I Know Jack

Whiskey Sour by J. A. Konrath appeals to the love of alcohol in me. Not that I drink a lot, I have my standards. I never drink more than there is. The second appeal of J. A. Konrath novels is how he makes fun of himself by making fun of everything. Look at this subtitle: A Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels Mystery. Konrath could have left out the word in parentheses and left the reader to get the joke even though it might have been delayed. By putting in “Jack” Konrath is saying to the reader “Yeah, you would have gotten the joke, but I want to get on with the story, so I left this clue.” Also, he skillfully avoids the charges of faux ultra-feminism that might be leveled if he had stayed with only “Jacqueline.” This novel is full of fun referrals that are humorous, many times at the level of a pun, and items the ungenerous might call snarky. My kind of fun reading.

I could have “bought” this book for the grand price of USD 0.00. I would have then received an offer to get the audiobook at USD 1.99. By using Kindle Unlimited, I got the book for free (yeah, I know, it went into my ten-book queue) and was able to get the audiobook for free. There must be some sort of formula to figure out how much I saved but I don’t do math. I read. And sometimes I listen. With this novel, I did both and there is even synchronization between the media.

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For the audio presentation, narrator Susie Breck has just the right voice for the hardboiled, no-nonsense, 40-year-old female protagonist.

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There is a killing from the outset. We don’t have a name for the killer other than “The Gingerbread Man.” In the first few chapters, we will learn about the investigators. Herb Benedict, Jack’s partner loves food above anything. A person who can still think about food after viewing gory crime scenes and (later) while overcoming tongue lacerations is a true food addict. Jack will also frequently remark on Benedict’s fashion sense. Konrath immediately introduces his sense of humor (fast food … Pizza express) in the early chapters. The serial killer will appear and share demented strategies in chapters three and five.

The killer has a mission, one of revenge, against a specified group of people. The killer has a number in mind. Once that number of people are dead, the Gingerbread Man will go away. What is the connection between the victims? That is what will take Lt. Jack a long time to figure out. Her attempts will attract the killer and cause a slight change in plans as the killer decides to kill Jack as well as members of his favorite subset.

Readers have an idea from the outside how the book will end but getting there is fun and worth investment of reader time. Lt. Jack takes an almost unbelievable amount of physical punishment from repeated scrapes with the killer. It made me want to dig my Kevlar vest out of the closet. I find the Konrath style of mixing gore, mystery, and humor quirky and entertaining. I gave this a five-star Amazon rating, something I do with most Konrath writings but not with some of his collaborative writing. I will look at some of those in later reviews.

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