Whiskey Sour by J.A. Konrath
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Whiskey Sour is the first book in the Jack Daniels mystery series. Lieutenant Jack Daniels of the Chicago Police Department is an insomniac workaholic who is on the case of a brutal serial killer at work in Chicago. He goes by the name of the Gingerbread Man, and his favorite hobby is taking lives in the most brutal ways possible. Jack has made police work her life, at the expense of her marriage and peace of mind. And now, she’s too set in her ways to change. That same determination has attracted the twisted adoration of the Gingerbread Man, and he turns his attention on her in a very personal way.
This was a good suspense book. The viewpoint of the killer is absolutely chilling. He is clearly a sociopath with a mean streak a mile wide. Seeing his POV only made me root all the harder for Jack to catch him. In contrast, I liked Jack’s calm, battered but unbroken personality. She hasn’t had it easy, and the weight of the world seems to rest upon her shoulders, but she’s not self-pitying, but very matter of fact about her situation. She gave up a lot to be a good cop, and I felt bad that she couldn’t have a husband who understood her drive and loved her all the more for it. Being a softhearted person, I hope she finds someone so she doesn’t have to be lonely and turn to all the whiskey that people give her because of her name to get through the tough nights when she’s not working.
Jack kicks butt, and she’s credible in her role as a Lieutenant in the Violent Crimes Unit. She knows her stuff. I like that she’s a bit weathered by life and isn’t a spring chicken, already a mature woman in her forties with a divorce under her belt. She acts like a veteran cop, savvy and seasoned, but there was a pervasive sense of risk to her, because the killer has also been at his ‘career’ a long time. He was a wily and deadly match for her that kept me on the edge as I read. Konrath has a way of writing that keeps the tension high, but also feels very police procedural. Almost like Law and Order meets Criminal Minds.
I am becoming a big fan of straight mysteries, so I liked that aspect. I’m not and never will be a huge fan of serial killer fiction, so that was a bit of a turn-off, especially the descriptions of the gruesome details of the Gingerbread Man’s acts on his victims. Konrath isn’t lurid about it, but reading about the way this freak hurt people didn’t make for fun reading (and it probably shouldn’t). I will keep reading this series because I like Jack’s character, and the investigative aspects. However, the violence and sociopathy of the nemesis is quite disturbing and not something I’d want to delve into on too often an occasion. (Shrugs) You take the good with the bad.
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