The Ace: Henry "Hank" Jellicoe is introduced in Game Over as this. He is in charge of Global Securities, an organization that is like the Vigilantes, but it spans the entire world. It has network even greater than Charles Martin's, and indeed Charles looks up to the man like no one else does. However, the books Cross Roads and Deja Vu reveal that Henry is actually a Broken Ace.
All Girls Want Bad Boys: In the book Final Justice, two characters are introduced, and their names are Little Fish and Stu Franklin. Both of them are genuine bad boys. Countess Anne de Silva forms a relationship with Little Fish, and Isabelle Flanders forms a relationship with Stu Franklin. By the book Cross Roads, however, it becomes painfully clear that both relationships are falling apart, because Little Fish and Stu Franklin are becoming increasingly cold, distant, and disinterested in their girlfriends. The Vigilantes discover that the two men are with Henry "Hank" Jellicoe. They also find out that the two men are cold-blooded murderers who have killed a number of people. The Vigilantes are more than happy to have them punished!
Alliterative Name: Home Free features a character named Jody Jumper, also known as Owen Orzell.
Amazon Brigade: The Sisters, Sisterhood, or Vigilantes (whatever you like to call them) can be considered this - as long as you don't include Charles Martin and the Big Five or the Five Musketeers. The last book Home Free subverts this trope by having the Vigilantes recruit male members into their ranks at the end.
Amoral Attorney: Played with. On one side is Nikki Quinn, a defense attorney. On the other side is Jack Emery, a prosecuting attorney. Nikki defends a woman who shot the man who raped and murdered her daughter, and she shot the guy after the guy was found not guilty! Jack prosecutes the woman, which is ironic, because he prosecuted that murdering rapist and failed to convict the guy. Nikki is portrayed as the sympathetic one, and Jack is portrayed as the total Jerkass in that situation. You would find it hard to believe that Nikki and Jack are girlfriend and boyfriend! To Jack's credit, he did reveal in his thoughts that he is not heartless, and that he doesn't know what he would have done if he had a daughter who was raped and murdered. Funny enough, Nikki becomes a vigilante, Jack becomes an ally of the Vigilantes, and so does a defense attorney named Lizzie Fox. In the book The Jury, a defense attorney named Allison Banks, against all advice, defends the Barringtons, a group of slimeballs who let a herd of horses starve to death and only used them for profit. Nikki's firm suffered a major blow in its reputation, and Nikki fired and punched out Banks in short order. Then it turns out that Banks was essentially in bed with the Barringtons, the judge presiding over their case, receiving kickbacks from them, and was not really Allison Banks. It turned out that Allison died years ago, and that an impostor had assumed her identity. Unbelievable!
And I Must Scream: Collateral Damage reveals the fate of Karl Woodley. He is still stuck to a wheelchair. He has lost his ability to talk and can only make noises. His wife Paula Woodley makes him eat baby food, while she eats a great Southern meal right in front of him. She is more than happy to taunt him, and he cannot do anything about it. When he is not in the kitchen eating his meal, he is kept in a small room as a prisoner, with nothing but a TV that has nothing but the weather channel on it. He is perfectly aware of everything going on around him. What had he done to deserve this, you might ask? He was an abusive wife-beater who burned his wife, broke every bone in her body, kicked her while she was down, and probably other heinous deeds were done! His wife wants her own form of Revenge and justice against him!
And That's Terrible: Deadly Deals has an unscrupulous lawyer named Adel Newsom, who has helped another unscrupulous lawyer named Baron Bell in the selling of babies. He abandons her, she tries calling the two surrogate mothers connected to this operation, but it doesn't go well, her records get snatched, she is reduced to stealing money and trying to get out of Washington, D.C. The author puts in this one line "Not once did she give a thought to the babies or their well-being." It's almost as if the author was afraid that she was turning this character into a Jerkass Woobie and felt the need to throw that in there to remind us to not sympathize with her.
Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Harry Wong is the second greatest martial artist in the world (regrettably, the identity of the greatest martial artist in the world is never given). On a personal level, he acts like this. Fortunately, his relationship with Yoko Akia (the only person to beat him and the only person he fears) seems to have a civilizing influence on him.
Author Avatar: Myra Rutledge and, later, Countess Anne "Annie" Ryland de Silva are almost certainly avatars of the author herself, due to them being at least middle-aged, owning dogs on Myra's part, both of them having a lot of money (Annie has more money than Bill Gates, which is ridiculous, considering that Microsoft makes 90 billion dollars a year), and both of them seeing ghosts. One book in the series features a one-shot character named Marble Rose, who explains that her name comes from an imaginary friend she had, which is based off of the author herself and how she got her name!
Author Filibuster: Well, this series has gone into this trope a number of times. The book Payback portrays a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) as scum of the earth who suck up your money like leeches, use that money to pamper themselves, and will simply stand back and not lift a finger to help you as you die of a life-threatening illness. The book Vendetta portrays China as a Crapsack World that cheerfully brings Yellow Peril wherever it goes! The book The Jury has one character Nikki Quinn tell the other characters about the vicious cycle of abuse between spouses. The book Fast Track portrays the World Bank (particularly its president) as a money-sucker that will leave poor countries to rot and die. The book Under the Radar portrays a polygamist sect as a cult made up of the Corrupt Hick, rapists, and pedophiles hiding behind religion and treating women as a Baby Factory.
Badass Grandpa: Either Deconstructed or Subverted in the book Home Free. Harry Wong is training to become the number one martial artist in the world. To that end, he hires an old martial arts teacher who is at least 100 years old. Unfortunately, the old man does nothing except sit there and sleep...for 24 hours a day. Harry's friends, Jack and Bert pull some strings and have the old teacher/master carted out and bring in another old martial arts teacher who is at least 80 years and could wipe the floor with all three men. Shortly afterwards, the three men discover that the old teacher has up and died! In the end, Jack and Bert decide to be Harry's teachers.
Bad Boss: Rosemary Hershey is Sweet Revenge is very much this. She is in charge of a company that makes architectural plans and blueprints. Her employees probably didn't like her, but they tolerated her. However, she suffers a Villainous Breakdown that spans the book. During her breakdown, she is practically screaming at her employees to come up with some great architectural blueprints now! When she gets some blueprints from them, she starts yelling at them that a 12-year-old could have drawn up these plans. This is interesting, because Rosemary doesn't really have much expertise in drawing up plans. In fact, she had to rely on plagiarizing the plans belonging to her former boss Isabelle Flanders to get to the position she is at now. She becomes so enraged at what she perceives as incompetence on the part of her employees that she fires them. All of them. Yes, that is how bad her breakdown is.
Beauty Equals Goodness: Played straight as an arrow! Check this out for proof. The bad guys are mostly ugly as sin to start with or beautiful in a fake way but become ugly by the end. Of course, Lizzie Fox's marriage with Cosmo Cricket cheerfully goes into Ugly Guy, Hot Wife territory.
Being Evil Sucks: Roland Sullivan in Lethal Justice learned this the hard way. However, it is does not cause him to Heel-Face Turn...possibly because he's too spineless and weak to do it.
Belligerent Sexual Tension: Maggie Spritzer and Ted Robinson have this going on between them for a long time. They eventually got engaged to be married. However, Deja Vu has Maggie calling it off, because she ends up realizing that she's been unfair to both Ted and Abner Tookus.
Berserk Button: The Jury shows that if you mistreat a horse, Nikki Quinn (who loves horses) will come after you. Final Justice reveals that Lizzie Fox really does not like being called a coward. Fast Track shows that the president of the World Bank Maxwell Zenowicz prefers that you call him Maxwell or Mr. President, and if you don't or if you call him Max or Maxie, then you will taste his wrath. Deja Vu reveals that Henry "Hank" Jellicoe did not react well to being called a monster.
Best Served Cold: This trope drives the first 7 books of the series, with some of the characters wanting revenge for wrongs that go back at least 20 years ago! Unfortunately, you might find it difficult to sympathize with the main characters after awhile.
Betty and Veronica: Deconstructed in the book Sweet Revenge! The book has Bobby Harcourt (Archie), Isabelle Flanders (Betty), and Rosemary Hershey (Veronica). Bobby and Isabelle were going to be married. However, Rosemary hated Isabelle's guts and had her framed for drunk driving that resulted in the deaths of three people. Isabelle ends up being ruined and loses everything. Bobby, in a Moment of Weakness (and lust) ends up having sex with Rosemary and marries her instead. By the book Sweet Revenge, however, things change. Bobby ends up realizing that Rosemary is a Jerkass with an It's All About Me attitude and decides to divorce her. Isabelle ends up back in a position of prominence and works hard to ruin Rosemary. Rosemary goes Ax-Crazy, ends up losing everything, gets ruined, and is last seen placed in a mental institution, possibly to never become lucid again. Isabelle and Bobby did have a short dialogue, but it is painfully clear that it is too late for both of them to have the sort of relationship they once had. So Bobby, thanks to his foolishness, ends up with nothing in a sense, and is forced to realize that he wasted years of his life with the wrong woman.
Big Bad: Well, there are certainly a number of Big Bad characters in the series!
