Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bloody Mary - J.A. Konrath

2005; 338 pages. Genre : Witty gritty bang bang. Overall Rating : C+..

This is the second in Konrath's Jacqueline 'Jack' Daniels; series. A pair of detached arms show up at the county morgue. In handcuffs. More exactly, in a pair of Jack Daniels' handcuffs.

.Jack and her Viagra-popping partner search for clues to the victim's identity, and try to keep the latest Chicago serial killer's body-count from going too high. Meanwhile, Jack's mom decides to move in with her, and brings along Jack's ex- for company, which not surprisingly leaves her current beau a bit less than enthralled.

What's To Like...
This is similar to James Patterson's Alex Cross detective series, but with more wit and snappy dialogue. There's lots of action, and gratuitous gore. Great literature, it ain't. But it's a quick read and keeps your attention. Wikipedia calls this sort of book an airport novel. While the storyline is typical murder-thriller stuff, you at least get to see how Konrath, a male author, handles his female protagonist and her soap-opera-ish life.

If there's a downside, it's the story's believability. It turns out that Mr. Psycho-killer's been dismembering folks for many years, and getting away with it just fine. Why then does he suddenly feel compelled to leave body parts at the morgue, with purloined police equipment planted on them? Later on, after wiping out half of Chicago's police force, instead of making an easy getaway, he (you guessed it) heads straight for Jack Daniels' home for the epic confrontation. Yeah, that's smart.

Bottom Line...
Read Bloody Mary for its entertainment value only. There's at least five mixed-drink-titled books in this series, and I'll probably end up reading most of them. It's appparent that they all are going to have a standard serial-slayer plot, with Jack's personal life progressing a bit from one book to the next. I suppose that isn't a very ambitious goal, but Konrath is good at it, and hey, that same template is used by the scriptwriters of Cold Case, one of my favorite TV shows.

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