Previous reviews are at Mack Pitches Up

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bloody Mary, J.A. Konrath

This is the second in Konrath's Jack Daniels series. The first is Whiskey Sour, reviewed in an earlier post.

Once again Chicago is menaced by a serial killer and once again the killer has a personal interest in Jack (Jacqueline) Daniels. This case begins when an extra set of arms appear in the morgue. That in itself is unusual but these are also attached to a set of Jack's handcuffs.

The story told from the point of view of Jack and the killer. This approach is appealing because we get to see the actions of the police from the outside. As with Whiskey Sour, the killer feels superior to the police and unstoppable. Jack's investigation has a logical flow and you feel that the killer could have been unmasked following the clues uncovered.

Midway, the story makes a turn that the reader might not expect but allows for new characters and story elements to be introduced. To say more would be to reveal spoilers.

Bloody Mary adds more detail to Jack's personal life which is, for the most part, chaotic and a complete mess. Mr Friskers, the cat of a victim from Whiskey Sour, now lives with Jack. Despite the friendly sounding name, Mr. Friskers hasn't mellowed, still has the personality of a feral, and seems to really dislike men. I like the cat.

Jack's aging mother shows up to move in with Jack. She has Jack's ex-husband Allen in tow, both hoping Jack will reconcile with Allen. This is awkward since Jack is still dating Latham whom she met in Whiskey Sour.

Experienced mystery readers may find procedural details in the second half of the book annoying. Jack and the assistant district attorney would benefit from a visit by the Law and Order characters.

Konrath has produced another fast-paced, often gruesome, violent, hardboiled detective. He uses Jack's family and her partner Herb Benedict to provide some humor to the story.

I listened to this book rather than read it. It is from Audible and is superbly narrated by Dick Hill and Susie Breck.