Weekend Warriors: Doctor Clark Wagstaff, Doctor Sidney Lee, and Doctor Samuel La Fond are a Big Bad Triumvirate of dentists and rapists!
Payback: Senator Mitchell "Mitch" Webster is a Big Bad, and an HMO consisting of Elaine Monarch, Derek Monarch, and Ethan Monarch seem to be a Big Bad Triumvirate. They have seemingly no connection to each other, but apparently Mitch had sex with Elaine and got AIDS from her and gave it to Julia Webster! Hoo, boy!
Vendetta: John Chai.
The Jury: The Barringtons were being set up as this... but they got away! So the story throws in an unrelated Big Bad in the form of Domestic Abuser and National Security Advisor Karl Woodley.
Sweet Revenge: Rosemary Hershey. Bobby Harcourt seemed to be a big guy at first, but it turns out that he's just a Horrible Judge of Character who finally wised up!
Lethal Justice: Arden Gillespie. Roland Sullivan is more of The Dragon to her than a Big Bad.
Free Fall: Michael "Mick" Lyons. There are four men who are apparently subordinate to him.
Hide and Seek: Mitch Riley, assistant director of the FBI.
Final Justice: Hank Owens, with four men working for him.
Under the Radar: Harold Evanrod, the Prophet of a pedophile polygamist cult called Heaven On Earth.
Razor Sharp: Vice-President Hunter Pryce, with several men being subordinate to him.
Vanishing Act: Margaret Pearson and William "Bill" Bell, identity thieves and a Big Bad Duumvirate.
Deadly Deals: Baron Bell, with Adel Newsom acting as The Dragon.
Game Over: Strangely enough, President Martine Connor is being set up as this, but it gets subverted when it turns out that she had been reluctant to throw out Obstructive Bureaucrats that had barred her at every turn, and simply needed some urging to do it.
Cross Roads: Henry "Hank" Jellicoe, with Little Fish and Stu Franklin acting as Co-Dragons.
Deja Vu: Henry "Hank" Jellicoe.
Home Free: Owen Orzell and Jason Parker are apparently a Big Bad Duumvirate. Interestingly, Owen reveals that he was part of a Big Bad Triumvirate consisting of CIA director Calvin Span and Henry "Hank" Jellicoe. Henry is now rotting in federal prison, and Calvin is now dead from a heart attack he got while shovelling his driveway!
As indicated, Henry "Hank" Jellicoe could qualify as an overall Big Bad, especially after Free Fall.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Rosemary Hershey was supposedly this, but by the book Sweet Revenge, her little act has apparently worn thin. Little Fish, Stu Franklin, and Henry "Hank" Jellicoe are revealed to be this by the book Cross Roads. The book Deja Vu simply expands on the depth of Jellicoe's depravity.
Black and White Morality: Almost all the good guys are handsome/beautiful, and the bad guys are either ugly as sin or ordinary-looking. The choices the characters make are unambiguously good or evil. The characterization of the characters is either good or evil.
Black and Gray Morality: As the series goes on, the morality of the stories turns into this. The good guys are called the Vigilantes because they break the law in capturing a bad guy and inflicting a cruel and unusual punishment on hir. The good guys don't kill anybody, but since their punishments tend to be of the Fate Worse than Death variety, that fact may not be very comforting. Also, the good guys have acted like big-time Jerkasses a number of times. That's okay, because the bad guys have virtually no redeeming qualities to speak of!
Break Them by Talking: In Under the Radar, the Prophet Harold Evanrod tries to tell his followers of the pedophile polygamist sect Heaven On Earth, "You see, this is the Devil at work! I told you the people on the outside would try to drive us away from our homes and our religion because they don't understand it. They will be forever damned, and there will be no salvation for any of them. I want you all to be strong because we will prevail." However, the Vigilantes give an effective Shut Up, Hannibal! response to that.
Broken Ace: Henry "Hank" Jellicoe is firmly revealed to be Type 1 in the books Cross Roads and Deja Vu. He is at least a He-Man Woman Hater and at most a Straw Misogynist. He tried using President Martine Connor to save his funding from the Pentagon from being cut off. He had several contracts murdered as part of his plan, and when the CIA had to cut ties with him, he went and murdered a number of CIA agents. Cross Roads makes it sound like he was a good man who went bad. Deja Vu, however, reveals that he was always bad and that the disguise had finally worn thin. He tried splitting up the Vigilantes for a few years, so he could keep an eye on them and prevent them from interfering with his plans - namely his plan to make it sound like someone was going to assassinate the president (there isn't, because he made it up), and he would step in to save the day. He had a wife named Louise, who kept a diary of his illegal dealings with terrorist groups and other things (like creating bad situations and riding in to the rescue, probably to improve his image), and she was put under Witness Protection, and he was never able to find her. He considers that My Greatest Failure, and that there were failures, but he corrected them. When a man writing a book about Jellicoe called Jellicoe a monster in the title, Henry blew a gasket, had his goons beat the guy up to the point of leaving him wheelchair-bound and then put him in a luxurious mansion and spent a few minutes with him, talking like they were best friends. He did this to prove that he wasn't a monster, and to set up a safe house in the future.
Broken Pedestal: Played as straight as an arrow with Henry "Hank" Jellicoe, owner of Global Securities. In Game Over, the Vigilantes and the Big Five, particularly Charles Martin, look up to Hank and think he's the best there is. Cross Roads ends up having them lose their respect for the guy, and Charles was just upset that his friend could possibly pull a Face-Heel Turn. Deja Vu goes further and makes it clear that Hank was Evil All Along, and that it's only now that the disguise has worn thin, and nobody can deny it any longer.
But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Played with rather oddly in the book Sweet Revenge. Reporter Ted Robinson, who is not quite a hero at that point, asks Rosemary Hershey a question about two people. Rosemary says in a genuinely puzzled tone "Who?" Her soon-to-be ex-husband, Bobby Harcourt, pokes his head into the room and states that those are the two people she killed, along with their young daughter. She killed three people and she is the only one who apparently did not even bother to remember them. However, she ends up remembering the name of the young daughter - Diana. She actually blocked that out and presumably other details of her killing them. Once she remembers, however, she is unable to stop thinking about it!
Can't Live with Them, Can't Live without Them: This seems to happen between the Vigilantes and their boyfriends. In one book, Jack Emery makes a comment about women and how you can't live with them and you can't live without them. A short time later, Nikki Quinn makes a comment about men and how you can't live with them and you can't live without them. At least the feeling is mutual!
Chekhov's Gun: Early on in the series, there is an teddy bear called Willie, who belonged to Barbara Rutledge. Barbara's ghost mentions Willie more than once, then eventually it is forgotten. However, at the end of Home Free, Barbara's ghost tells her mother that she is going to give Willie to Jack Emery and Nikki Quinn's child! Gold shields, which give anyone (usually hand-picked FBI agents) who possesses them carte blanche and s/he can answer only to the president, are brought up a lot early on. Later on, they are not even mentioned. However, the book Home Free has president Martine Connor set up an organization that will be composed of the Vigilantes, and there are 14 gold shields, one given out to each member of the organization! Hide and Seek has Mitch Riley, assistant director in the FBI and a J. Edgar Hoover wannabe, keeping loads of files on supposedly everyone. Between his wife and the Vigilantes, his files get snatched from him and put somewhere where they'll never see the light of day. However, Deja Vu has the Vigilantes needing to look through those files on Henry "Hank" Jellicoe. It turns out that Mitch not only has files on Henry, but there are at least 6 boxes worth of files on Jellicoe!
The Chessmaster: Charles Martin, former agent of MI6 and James BondExpy, is definitely this. He works for the Vigilantes and it could be argued that he uses this trope for good, but he is an Anti-Hero. He tries his hardest to come up with foolproof plans for the Vigilantes to use in order to succeed in their missions. However, there have been times when those plans go awry, and he really hates it when that happens. Under The Radar reveals that he has a large network of contacts and agents who are well-funded and good at their job, which helps to explain how his plans are effective. By Vanishing Act, however, the Vigilantes make it clear to Charles that they call the shots and not him, and that he had best stop lording over them or he will get the boot.
Child Hater: Arden Gillespie in the book Lethal Justice reveals in her thoughts that she doesn't like children. Rosemary Hershey had promised her husband Bobby Harcourt that they would have kids in the book Sweet Revenge. Bobby, when he announces his intentions to divorce her, throws her words back in her face, saying that he doesn't see any kids around, indicating she doesn't like kids and was lying through her teeth.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: This has happened to some characters. Private Detective (former FBI agent) Mark Lane seems to pretty much vanish off the face of the Earth by the book Final Justice. It might be due to the fact that he acts as a source of information for Jack Emery, who by then is getting information before Lane does, and Jack doesn't really need him anymore!
CIA Evil, FBI Good: Played as straight as an arrow! The Vigilantes have to fight Henry "Hank" Jellicoe, a CIA agent gone rogue. At one point between a conversation between a former FBI director and a former CIA director, the ex-CIA director says that he has no redeeming qualities at all, while the ex-FBI director can say that he's been kind to children and puppies. The CIA is definitely much worse than the FBI in this series!
