by Scott Lax
- Hardcover, 247 pages, 5.8 x 8.8 inches
- ISBN: 978-1-938441-41-7
A young man loses the true love of his life and seeks vengeance from the man he holds responsible for his wife's death. Told with elegant simplicity, this novel of literary suspense is a tragic story of love and loss that ultimately reveals the cruelty of human nature and the healing power of forgiveness.
Sam and Sophie's idyllic life of Parisian cafés, fine wine, and romantic passion is torn apart when Sophie is diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor. Then Sophie reveals something that happened years before they met—a horrific event that changed her life and left her wounded in ways no one knew. She's found peace in the years since, she swears to Sam. But then she's gone, and Sam finds only pain.
Bereft and alone, he leaves the City of Light and seeks solace in a small French village where no one knows him or his past. Troubled in heart and mind, he knows one man is responsible for Sophie's death. Sam cannot live without confronting him and holding him accountable for his past crimes.
And so Sam travels to America, to a charming little Ohio town where lights twinkle on the snow in winter and fairs shimmer in the summer heat. Here, Sam will seek his revenge—and find retribution for his lost love in a way he could never imagine . . .
Lax is a master wordsmith of the first order and once again demonstrates his talent and expertise with "Vengeance Follows." A minor masterpiece of suspense and human nature, "Vengeance Follows" is a terrifically entertaining read from beginning to end. Very highly recommended. Midwest Book Review
About Scott Lax
Scott Lax is a novelist, short story writer, playwright, essayist, film and television writer, and writing teacher. He has also worked as a salesman and a professional musician (performing as a drummer with Bo Diddley, among others). He studied Shakespeare at the University of Cambridge after graduating from Hiram College, and was a Bread Loaf Scholar in nonfiction and Sewanee Fellow in fiction. He was named Midwest Filmmaker of the Year at the Cleveland International Film Festival in 2002 for his work as source-writer and producer of the film adaptation of his first novel, The Year That Trembled. Scott lives with his wife, Lydia Lax, son, Finn Scott Lax, and stepson, Angus, in the Chagrin Valley near Cleveland, Ohio. More About Scott Lax
Question & Answer with Scott Lax
Q: What inspired Vengeance Follows?
A: In October 2001, I was in Manhattan overseeing the final sound edit of the movie based on my first novel, The Year That Trembled, which I produced. One Sunday night I went alone to a French café in Greenwich Village near my hotel. I sat for four hours reading the Sunday The New York Times and slowly drinking a bottle of red French Buzet wine. I started taking notes on the café, how it looked, on the staff, on the assortment of people who came and went. I knew then that I wanted to set a novel in a café in Paris, a love story. Yet the feel of New York then was one of such hurt and loss that I knew it had to be a story that contained tragedy.
Q: Isn't twelve years is a long time from starting a book to publication?
A: Months would go by and I wouldn't touch it. I was producing a film, writing a play, teaching and other things. I worked on it here and there until I finally picked it back up in earnest in 2007, shortly after I met my wife, Lydia. She'd read some pages and proclaimed it to be very good and encouraged me to find the heart of the novel and finish it. After that, I wrote until it the truth of the story emerged.
Q: What do you mean, “the truth of the story emerged”?
A: I allowed the complete story to come to me. The characters told me what their stories were. For me, fiction is a matter of allowing the subconscious to work with one's life experience, observations, research, imagination and something beneath imagination, maybe the soul. I don't know what it is, but I have to tap into it in order to write a story. Fiction comes from the same mysterious place as dreams, I think.
Q: Some would say your antagonist, Lee Clayborne, is a sociopath. You delve deeply into his mind. Did it disturb you to write that character?
A: Yes, a bit, but that's a novelist's job. You can't back away from uncomfortable people and events. Instead, you go as deeply into them as you can bear to find their truth.
Q: A theme in the novel is the serial abuse and rape of women. Why?
A: About one in five women in the U.S. has been the victim of attempted or completed rape. This is a horrifying cultural epidemic. My home town of Cleveland has seen some of the worst of this in recent years, but it's been going on forever everywhere, and it has to change.
Q: The first part of the novel is set in Paris, then in a village in France called Ville de Rachat, which is fictional. What inspired that place?
A: A slowly turning overhead fan in our bedroom, which appears in the first scene in Ville de Rachat. The rest of the village built up around that fan in my imagination. The great impressionist painter, my friend Robert Crombie, paints in the south of France. Robert told me he thought Ville de Rachat was a real place when he read the book. I didn't have the heart to tell him it started as a ceiling fan. I suppose he'll know now, though.
Q: Before he travels to the United States to confront Lee Clayborne, your protagonist, Sam Koppang, is a Norwegian-American expatriate wine writer living in France with his wife, another expat with whom he's madly in love. But he's also kind of a regular guy from the south side of Chicago. Why Chicago? And why a wine writer?
A: That's a case of the character telling me about himself. And I like Chicago. I've long said that if Cleveland and New York City mated, they'd give birth to Chicago. As for being a wine writer, I'm an oenophile, one who loves certain types of wines. I briefly wrote a wine column before I focused fully on the novel. But I'm not an expert like Sam.
Q: For a rather dark novel, there are at least four love stories. Why?
A: Loss and love are part of life. My intent was to shine a light in some dark corners of humanity, but also to show the tremendous power of love.
Q: Is Chestnut Falls really Chagrin Falls, where you were raised? And who are the characters based on?
A: Chestnut Falls is a fictional village near Cleveland. So I suppose that makes the characters fictional too, doesn't it?
Q: This is your second novel that takes place primarily in Chestnut Falls. Will we see more of Chestnut Falls and these characters in a future novel?
A: Yes, as far as Chestnut Falls. As for the characters, only the ones who are still alive at the end of this novel will have a chance to be in the next one.