Wednesday, January 12, 2011

CBR III Review #10-15: Jack Daniels Series by J.A. Konrath

Just a heads up these reviews are short. The Entire Jack Daniel Series reads very similarly and looking back it's hard to distinguish what happened in each novel, but they are all very entertaining novels.  However, one probably shouldn't read them all in a row.

CBR III Review #10: Whiskey Sour by J.A. Konrath

Jacqueline Daniels (yes she is known as Jack Daniels) is a homicide detective in the Chicago Police Department. Jack is a 46 year old divorced woman who carries her share of baggage. She is an insomniac who tries her best to have a life but often fails because she gets caught up in a case.  The case that surrounds Whiskey Sour is the Gingerbread Man Killer, as in You can't catch me I'm in the Gingerbread Man".  I know it sounds horrific but Konrath does a decent job of making sure the killer comes across more twisted than corny.

A lot of mystery novels read like watching a CSI show.  It is very formulaic and there is a consistent lack of character development.  The Jack Daniel series doesn't offer much more that is different, but J.A. Konrath has a wicked sense of humor and it makes the books fun to read.  Whiskey Sour would be one in a million mystery/crime fiction novels if it didn't have the humor as a strong backbone for the novel. However, the dialogue can sometimes come across as too witty. It almost has a Joss Whedon ring to it.

One of the best descriptions for this novel I ran across was, "Suspense, with humor, and just a dash of gratuitous violence."

CBR III Review #11: Bloody Mary by J.A. Konrath

When two arms (just the arms) show up in one of Chicago's morgue many questions are asked.  When it turns up the handcuffs that joined the two arms belong to Chicago's homicide  Det. Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels more questions unsurprisingly spring up.  One of my favorite complaints I've read about the novel is the overabundance of gore.  Personally, if I'm reading a fairly predicable mystery novel the more gore the better!  I've read some of J.A. Konrath other novels and trust me the gore in this novel is nothing compared to some of his others.  Bloody Mary, much like it predecessor Whiskey Sour has tons of witty remarks and humor to keep the novel going even with the mediocre mystery.

Part of the novel deals with Jack Daniel's personal life which include: her boyfriend Latham, the reappearance of her ex husband, her ailing mother who refuses to accept the limitations that come with age, and her partner who appears to be going through a midlife crisis.

There are some great twist in the novel and it kept it from feeling too predictable, but it's really once again J.A. Konrath's humor that saves the novel.

CBR III Review #12: Rusty Nail by J.A. Konrath

This was my favorite of the Jack Daniel's series.  It's J.A. Konrath's third novel in the series and like the first two Whiskey Sour and Bloody Mary this novel offers violent thrills, gruesome gore, and some wonderful one-liners and sarcastic dialogue.

Det. Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels receives an anonymous snuff film and it looks like it can only be the work of the notorious, and very dead, Gingerbread Man.  Her hunt for the supposed copycat answers the question: "What kind of family does a depraved serial killer come from?".  It turns out in this case the apple didn't fall too far from the tree. The level of depravity that is uncovered makes me wonder a bit about Konrath's own sanity.

CBR III Review #13: Dirty Martini by by J.A. Konrath

Biological terrorism is the set up for Konrath's fourth novel that follows Chicago's homicide Lt. Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels.  A terrorist and extortionist is spreading botulism across the city and 30 people have all ready died.  The homicide department is brought in to capture the terrorist while the city debates if they are willing to negotiate with an extortionist who wants $2 Million to stop spreading the deadly toxin.

Between chasing down a terrorist and trying to keep the City of Chicago calm she has to deal with the fact that her boyfriend has proposed. To complicate matters even more she finds out her long-deceased father isn't all that dead after all.

At this point either you really enjoy Konrath's sense of humor and writing style or you hate it.

CBR III Review #14: Fuzzy Navel by J.A. Konrath

Lieutenant Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels from the Chicago Police Department is in a fairly steady point in her life, until a group of vigilantes decide she may have seen too much and they decide to take her and her loved ones out of the picture.  Things go from bad to worse when a criminal from her past shows up hell bent on revenge. How can Jack navigate both threats and keep herself and everyone she loves unscathed?

This novel is unique because the storyline takes place in a small 8 hour window, but you wont be disappointed because it pacts in the action and emotion.  However, I will warn you that this novel feels the most cartoonish out of the bunch and often times I had a hard time following who was shooting at who and why.  This wasn't my favorite novel of the series but it kept me entertained.

CBR III Review #15: Cherry Bomb by J.A. Konrath

If you made it to the end of Fuzzy Navel by J.A. Konrath it's pretty much an obligation to read his newest addition to he Jack Daniel series.  There isn't much I can say about this novel without giving out the ending to Konrath's previous installment.

I can say this novel may have the highest body count of his Jack Daniel novels and the deaths are anything but routine and boring.  I will put out a warning to those who have masculine body parts, because there is a scene that even made me cringe.  This novel was darker than the others in the series, but it wasn't without Konrath's signature sarcasm.

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