Cold-Blooded Torture: The Vigilantes have inflicted this on some villains, like John Chai from Vendetta and Karl Woodley from The Jury. It's okay, because those villains had it coming to them!
The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Jack Emery, Ted Robinson, Joe Espinosa, Harry Wong, Bert Navarro, and Charles Martin pretty much have this trope happen to them, on the grounds that they are men, and disagreeing with the female Vigilantes will automatically make them wrong. Yoko Akia had this trope happen to her in Weekend Warriors. Isabelle Flanders had this trope put on her in Under The Radar, where she stated the opposite opinions and made herself look like an idiot for disagreeing with her fellow Vigilantes.
Conveniently an Orphan: Okay, Nikki Quinn's parents are dead. Kathryn Lucas's parents are dead. Isabelle Flanders's parents are dead (maybe). Yoko Akia's mother is dead and her father is evil. Abner Tookus's parents are dead (maybe). There's certainly a lot of orphan characters to go around!
Deadpan Snarker: Jack Emery can do this like nobody else can. More than one character calls him a wiseass.
Death by Origin Story: The first book Weekend Warriors introduces us to Myra Rutledge, Nikki Quinn, and Barbara Rutledge. All three of them are very happy...until Barbara gets killed by a drunk hit-and-run driver who exploits Diplomatic Impunity! Myra sinks into a funk for over a year until she witnesses a vigilante killing a rapist and killer on live news. Then she gets the inspiration to set up a group of vigilantes to get justice for women who were wronged by Karma Houdinis. On an interesting side note, Barbara has appeared as a ghost to Myra, Nikki, and Charles Martin from time to time to make conversation or offer advice.
Death Seeker: CIA director Calvin Span is revealed to be this in Home Free. He died of a heart attack as a result of him shovelling his driveway. He knew better than to do that, considering that he had heart surgery a few years ago. His co-conspirator Owen Orzell thinks that Calvin had a death wish. Considering that Calvin was in bed with Big Bad Henry "Hank" Jellicoe, had a gambling addiction that was going out-of-control, had to turn against Jellicoe to save his own hide when Jellicoe's bad guy status was revealed, had the deaths of CIA agents on his conscience because Jellicoe wanted Revenge for Calvin turning against him, and the president forced him to resign for failing to capture Jellicoe in one month, it's not much of a stretch for this guy to become a Death Seeker.
Deer in the Headlights: This trope pops up a few times. Sweet Revenge has Isabelle Flanders freeze up when reporter Ted Robinson asks her questions about Rosemary Hershey and apparently is getting too close to finding out Isabelle's intentions towards Rosemary. Razor Sharp has lawyer Cosmo Cricket meet a client who has this sort of reaction upon seeing him, but that could be because she is afraid for her life.
Derailing Love Interests: As the series goes on, Isabelle Flanders forms a relationship with Stu Franklin, and Annie de Silva forms one with Little Fish. By the book Cross Roads, Stu and Fish end up suffering hugeCharacter Derailment! Both men start treating their girlfriends like prisoners, neglecting them, turn out to be cold-blooded murderers, and also show a huge amount of Ho Yay for their boss Henry "Hank" Jellicoe. Deja Vu tries to justify it by saying that people only let you see the best of them most of the time. Annie did hook up with Fergus Duffy and Isabelle did hook up with Abner Tookus, but they didn't even meet these guys until Deja Vu and Home Free!
Determinator: Jack Emery and Ted Robinson become these as the series goes on. Both of them are told to their faces that the are obsessed with arresting the Vigilantes and to just give it up. Jack gives up and starts helping out the Vigilantes in The Jury. Ted gives up and starts helping out the Vigilantes in Collateral Damage.
Diplomatic Impunity: The first book Weekend Warriors plays this straight by having Myra's daughter Barbara killed by a drunk hit-and-run driver who could not be charged due to him having diplomatic immunity. The book Vendetta reveals the driver's name to be John Chai, the son of the Chinese ambassador to the USA Chai Ming. John is apparently quite the playboy and his father tries to keep him penned in to protect the family's honour and reputation. Apparently, John has not gone back to the USA because he knows that he will be arrested and charged for his crime. The Vigilantes had to sneak into China, get John to go somewhere away from security, kidnap him, skin him alive, drop him off to England for treatment and then dump him back in China. Does anyone find it strange that China is portrayed as a country that is more than willing to play with fire by not revoking the son's immunity and having him punished for his crime?
Disproportionate Retribution: Okay, some of the punishments the Vigilantes subject the villains to can be considered this. A notable instance is the book Vendetta in which the Vigilantes skin John Chai alive! Well, the story says caning, but caning and skinning someone alive are not the same thing. His crime was drunkenly committing a hit-and-run on Myra Rutledge's daughter Barbara Rutledge, killing her and her unborn child, and then getting away with it because he's the son of the ambassador of China and used Diplomatic Impunity without a qualm. The reason the punishment in Vendetta can be considered this trope is because the crime occurred in Weekend Warriors, which is a few books back, and by then the reader will probably have forgotten the full impact of the crime.
Dissonant Serenity: In Collateral Damage, Paula Woodley talks to Lizzie Fox about her husband Karl Woodley. She asks Lizzie if she's being too sadistic, and she says this in the tone of someone discussing the weather. She had been abused by her Domestic Abuser husband for years. No decent person could fault her for wanting to make him pay for that!
Does Not Like Shoes: Harry Wong is revealed to be this as early as the book Hide and Seek. He can dig trenches in the ground with those feet. He will wear sandals and will only put on shoes if he really has to.
Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: The Jury has the Vigilantes finding out that Paula Woodley has had every bone in her body broken by husband Karl Woodley, who is the National Security Advisor, The Napoleon, and had the President himself as his best man at their wedding! So the Vigilantes go to his home and break every bone in his body! Collateral Damage reveals that Paula has been non-physically abusive (for the most part) to Karl, making him eat baby food and watch her eat a fine Southern meal, confining him to a few rooms, and taunting him when they do interact. By this point, he is wheelchair-bound, and he has lost his ability to talk. Female characters take Paula's side, while male characters seem to be uncomfortable with the whole situation (possibly because they are wondering if their spouses or loved ones will do this to them next!). In short, the series does its best to justify Paula's treatment of her husband. However, this trope is not justified for Maggie Spritzer's treatment of Ted Robinson and Abner Tookus. Fortunately, Maggie finally wakes up to the realization that she's been unfair to both of them and attempts to make amends in Deja Vu. Home Free has her hooking up with Augustus "Gus" Sullivan, and she realizes that she can't take advantage of him the way she did to Ted and Abner.
Drinking the Kool-Aid: The entire Sisterhood and their allies have this sort of mentality. They believe that Revenge, inflicting the Fate Worse than Death on their targets, and acting like all-around Jerk Sues are great ideas. Fortunately, Maggie Spritzer came to realize that this trope was going on, and essentially left them by the final book Home Free.
Driven to Suicide: Lethal Justice reveals that an elderly couple did this after Arden Gillespie and Roland Sullivan sucked up all their money. Isabelle Flanders admits that when everything around her just went to hell, she was one step away from committing suicide before Nikki Quinn came into her life. Hokus Pokus implies that Maggie Spritzer was on the verge of this, but Jack Emery intervened before anything really bad happened.
Dropped a Bridge on Him: Three big ones end up happening in the first 7 books. The first one is the fate of Julia Webster, who has AIDS and is dying from it. After the book Payback, she is sent to Switzerland to undergo experimental treatment. She seems to get better, but by the book The Jury, she has a stroke (it is debatable if a stroke is related to AIDS), seems to recover from it, but then passes away without letting any of the Vigilantes visit her! The second one is the fate of Nikki's partner Jenny, who was hit by a drunk trucker and killed off, along with her unborn child in The Jury! The third one is the fate of the Barringtons, a family of criminals who treated horses as profit-making machines and let a number of them starve to death. They appeared in The Jury, but they ran off and vanished before the Vigilantes could go after them. Then, in the book Free Fall, when Nikki asks for an update on the Barringtons, Charles reveals that they are dead. They were located somewhere in Europe, driving a car at a high speed, crashed it, and went up in one mighty fireball of an explosion. Fortunately, the Barringtons were bad guys, so there is little reason to shed tears over them!
Dystopia/Crapsack World: The world seems similar enough to the world in Real Life, with people going about their lives. However, there are indications that the world in this series is actually a Dystopia. The courts are unable to deliver justice, because the balance of power leans too heavily towards the defense attorneys, and the prosecutors are lucky if the defendant does not get Off on a Technicality, let alone win a single case. Also, the prosecutors need proof before they charge someone, but strangely, there never seems to be proof to find. On the plus side, if a character gets in legal trouble, s/he can call up a defense attorney and be assured that s/he is perfectly safe. The President of the United States has three men with gold shields at his disposal. These three men have carte blanche, can break laws with impunity, answer only to POTUS, and if they come for you, well, you better pray that they don't kill you! In Las Vegas, the casinos have more security than Homeland Security can ever hope to get! Also, the casinos are monitored by men who will have you beaten up or thrown in jail if you prove to be a threat to the casinos. When you put these details together, you get a picture of a country that is more fascist than democratic. Yikes!
