When I was a high school junior, our small-town Texas football team was able to achieve enough wins to be eligible for the Semifinals game for the 3A Conference State Championship. Travel to Irving to play at Texas Stadium (where the Cowboys played at the time) was an excitement I could scarcely have dreamed of, but it was quite some distance from home in those days -- a solid 10 hours or more when the speed limit was still set at 55 MPH. I brought my Discman along, but the supply of batteries I had available was soon exhausted, and I was left with my go-to option for my free time at home, which was to pick up a book to read. I had pilfered a title on my way out of the house that was new to me, a novel called Power Play by Penny Jordan. The cover was provocative in a subtle way, no busty, scantily-clad maiden being passionately clutched to the bare-chested man of her dreams to be found. It was a temptation too great for sixteen-year old me to resist, and into my bag it went. I read somewhere in the neighborhood of two-thirds of the book in the time I had available to me during the trip to and from Irving, but somehow managed to drop the novel into the overhead compartment when we were disembarking upon our return. A call to the charter bus company revealed that the book had disappeared, and I was left distraught. My OCD demands that I finish reading a book once I've started, and there was zero chance of such after that.
Fast forward nineteen years later, when the internet has become the best friend of those whose brains are incapable of retaining certain tiny pieces of information such as specific book titles or the names of authors. A Google search of the details I could recall about the characters and plot reminded me of the title I needed, and a quick visit to half.com got me reunited with the book at long last. I made quick work of finishing up the read, and it was just as great as I remembered. (A relief, truly, since many things fail to hold up over time in terms of how completely they captured your interest before.) It now holds a cherished place on my bookshelf, and remains a favorite I won't be losing again.
Pepper Minesse is a fierce and incredibly competent businesswoman, one who holds herself aloof from all manner of personal relationships with men after enduring a terrifying assault in her past. When first we meet her, she is in the process of mailing out letters to everyone who was involved in that most hated and shameful piece of her past. Sending those letters sets her long-awaited plan for revenge into motion. The four men, all equally powerful in their own right, are extremely resistant to Pepper's demands. The blackmail she has acquired ensures that they have no choice but to comply, and this leads them to form a plan of their own to combat her revenge. As the past, present, and future begin to merge, a growing danger mounts, and Pepper's very life is placed into grave peril. It is only through the intervention of one of the same men whose life she is attempting to ruin that she is able to triumph over the danger she faces. Shocking twists and terrible crimes abound as the plot races toward its finish, leaving several people dead and many lives irreparably changed.
All in all, this is one book that was written with the reader in mind. Gripping and powerful, the story is one that will stay with you. There were a couple of small elements that bugged me about Pepper's acquiescence, which make me reluctant to give it a full five stars. But it is a solid read, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.