’s death would be made in a unique and unexpected way. Next victim was Audra’s assistant who thought she was meeting with someone from the Castle where she hoped she was going to have her wedding. Instead just like the doctor she was duped by our delusional killer and eliminated. The killer did not waste any time and the victims never thought to check her credentials. The doctor glad to have someone doing a story on his research and Gabrielle hoping to sign a contract for her wedding. Next, we hear from our killer in jail Olin who has plans of his own for our Piper and who recounts how she became and equity partner and her husband’s relationship with Ralph. Blackmail goes a long way and suicide made it easier. Piper is crazy and thinks that by eliminating everyone in Olin’s way she will have him for herself. Just why Ralph killed himself with a little help from Olin you have to read for yourself because an incriminating tape left in Nick’s car would explain it all.
Audra gets a call from Gabby’s future husband and does not realize that she is the killer’s next victim. Thinking she may have cold feet about her marriage she shrugs off the call and tells Jeff where she was planning to go and with who. But, Steve Ronson, Audra’s detective boyfriend would get a call from a prison guard that would change the complexion of the investigation and hopefully lead them to the murderer. Remembering something about Dr. Moore’s death helps Steve learn more about Robert’s. Lies, betrayals and deceits and one dangerous killer whose venom is more deadly than the poison she stole from the doctor, the snakes that bit him to death and the lethal dose she gave Robert.
Author Ashley Fontaine goes inside the mind of a serial killer who feels justified to kill for love and the mind of one man who feels wronged and cannot believe he has to pay for a murder over 30 years old. Each character’s motives, reasons, justifications and thoughts are told to the reader as he/she commits the acts they feel are justified on those that wronged them. At times the killer or another character or flashback adding to the suspense of the novel and the dramatic and frightening conclusion that you will never expect interrupts these thoughts. The author reveals to the reader the links among the many characters, the tormented mind of Piper and her rationale for what she did. But, was she alone and who was really behind the killings, the revenge and the final outcome for so many. Audra learns that her assistant Gabrielle is missing and the end result not only endangers someone close to Audra but others too. The lies, betrayals, murders, revenge and cast of characters that are so intertwined and the end result you just won’t believe. As Steve learns that Audra is in trouble and the truth behind who really wants everyone dead, include Audra is revealed you will learn that not everything and everyone is what they appear to be. You will learn that sometimes those that are good follow a different path to take care of the evil and the bad. Snake venom, poisonous personalities and a group of people that needed to reduce the balance and the books to ZERO before all is said and done. But, there is much more as the ending will leave you wondering what is next for some of our characters and what will happen when the final chapter is written. Once again author Ashley Fontaine pens a novel so intricate, so tense and so spellbinding that once you start reading you won’t stop until you find out who takes the final blow.
Fran Lewis: reviewer