Easily Forgiven: Hoo, boy! This trope certainly pops up. For example, Charles sends presidential men with gold shields to scare Jack Emery, but the men misconstrue the orders and give Jack a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown in the book Payback. Jack Emery knows that Charles is responsible for this, but after the book Free Fall, in which Jack becomes an honourary member of the Vigilantes and is revealed as this to the entire group, it seems that Jack has pretty much forgotten about the whole affair. Also, Jack and Ted Robinson start out as friends, become enemies by the book Free Fall, but once Ted more or less becomes a member by the book Collateral Damage, it's all cool now. Although Jack did say that they are trying to take it one step at a time.
Egopolis: Game Over introduces Henry "Hank" Jellicoe, who has a mansion in a location with his name on it. His company Jellicoe Global Securities naturally has his name on it. Cross Roads reveals that he has an airline with his name on it. As it turns out, all this is Foreshadowing to The Reveal.
Enemy Civil War: Despite what some stories would have you believe, the bad guys are not happy working together. Indeed, a number of books in the series show that the bad guys are on the verge of this when the Vigilantes start gunning for them. When the Vigilantes capture them, this tends to break out with one of them spilling all the details, and then the bad guys start criticizing each other and their methods. Deadly Deals had this occur between Baron Bell and Adel Newsom, which Bell started by leaving her stranded. She then broke into his office, and tried to break into his safes, but she only succeeded at breaking into one and stealing the money in it. She tried to cut and run. It didn't matter, because Bell and Newsom got caught anyway!
Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry: Myra Rutledge has a pearl necklace that she tends to play with out of habit. In Home Free, she apparently pulled on her necklace too hard, breaking it, causing pearls to spill on the floor, and she had to go shopping for a new necklace chain.
The Exile: Charles Martin returns to the Vigilantes from his trip to England in the book Vanishing Act. He explains to them that he has been banished from England, the country he was born in, and he can never return.
Faux Affably Evil: Henry "Hank" Jellicoe, despite having elements of Affably Evil, might actually be this. Cross Roads reveals that he is at least a He-Man Woman Hater and at most a Straw Misogynist. He treated his wife Louise like she was just a servant and didn't care if she overheard his conversations on the illegal dealings he made. She managed to escape him, and he has never been able to find her. He very much wants to kill her for having the nerve to leave him years and years ago!
Fiction 500: Myra Rutledge is the owner of a Fortune 500 candy company (almost like a reference to this trope!), and is at least a billionaire. Her friend Countess Anne "Annie" de Silva owns more money than Bill Gates, as Myra likes to point out.
Fiery Redhead: Just ask Kathryn Lucas and Maggie Spritzer. They have red hair and the attitude to match!
Freudian Excuse: Averted for the most part across the series. Practically none of the bad guys have a single excuse for their behaviour. With that said, Senator Webster from the book Payback and John Chai from Vendetta may be exceptions. The Senator had good parents, but he distanced himself from them and disowned them because he was ashamed of them and the fact that they were so low-class! John Chai is the son of a diplomat and an ambassador, and he may have gotten feelings of entitlement and being untouchable from being born in all that power, wealth and position.
Gilded Cage: Cross Roads reveals that Henry "Hank" Jellicoe put the Vigilantes and the Big Five into these to keep them divided and unable to disrupt his plans to set up an assassination attempt on President Martine Connor and step in to stop it and make sure the Pentagon keeps funding him and his organization Global Sercurities. Fortunately, the Vigilantes and the Big Five eventually realized that they were stuck in these, and got out of them. Deja Vu reveals that Jellicoe put a reporter named Virgil Anders in one, because Virgil was writing a book about Jellicoe titled "Man, Myth, Monster", and Jellicoe objected to the "monster" part.
Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: The Vigilantes have shown that they cannot understand why people like the Monarch HMO in Payback, Karl Woodley in The Jury, and Maxwell Zenowicz in Fast Track are such evil people.
Good Is Not Nice: The Sisterhood/Viglantes. Each member did start out as nice, but the minute they form this group is the minute they dive into this trope. Reason 6 is certainly a factor for this, although reason 2 may possibly apply as well. The first 7 books are all about them getting Revenge on the people who wronged them. The last 13 books are all about trying to get back to their normal, everyday lives. Unfortunately, this trope gets cranked Up to Eleven so much that some of the villains actually become Unintentionally Sympathetic!
Good People Have Good Sex: Most certainly played straight with Jack and Nikki, Myra and Charles, and Yoko and Harry. In the book Fast Track, Rena Gold has had sex with Maxwell Zenowicz, and she frankly is disgusted and tired of it by that point.
Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have: Myra Rutledge and Countess Anne "Annie" Ryland de Silva. Both of them are in their 60s and heading on to 70s. Make no mistake, they are old enough to be your grandmother, and they are incredibly sexy! In fact, Weekend Warriors has Nikki Quinn and Barbara Rutledge commenting that Myra looks better at 60 plus years old than they do at 30 plus years old. Now that's hotness!
Greed: Let's see...the Monarch HMO from Payback. The Barristers from The Jury. Rosemary Hershey in Sweet Revenge. Arden Gillespie and Roland Sullivan in Lethal Justice. Maxwell Zenowicz in Fast Track. Baron Bell in Deadly Deals. Owen Orzell and Jason Parker in Home Free. In at least 7 books out of 20, you have Greed as the motive for their terrible actions!
Hair-Trigger Temper: Kathryn Lucas and Maggie Spritzer sure have these kinds of tempers. Their friends can only live with it.
Heel Realization: Roland Sullivan in Lethal Justice apparently experienced this after Alexis Thorne was sent to prison. The good news is that it left him pretty wrecked up. The bad news is that it was an Ignored Epiphany for him.
Henpecked Husband: Played as straight as an arrow! Collateral Damage reveals that Karl Woodley has turned into this for his wife Paula Woodley. It's justified, because he was abusive and broke every bone in her body, and the Vigilantes broke every bone in his body in turn. Paula Woodley wants him to pay for all those wasted years! Unfortunately, this trope is not quite as justified with the relationships between the Vigilantes and their men.
The Hero: Nicole "Nikki" Quinn is this for the Vigilantes. Jack Emery is this for the Big Five later on.
Heroes Want Redheads: Bert Navarro wants Kathryn Lucas, who has red hair. Weekend Warriors had Jack Emery hanging out with a redhead, who turned out to be his sister-in-law, and he did that just to make his blonde girlfriend, Nikki Quinn, jealous. Ted Robinson really likes redheads, if his relationship with Maggie Spritzer is anything to go by.
Heroic BSOD: Oh, boy! Nikki Quinn suffered this in the book The Jury. Maggie Spritzer suffered this in the book Hokus Pokus. Harry Wong suffered this in the book Vanishing Act. Jack Emery helped them out of this in all three instances.
Horrible Judge of Character: Bobby Harcourt in Sweet Revenge was apparently this with regards to Rosemary Hershey, according to Isabelle Flanders's recounting of past events. Fortunately for Bobby, the lust he felt for her wore off by then, he had come to see Rosemary for what she really was, and decided to divorce her. Roland Sullivan is Lethal Justice is very much this. He felt such lust for Arden Gillespie that he cheated on his wife, and essentially became Arden's puppet. Even when the consequences finally start hitting him, he refuses to leave Arden. He even figured out at a very late date that Arden had no conscience, and she confirmed it when he asked her. He still did not leave her. This just shows that Roland is a real piece of work!
Hypocrite: Well, now! Prosecutor Jack Emery tries to have the Vigilantes arrested...at least until the book The Jury. There he was, practically spewing about how lawbreakers should be punished, and yet he never seems to notice that he broke a thousand laws himself in trying to arrest the Vigilantes. Indeed, several authority figures pretty much turn into this in helping the Vigilantes, and said authority figures eventually resign from their posts. Double Standards rear their ugly heads more than once, by showing that men mistreating women is a terrible thing and that women mistreating men is a great thing. The books Deja Vu and Home Free show the consequences of this.
Ignored Epiphany: Roland Sullivan from Lethal Justice is the personification of this trope! He started out as a relatively decent guy and family man. Then Arden Gillespie entered into the picture. He became addicted to her, and engaged in Your Cheating Heart. He helped Arden suck up all the money belonging to an elderly couple, causing this couple to be Driven to Suicide. Then, to cover up their crime, they frame Sara Whittier (AKA Alexis Thorne), their own employee for it! Sara is found guilty and imprisoned for a year. It is only when they framed Sara that Roland had a Heel Realization. He made no attempt to make it right. He lost sleep over it, forced Arden to set up some pictures of Sara in their offices (as a reminder of how low they sunk), and tried to spend more time with his family. He and Arden practically blackmail each other. He actually wants to find Sara to apologize to her...and use Buy Them Off on her. He still uses his ill-gotten gain to live the high life. He still cheats on his wife with Arden. Sure, his internal monologues claim that he has no willpower, but it seems that he just uses that to excuse his behaviour. His wife finds out that he cheated on her, throws him out and makes moves to divorce him. He actually tried to claim that he did all this for his wife and brags that he'll bring in lots of money and they'll all live the high life, but she rejects this, and points out that she never wanted to live any high life. She makes it clear that she knows that he and Arden framed Sara and urges him to do the right thing. He just blows that off. Later, he says to Arden, "I just realized something. You don't have a conscience, do you?" Arden simply retorts that it is too late to worry about something like a conscience. Roland is clearly a Horrible Judge of Character if he only made this realization at this late date. He makes no attempt to do the right thing or break away from her. He gets involved in another money-stealing scheme with Arden. Sure, he tried to refuse, but he still went and got involved. By the end, he gives off the attitude of a man who wants to get caught and punished. The fact that he has multiple instances just makes him very unsympathetic.
I Have Many Names: In Razor Sharp, there is a madam of a high-end brothel who goes by the names Lily Flowers, Crystal Clark, Ann Marie Anders, Caroline Summers and she will never tell you what her real birth name is. Vanishing Act has a pair of identity thieves going by names like Sara Brickman and Dennis Carson, Angela and Derek Bookman, Bonnie and Clyde, Tammy Jessup, James Ferris, Timothy Black, Bethany Nolan, and their real names are Margaret Pearson and William "Bill" Bell.
I Lied: Believe it or not, the heroes (anti-heroes may be a better term) use this a number of times on the villains! The Vigilantes used this on the bad guys in Final Justice. Jack Emery, and Harry Wong at least pull this on a pedophile polygamist sheriff and his two deputies in Under the Radar. Jack made an offer that the first one who told them what they needed to know would be set free. Deputy Clyde took the offer and told them everything he knew. When he was done, he said that he told them everything he knew and now they have to keep their word. Jack does not release him, and states that he will be set free, but Jack didn't say where! Clearly, the intention is to put them in prison where they belong! Deputy Clyde was unhappy, and he mouthed off some racist remarks at Harry Wong, resulting in him being knocked out.
Idiot Ball: In the book Lethal Justice, Charles Martin uses powerful connections to force reporters Maggie Spritzer and Ted Robinson to relocate to New York and stay there, where they can be constantly watched. That's fine. What's not fine is how the next book Free Fall has Maggie and Ted move back to Washington, D.C., without Charles and the men with presidential gold shields being aware of this development at all! Maybe Charles and those men were not as smart as they believed they were!
Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: Oh, yeah, the author has got that right! In the book The Jury, Jack Emery calls some in to beat down men with presidential gold shields. The book Final Justice has Bert's friends call them in to launch an attack on him and the soon to be stepping down FBI director, so that Bert will defend the director and get the position as FBI director!
I See Dead People: Barbara Rutledge comes back as a ghost after her unfortunate death in Weekend Warriors. Her sister Nikki Quinn, her mother Myra Rutledge, and her father Charles Martin can see her and talk to her. Later, Countess Anne "Annie" Ryland de Silva finds herself able to see and talk to her dead family members. Interestingly enough, the author herself claims that there's a ghost in her house!
It's All About Me: A number of villains have shades of this. In particular, Rosemary Hershey from the book Sweet Revenge is all about this trope! She doesn't want to share with anyone, she hires ugly people just to make herself look beautiful, and when things go wrong (and they do) she blames Isabelle Flanders and everyone except herself. She caused the deaths of three people to ruin Isabelle and take everything Isabelle held dear, including her fiance Bobby Harcourt. She displayed no remorse for those deaths. However, it turns out later that she blocked out a number of details related to the deaths, and once she remembers them, they stay in her mind, causing her to lose sleep and wreck up her precious ego and sanity. When Bobby makes moves to divorce her (another blow to her), at one point she calls him demanding to know why he didn't turn on her security system on his way out of her house. Bobby points out "Why is it always about you and what you want?"
It's Personal: The first 7 books have almost all the members of the Vigilantes wronged in some way. Naturally, it is quite personal for them. Some of the books after that have the Vigilantes taking action, because one of their friends or loved ones is in trouble.
Jerkass: A number of the villains are certainly this. Mitch Riley in Hide and Seek stands out as a particular example, due to him being racist, sexist, likely misogynistic, and it is stated quite clearly that nobody likes this guy. Even the good guys have gone into Jerkass behaviour a time or two.
Kiai: Asian characters tend to yell "eyowww!" as they fight or cheer in this series, as can be seen in The Jury and Hokus Pokus.
Know When to Fold 'Em: Owen Orzell in Home Free knew that he had no chance of winning once the Vigilantes caught him. As bonus points, he reveals that he gambles, tries to be very careful not to get addicted, and so he would clearly understand this trope very well.
Latex Perfection: The Vigilantes use this a lot. In fact, Alexis Thorne carries a red bag that contains the necessary tools to create latex disguises. One book explains that Alexis had Hollywood aspirations, and while she couldn't get a job as an actor, she proved to be very good at dressing up actors. Those latex disguises have certainly proven to be very helpful!
Lawful Stupid: Prosecutor Jack Emery certainly came off as this early on, but he dropped it by the book The Jury. Reporter Ted Robinson managed to hit a higher level of this than Jack did, and he didn't drop it until either the book Collateral Damage or Final Justice. FBI Agent Erin Powell AKA Honey Sweet was certainly this in Collateral Damage.
Loads and Loads of Characters: Okay, let's see. The series starts off with Nikki Quinn, Kathryn Lucas, Isabelle Flanders, Alexis Thorne, Myra Rutledge, Barbara Rutledge (she was killed, but she became a ghost), Julia Webster, Yoko Akia, Charles Martin, and Jack Emery. Then Harry Wong, Mark Lane, Bert Navarro, Ted Robinson, Countess Anne "Annie" Ryland de Silva, and Maggie Spritzer come into the pictures. Then you have Judge Cornelia "Nellie" Easter, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Fox, Pearl Barnes, Cosmo Cricket, Elias Cummings, Paula Woodley, Karl Woodley, Joseph "Joe" Espinosa, Rena Gold, Martine Connor, Henry "Hank" Jellicoe, Little Fish, Stu Franklin, and Abner Tookus. So what we have here is...30 characters! Let's not get started on all the one-shot characters in the series!
Love Interest Traitor: Starting with Final Justice, Little Fish is set up to be a love interest for Countess Anne "Annie" Ryland de Silva and Stu Franklin is set up as a love interest for Isabelle Flanders. However, by Cross Roads, both relationships are falling apart. The final blow comes when Little Fish and Stu Franklin are revealed to be Co-Dragons for Big Bad Henry "Hank" Jellicoe - as well as cold-blooded murderers. Ouch!
Love Triangle: By the book Deja Vu, one has clearly developed between Maggie Spritzer, Ted Robinson, and Abner Tookus. Maggie loves them both, but in different ways. She was engaged to be married to Ted. However, she calls off the engagement to Ted and says that the two should just be friends. She tells Abner how she feels about him, but he does not forgive her mistreatment of him, and their relationship comes to an end. The book Home Free has her hooking up with Augustus "Gus" Sullivan, and apparently Abner finally forgives Maggie. Whew!
Madness Makeover: Rosemary Hershey started out as beautiful in an artificial way. However, when the pressure, guilt and stress of her crimes come back to haunt her, this trope hits her hard. She ends up looking like something the cat dragged in, looking deranged, and several characters commenting on her dramatic change in appearance.
Manchild: The Vigilantes seem to act like womenchildren a number of times. At least Myra Rutledge and Countess Anne "Annie" de Silva have the excuse of being rich 60-something-year-old ladies who may have never developed maturity...or they lost it as they got older! Cosmo Cricket, introduced in Final Justice, could be considered this. However, he has wisdom and is quite responsible in his job as a lawyer!
Mars and Venus Gender Contrast: Absolutely loaded with this! In this series, men are unable to understand women at all, except for Jack Emery, and even he has failed in his attempts several times. The author firmly sided with women in this series, with an unhealthy dose of misandry thrown in. Naturally, you have Double Standards, Henpecked Husbands, Unfortunate Implications, as well as a cringe-inducing speech by one female character about how men are actually little boys at heart, and you just need to give them a few things to keep them happy! Indeed, women in this series are presented as understanding men completely, except evidence in the series points to the fact that the author and, by extension, the female characters don't understand anything about men!
Martial Pacifist: Yoko Akia is very much this. She is usually calm and peaceful. However, she beat Harry Wong, the second greatest martial artist in the world and Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy, in a sparring match before going out on a date with him. Indeed, no one in the series has been able to beat her in a fight! In other words, do not get on her bad side if you know what's good for you!
Miscarriage of Justice: Isabelle Flanders and Alexis Thorne were victimized in this. Both of them were framed by very bad people. Isabelle had her reputation ruined, and she was lucky that she didn't end up in prison. Alexis ended up in prison, and when she got out, she could only apply for a job as a personal shopper. The book Sweet Revenge has Isabelle strike back against bitchy Rosemary Hershey, and the book Lethal Justice has Alexis strike back against conscienceless Arden Gillespie and weepy Roland Sullivan.
Moral Myopia: This definitely happened in the book Payback. When three men wearing presidential gold shields give Jack Emery a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, Jack goes to his girlfriend Nicole Quinn and gives her a What the Hell, Hero? speech. He basically accuses her of bringing this on him just because he snooped around on her business and tells her to go to hell. She in turn gives Charles Martin the same type of speech for calling in those men on Jack. Charles responds by pointing out that she only cares because they beat up her boyfriend, and that she wouldn't care if they did that to someone she didn't know. She ends up admitting that he has a point.
Murder Is the Best Solution: Played with. The book Sweet Revenge has Rosemary Hershey seriously think about murdering Isabelle Flanders, only to decide against it, because she has the deaths of three people preying on her mind, and she doesn't want to have more people on her mind. The book Lethal Justice has Arden Gillespie seriously consider murdering both her partner Roland Sullivan and the woman she framed Sara Whittler or Alexis Thorne, only for both her and Roland to get drugged, incapacitated, and arrested by Alexis before she can even attempt it.
Muscles Are Meaningless: Yoko Akia. She is 4 feet 8 inches (1.46304 metres) tall, she weighs 90 pounds (40.82 kilograms), and just about everything about her is tiny. She can flatten just about anybody bigger, more muscular and weightier than her in a fight and her fellow Sisters and Vigilantes call her "the 90-pound stick of dynamite"! In the book Lethal Justice, Yoko (who supposedly has a brown belt) spars against Harry Wong, who is likely a Bruce LeeExpy, has a black belt, is bigger than her, has more muscle than her, and could supposedly flatten her without difficulty. Instead, the little "porcelain doll" (as Harry described her) ended up pinning him to the ground. Harry afterwards admits to Jack Emery that that was the first time he was ever pinned to the ground!
My Greatest Failure: Played with rather strangely with Henry "Hank" Jellicoe. Game Over indicates that there is one topic that he refuses to discuss, to the point that it is not even stated what the topic is. Deja Vu reveals that the topic is his wife Louise. She and her daughter left him and went under Witness Protection a long time ago, and he, with all his power, has never been able to find her. However, he had treated her like she didn't exist and was just a servant. He took phone calls on his illegal dealings, and he did it right in front of her! She kept a diary of his dealings that apparently ended up in the hands of the CIA, and he, with all his knowledge, has never been able to confirm the story. He wants to find her... and then kill her for having the nerve to go against him and leave him! Even villains can have a My Greatest Failure.
The Napoleon: Many times, a short male character will pop up and the author or one of the characters will say that the guy probably has a Napoleon Complex. This sort of character is portrayed as a Jerkass at best by the author. At times this seems to go into the territory of Unfortunate Implications.
Never My Fault: A number of villains essentially go around with this attitude. Senator Webster in Payback stands out with refusing to accept the blame for having multiple affairs, and then feebly trying to blame his wife Julia Webster for giving him AIDS. She had to shove the evidence in his face and spell out that recklessly having sex with women caused him to get AIDS, and he passed it on to her, plain and simple! Owen Orzell AKA Jody Jumper in Home Free actually averts or defies the trope by coming out and admitting that he is responsible for what he has done and nobody else.
No Name Given: Three men with gold shields who answer only to the President of the United States and Charles Martin show up in Payback. The names of these three men are never given, and this is commented on by a number of characters. Even their replacement, Chuck Nevins, in Sweet Revenge either doesn't know their names or is unwilling to divulge such information.
No Social Skills: Harry Wong most certainly has this problem. He is rather rude, impatient, and violent. One time, he went to his pal Jack Emery's house in the middle of the night, knocked on Jack's door, kicked it in when Jack didn't answer it fast enough, causing an alarm to blare for the whole neighborhood to hear, and then Harry simply punched out the alarm system to make it stop! Harry got an appropriate talking to for that!
Obstructive Bureaucrat: A major plotline that develops is how Martine Connor becomes the first female President of the United States, and she is trying to secure pardons to the Vigilantes. It proves to be more difficult than it appears. Here's why: Deadly Deals reveals her chief of staff, Aaron Lowry, who is The Napoleon, had been obstructing the presidential pardons, supposedly because it would be political suicide for the president to even try it. She ends up firing him as well as charging him in Game Over, because he turns out to be in bed with Baron Bell, a lawyer and Villain with Good Publicity who had been selling babies! Game Over also has the president obstructed by her advisors, who are more interested in their own agendas than in being loyal to her. At the urging of Henry "Hank" Jellicoe, head of Global Securities, she ends up throwing out many more people, and he supposedly pulls strings to replace them with people 100% loyal to her. She also has the pardons signed, and she paves the way to make it easy for the Vigilantes to sneak in and snatch the pardons! It's hard to be president!
Offstage Villainy: The author mishandles this trope a number of times. This results in stories where the villains are just not as terrible as they're claimed to be, causing their punishments to come off as Disproportionate Retribution, and causing the protagonists inflicting said punishments to look like the actual villains of the series instead!
Omniglot: Some instances of this trope have popped up. The Vigilantes all speak English for starters. Kathryn Lucas reveals in the first book Weekend Warriors that she knows German (to what extent is not revealed), and she is quite fluent in Spanish. Yoko Akia is quite fluent in Chinese as the book Vendetta shows, Free Fall indicates that she can speak Japanese, but she states in Hide and Seek that she can't speak German, because it's so gutteral and too hard on her tongue. After the book Free Fall, the Vigilantes are required to learn Spanish and German. Despite this, Isabelle Flanders is unable to speak Spanish very well in Cross Roads. The book Fast Track has the Vigilantes finding out that Rena Gold speaks three languages, but they just scoff and one of them says, "Yeah! Fluent in Brooklynese, Southern belle, and kitchey-coo!" Harry Wong apparently knows a lot of languages, but it is never stated what they are or how many he knows, and it seems that he just uses them for cursing and showing that he is beyond furious.
Pay Evil unto Evil: Overuse of this trope is a major cause in losing all sympathy for the Sisterhood. Vendetta has the Sisterhood capture the Chinese ambassador's son who drunkenly killed Barbara Rutledge and her unborn child in a hit and run, and was not punished due to Diplomatic Impunity. They punish him for this, by skinning him alive, and then shrugging it off afterward! He was a creep and not a nice guy, but he simply did not deserve that level of punishment! The author actually tries to justify all this by saying that the law is unable to punish criminals, and seriously expect you to cheer on the Vigilantes when they inflict terrible punishments on their targets! It's too bad you find yourself feeling sorry for their targets instead of the protagonists themselves!
Pedophile Priest: Free Fall has the Vigilantes take on a group of pedophiles, and one of them is a deacon, which is not exactly a priest, but pretty darn close. Under the Radar has the Vigilantes take on a polygamist (considered synonymous to "pedophile" in this story) sect in Utah, run by a Prophet named Harold Evanrod. While Harold is probably not supposed to be a priest, he might as well be.
Pintsized Powerhouse: Yoko Akia. She is 4 feet 8 inches (1.46304 metres) tall, she weighs 90 pounds (40.82 kilograms), and just about everything about her is tiny. She can flatten just about anybody in a fight and her fellow Sisters and Vigilantes call her "the 90-pound stick of dynamite"!
Police Are Useless: Played very straight! The cops know who killed Barbara Rutledge in a hit-and-run in Weekend Warriors, but can't do anything about it because the driver uses Diplomatic Impunity. Indeed, the Vigilantes operate under this assumption, and considering how the police are often incompetent or in the bad guy's pockets, that assumption may not be too far off!
Politically Incorrect Hero: Oh, man. Books like Weekend Warriors and Vendetta show that a number of the Vigilantes are very anti-Asian. Kathryn went into a rant at Yoko Akio about how she's using the fact that she's Asian and different as an excuse to be wishy-washy. Yoko is not wishy-washy. One of their targets is a man named John Chai, who they keep calling "Chinese boy". They don't call him anything worse than that, but the fact that the book he's in blatantly uses Yellow Peril to justify putting him in the role of the villain implies that the Vigilantes are very anti-Asian, despite the fact that one of their members is Asian herself! Later on, the Vigilantes pretty much indicate that they are Straw Feminists and misandristic, which male readers will not appreciate!
Politically Incorrect Villain: This sort of villain has popped up a number of times. FBI assistant director Mitch Riley refers to Harry Wong as a "slant-eye" at one point in Hide and Seek. Deputy Clyde calls Harry Wong by that racial epithet in the book Under The Radar, which Harry happily repays by tweaking the scum's nose and knocking him out. Before the book Lethal Justice, Alexis Thorne reveals in her thoughts that her employers chose to frame her for their crimes because she is black. Strangely, that is never brought up in the book where Alexis pays them back.
Protagonist-Centered Morality: Oh, yeah! This series cheerfully marches into this territory, particularly by the book Free Fall. If you don't support the Vigilantes, then you're a Jerkass. The Vigilantes broke laws to a million pieces, in their quest for Revenge against every Karma Houdini who wronged them. They also did things like give three rapists the John Wayne Bobbit treatment, broke every bone in a wife-beater's body, and skinned alive a diplomat's son who used Diplomatic Impunity. Now, Jack Emery did talk his girlfriend Nikki Quinn about the Vigilante's methods from time to time.
Psycho for Hire: By the book Fast Track, the Vigilantes have become this. It's debatable whether or not the author intended them to be put into this trope, but they fulfill most, if not all, the requirements of this trope!
Put on a Bus: Charles Martin was essentially put on this in the book Under the Radar. He comes back to stay by the book Vanishing Act.
Rape as Backstory: The first book, Weekend Warriors, reveals that three bikers raped Kathryn Lucas in front of her disabled husband, and they knew that her husband was disabled and helpless to stop them. Naturally, she was left badly scarred by this. The book has her and her new friends track down the three bikers responsible and give them the John Wayne Bobbit treatment in order for her to obtain closure in this matter. After that book, her attitude remains as combative, confrontational, explosive and fiery as ever, which suggests that her behaviour may simply be part of who she is, and not just the result of her being raped. (Or perhaps that the scars were too deep to be healed by one act of vengeance....)
Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Kathryn Lucas from Weekend Warriors abides by this trope. Three bikers raped her in front of her husband. Those three knew that her husband was suffering from multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and seizures, so they knew that he would not be able to stop them. Interestingly, this is one of the few books where the author does not look through the viewpoint of the villain...perhaps to show that their crime is so horrible that going into their minds is too much. Kathryn also explained how she couldn't punish them legally because by the time she got around to that, the statute of limitations for her rape had run out.
Revenge by Proxy: In Home Free, Owen Orzell reveals to the Vigilantes that he had worked with CIA director Calvin Span and Big Bad Henry "Hank" Jellicoe. Jellicoe has already been captured and is currently rotting away in a federal prison. Span is dead, because sometime after he was forced to resign from his job as CIA director by President Martine Connor, he was shoveling snow off his driveway and died of a heart attack. Orzell points out that Span knew better than to do that, because he had heart surgery a few years ago, and that he had clearly become a Death Seeker. Orzell asks if they're going to punish him in Span's place, and the Vigilantes say yes. Now this example is treated sympathetically, because the president had essentially enlisted the Vigilantes to take down Orzell, and Orzell's hands are just as dirty as Span's and Jellicoe's.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Played with. The Vigilantes obey a Thou Shalt Not Kill code. However, they will give the sucker a Fate Worse than Death. The first seven books have each of the 7 members strike back against the people who wronged them without getting caught. Also, they wait very patiently for a few months to a year before striking each target.
Rule of Empathy: The author proves to have difficulty using this trope. The Vigilantes are a group of women who should have your sympathy, with their Dark And Troubled Pasts. Unfortunately, they prove to be politically incorrect, abusive to victims, sexist, acting more like Straw Feminists than real feminists, dishing out a Fate Worse than Death than a Cool and Unusual Punishment, and acting more like spoiled little girls who have never really grown up than actual women. They basically get away with all of this because the author wants them to! It's no wonder other characters, including some of the villains, prove to be way more likable in comparison!
Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: The Vigilantes definitely use this trope to accomplish their missions and with style! In fact, it seems that Washington, D.C. pretty much requires everyone to make use of this trope. A number of the bad guys use this, and John Chai from Vendetta happens to be very explicit, considering how he was promising the Vigilantes that his father would make them pay (The Vigilantes were not intimidated by this, for the record).
Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: The Vigilantes, especially Myra Rutledge and Countess Anne de Silva, need the money they have to accomplish their missions and with style. Prosecutor Jack Emery in Weekend Warriors did express hatred for how rich people think they're above the law, and brings that up in Free Fall. He does have a point, considering how a number of bad guys have money at their side, and have used it to keep themselves protected.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In Final Justice, Stu Franklin ends up pulling this. On his way out, he warns Isabelle Flanders that they're going to get caught and that they should flee. This may qualify as a Heel-Face Turn. Then, again, maybe not, if the book Cross Roads is anything to go by.
Self-Deprecation: In Payback, Sweet Revenge, and Hide and Seek, the South is essentially derided for being sleazy and stupid while pretending to be genteel and high-class. What makes all these instances this trope is the fact that the author is a Southern woman herself, and it's possible that she is only showing what other people's opinion of the South is.
She's Got Legs: Let's see. Lizzie Fox has them, Alexis Thorne has them, and Isabelle Flanders has them. There might be more, but those three are definitely noted for this trope.
Shut Up, Hannibal!: In Under the Radar, the Prophet Harold Evanrod gives his followers of the pedophile polygamist sect Heaven On Earth a speech about how the outsiders who have invaded their homes are doomed to damnation and that the Heaven On Earth people are righteous and will prevail. Kathryn Lucas responds, "Cut the bullshit, you creep, and do what this guy tells you, or you'll be picking your brains off your upper lip." That makes him shut up.
Single Woman Seeks Good Man: After getting rid of their cold-blooded murderer bad boyfriends, Countess Anne de Silva and Isabelle Flanders are single once again. In the book Home Free, Anne forms a relationship with Fergus Duffy and Isabelle forms a relationship with Abner Tookus. Fergus and Abner are genuine good men.
Soap Punishment: Collateral Damage has FBI director Elias Cummings threaten this sort of punishment to Daniel Winters for throwing four-letter words around.
Socialite: Myra Rutledge is a beautiful socialite in her 60s. She runs a Fortune 500 candy company, and she doesn't know how much money she has, except for the fact that she's a billionaire at least. She is in charge of the Vigilantes, a group that breaks the law to achieve justice, and she will not hesitate to use her money to bankroll the Vigilantes and the connections she has to get the Vigilantes out of trouble. She is one of the good guys, by the way. She also has a pearl necklace that she has a habit of playing with.
Spotlight-Stealing Squad: As the series goes on, more attention becomes devoted to Jack Emery, Harry Wong, Bert Navarro, Ted Robinson, and Joe Espinosa (not to mention a few other characters). Some reviewers noticed this and complained that this series is about the Sisterhood, not the Brotherhood! This may have been the product of Designated Protagonist Syndrome.
Straw Misogynist: A number of male villains are very much this. Mitch Riley from the book Hide and Seek and Henry "Hank" Jellicoe would be some major examples.
Stupid Good: Averted for the most part. Subverted, however, in Lethal Justice. Alexis Thorne a.k.a. Sara Whittier goes to see Arden Gillespie and Roland Sullivan after they have been caught embezzling and are soon to be arrested. She offers them some wine and tells them that she forgives them for framing her for their crimes and ruining her life. However, after Roland and Arden drink the wine, when asked why she's not drinking, Alexis reveals that she doctored the wine with tranquilizers and states that she's not stupid! Yep, she was just pretending to be Stupid Good just to get them to let their guards down! She follows it up by having a tattoo artist put "BASTARD" on Roland's forehead, "BITCH" on Arden's forehead, and tattoo Arden's body with snakes.
Take That: Hoo, boy! FM is clearly very fond of it, and is not subtle about it either! Weekend Warriors fires one at three rapists who happen to be dentists. Payback fires this at a Democrat senator and a Health Maintenance Organization (which is Republican, by the way). Vendetta have some unflattering things to say about China and its people. The Jury throws one at a Domestic Abuser, who happens to be the National Security Advisor to the President of the United States - and his good pal! Free Fall pokes at Hollywood. Hide and Seek shoots one at the FBI. Fast Track hurls this at newspapers like the Washington Post, and the Department of Homeland Security. Final Justice essentially says that Las Vegas casino security teams are one step away from the Gestapo and the Mafia. Under the Radar says that polygamists in Utah are a bunch of pedophiles and cultists, as well as mocking the National Guard. Razor Sharp fires one at johns/pimps, and portrays congressmen, senators and the Vice President himself as part of this group. Vanishing Act throws one at identity thieves. Home Free fires one at the CIA. The POTUS is never given a name, but it's a Republican man, and might be none other than George W. Bush! FM is a 79-year-old woman going on 80, and it seems that she is angry at the world, and probably sees a lot of topics as those bratty kids that won't stay off her lawn!
Tears of Remorse: Alexis Thorne in Lethal Justice says that Roland Sullivan was apparently shedding these kind of tears at her trial, after he helped Arden Gillespie frame Alexis. However, Alexis knows that Roland must have Ignored the Epiphany afterwards, so she has little sympathy for him.
Teeny Weenie: John Chai in the book Vendetta, who is being used to represent Yellow Peril, is revealed to have this. Nikki and Alexis ask Yoko if it is true that Chinese men have a Teeny Weenie, and Yoko, giggling, confirms this.
Token Minority: Yoko Akia is the Token Asian, and Alexis Thorne is the Token Black of the Sisterhood or the Vigilantes. The other women are white. The two characters' nationalities definitely play a role in the series. Oddly, Alexis reveals in her thoughts that she knows that she was framed for crimes she did not commit because she was a poor black woman, but in the book starring her called Lethal Justice, that was not brought up at all!
Tomboy and Girly Girl: Kathryn Lucas (tomboy) and Yoko Akia (girly girl). Well, actually, just about every female character is a girly girl when compared to Kathryn.
Too Happy to Live: The very first book, Weekend Warriors, starts off with Myra Rutledge and her daughters Nikki Quinn and Barbara Rutledge, all three of them happy as they can be. Then Barbara gets struck and killed (along with her unborn child) by a drunk hit-and-run driver exploiting Diplomatic Impunity. Cue the Heroic BSOD and the formation of the Vigilantes!
Took a Level in Jerkass: Oh, man! Many of the characters start out as relatively nice, and then become more and more like Jerkasses as the series goes on. Charles Martin notes in the book Vanishing Act that the Vigilantes are treating him with little respect, when they used to defer to his judgement before. Charles is hardly a saint himself in terms of behaviour. However, their attitudes come back to bite them hard in the book Deja Vu, and they seem to have dropped the Jerkassitude (ha, ha!) by the book Home Free.
True Companions: At the beginning, we have Nikki Quinn, Kathryn Lucas, Julia Webster, Myra Rutledge, Charles Martin, Alexis Thorne, and Yoko Akia. Then Julia dies, and Countess Anne "Annie" Ryland de Silva takes her place. Lizzie Fox and Maggie Spritzer become part of it. Then a group consisting of Jack Emery, Harry Wong, Bert Navarro, Ted Robinson, and Joe Espinosa eventually gets formed. Yes, it gets a little complicated after awhile.
Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: played straight with Elizabeth "Lizzie" Fox and Cosmo Cricket. Lizzie is stunningly beautiful. Cosmo...well, he has feet as big as canoes (maybe even shaped like them), he has a big nose on a flat face, he has ears as round as pancakes, and he is apparently so fat or bulky that he needs to have his clothes tailored for him.
Ungrateful Bastard: The protagonists, of all people, are these! Payback has Mark Lane save Julia's life, and instead of being grateful, Charles Martin sends three men with presidential gold shields to intimidate Mark, and the three men perform a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Mark's friend Jack Emery. In that book Deja Vu, almost all the men working with the Vigilantes up and leave, and Charles has to explain to the ladies that their men risk their lives, careers and reputations on a daily basis for them, and they have never shown any sort of gratitude for their men! Unfortunately, the ladies do not take that to heart, because the men successfully find the ladies' target, point out his location, and the women respond to this by performing a No Holds Barred Beatdown on their target in front of their men, without even allowing the men to have a piece of him! Ungrateful Bitches!
Unholy Matrimony: A number of stories has this going on between the bad guys, like in Lethal Justice, Vanishing Act, and Deadly Deals. However, the "love" between such couples is apparently not genuine, and they will inevitably turn on each other once the Vigilantes and Karma start closing in on them!
The Unreveal: Collateral Damage reveals the Elias Cummings never wanted the job as FBI director, but he was blackmailed into taking the job. It is never revealed what he was being blackmailed over, but Judge Cornelia "Nellie" Easter knows what it was, and states she would have done the same thing in his place. Perhaps he committed an act of justifiable murder.
Vigilante Man: This series is about Vigilante Women! They obey a Thou Shalt Not Kill code, give villains a Fate Worse than Death, and they are usually careful to Never Hurt an Innocent. The book Free Fall had them being arrested by the police, but that's okay, because the judge, prosecuting attorney, and defense attorney are secretly on their side, as well as being considered heroes by a lot of people! Later on, you have a group of Vigilante Men made up of Jack Emery, Harry Wong, Bert Navarro, Ted Robinson, and Joe Espinosa!
Villain with Good Publicity: Okay, let's see. The three rapists in Weekend Warriors, who have apparently raped "lots and lots and lots" of women, and almost no one suspects a thing! Senator Webster in Payback, who sure knows how to use the Public Relations machine. Hollywood actor Michael Lyons in Free Fall, who is adored by the public, but is a sexual deviant in private. Lawyer Baron Bell in Deadly Deals, who seems to be such a lovable guy around kids, but actually sells babies! Good thing the Vigilantes have ways to take down such villains!
Villainous Breakdown: In books like Sweet Revenge, Lethal Justice, Free Fall, and Hide and Seek, the Vigilantes will drive the Big Bad into this, and then go directly to them to administer justice face-to-face.
Was It All a Lie?: Deja Vu has both Countess Anne de Silva and Isabelle Flanders having a short dialogue about their ex-boyfriends Little Fish and Stu Franklin. The two men were revealed to be cold-blooded murderers in the previous book. Naturally, the two women had to be wondering if they meant anything to those two men or not really.
What the Hell, Hero?: The book Payback had Jack giving Nikki this after suffering a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from three men with gold shields sent by Charles. Shortly afterwards, Nikki gives one to Charles. In Sweet Revenge, Jack gives this to Nikki over the Vigilantes trying to get revenge on Rosemary Hershey by driving her literally insane!
Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Final Justice introduces a very distinct character named Cosmo Cricket. Ted Robinson asks Lizzie Fox "Who names their kid Cosmo Cricket?" and she responds "His parents did."
Wife-Basher Basher: In a rare female example, the Vigilantes become this on Karl Woodley, a National Security Advisor who broke every bone in his wife, Paula Woodley's, body, in the book The Jury. They get into his home and break every bone in his body! Despite having apparently reached her breaking point, Paula takes him back. Fortunately, he is permanently crippled, wheelchair-bound, and can't lay a hand on her. A later book reveals that she is taking great pleasure in tormenting him, implying that she only took him back so that she can make him suffer as much as she had!
With Friends Like These...: Okay, Jack Emery and Harry Wong have a relationship where they supposedly love each other like brothers, but you might have a hard time believing that! Ted Robinson and Maggie Spritzer are both reporters, which is a dog-eat-dog career, and despite them living together, having sex and all that fine stuff, they have resorted to stealing stuff from each other. Later, Maggie becomes Editor-in-Chief of the Washington Post and Ted's boss, and she loves to ''boss' him around! Honestly, it's hard to believe those two are on good terms!
Woman Scorned: Justified big time with Julia Webster in the book Payback. Her husband Senator Webster slept around, got infected with AIDS, and then infected her with it! He didn't know he was infected, but the damage was done. Julia made sure he paid for that!
Interestingly, one exception occurs in the book Hide and Seek. Jack Emery was rescuing Lizzie Fox from the FBI, and Lizzie wanted him to rescue Judge Easter from them, too. Jack tried to point out that they needed a plan to rescue her and that they could not just charge back out there. Lizzie, refusing to be amenable to reason, makes the ever-so-mature decision to pull a gun out on Jack to make him help her rescue Judge Easter now. Jack managed to knock her out with a karate chop to the back of her neck. He did send a silent apology to her later on for that.
John Chai from Vendetta.
Karl Woodley from The Jury.
Maxwell Zenowicz from Fast Track.
Wounded Gazelle Gambit: The book Sweet Revenge reveals that Rosemary Hershey used this to ruin Isabelle Flanders. Too bad for her that Isabelle had help in getting back on her feet and she is now gunning for her....
Yamato Nadeshiko: Despite Yoko Akia referring to herself as Chinese in Weekend Warriors, Free Fall establishes her as Japanese, so she is definitely this trope. She is highly feminine, and mostly polite and soft-spoken, but make no mistake, this 4 feet 8 inches tall, 90-pound woman can and will engage in Waif-Fu if the situation calls for it. In fact, she has lost a fight on-screen and she pinned her future husband Harry Wong to the ground in a sparring match. It is telling, because Harry can flatten just about anybody in a fight, and he states afterwards that that was the first time in his life that he had ever been pinned to the ground.
Yellow Peril: Oh yes, this series, particularly the book Vendetta, happily went into this trope! That book even had the ladies take evil John Chai and disguise him as Fu Manchu! In other books of the series, Harry Wong gets little respect from a number of Americans, simply because he is Asian.
You Can't Go Home Again: The series definitely has fun with this! The book Sweet Revenge has Isabelle Flanders stating the trope after she talks her old fiance Bobby Harcourt, and it's made clear that it's too late for them to restart the relationship they once had. At the end of the book Free Fall, the Vigilantes become fugitives and a major plot point involves them waiting to be pardoned by the President. They do get pardoned by the book Game Over, but they still go through a few more hurdles. By the last book Home Free, the Vigilantes finally get some homes, and their lives are certainly different from what they had before.
You Killed My Father: Yoko Akio in Free Fall had a mother. Her mother was taken into the USA by Hollywood actor Michael "Mick" Lyons, and was used as a slave, prostitute, and other terrible things. Fortunately, Yoko had been taken away from this before she got subjected to the same fate. When she finally confronts Lyons, she pretty much tells him "You killed my mother!" He acknowledges that she died, but claims that he didn't kill her. Yoko points out that Lyons had put her mother on the "sex circuit", and that he most certainly killed her.
Your Cheating Heart: A number of villains have engaged in this trope. Senator Webster in Payback. Rosemary Hershey in Sweet Revenge, who is female, and her cheating is in no way presented in a sympathetic light. Roland Sullivan in Lethal Justice. Mitch Riley in Hide And Seek. Baron Bell in Deadly Deals. A couple of them receive a divorce as one of the consequences. Interestingly, the trope gets deconstructed in Payback. It's like this...Senator Webster cheated on his wife Julia Webster with multiple women. She had him write down a list of the women he had affairs with. One of them is married, and Julia points out that her husband would have performed mayhem on the Senator if he had known. The real clincher is that the Senator got infected with AIDS from one of the women, and he ended up giving it to Julia! He didn't know he was infected, but still.... Of course, she did reveal the truth to him that they both have AIDS, and he naturally could not believe that powerful he had been infected by such a thing. It goes to show that recklessly sleeping around is not bliss, and that it is in fact dangerous!