Summer is home to the blockbuster movie. Movies that feature old favorite characters trotted out for another adventure in a tale often much weaker than the original good one. Movies that feature stereotypical characters, the occasional all to clever dialogue line, and plenty of violence filled action and mayhem so that the viewer doesn't notice the story is shallow and has no depth. It happens in books as well though it usually isn't so obvious.
Kork is back and on a violence filled vengeance spree. She begins by grabbing Lt.Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels' elderly mother and holding her hostage. The plan is simple and cruel. Kork will force Mom to get Jack to come home and then use Jack to get everyone Kork owes payback to come over. Once everybody is there the torture and killings will begin with Jack having to witness the death of everyone she ever cared about or loved. Once that happens and is finished, Jack will die and the mad psycho woman will live happily ever after. A classic setup. There is one little problem.
Jack is at work and really busy. She is working a sniper shooting scene. The sniper took out a victim at one crime scene. But, the sniper wasn't working solo. Other snipers have dropped two more victims elsewhere and instead of following the plan are also wounding and killing cops. The snipers aren't through as they embark on their own carnage filled vengeance joy ride.
A series that began so well and with such promise in "Dirty Martni" has steadily devolved in each novel to this cartoonish freak show of violence in the fifth installment. It isn't just the fact that the book has a hideous open ending promising more of the same drivel in the next book. It isn't the fact that Kork, who should have been delegated to the dustbin heap of over used characters long ago, returns yet again. It is all that and the amazing amount of gratuitous violence in this clichéd book filled with zero character development or plot.
Violence is the thing on page after page, short chapter after short chapter. The story, such as it is, is told through all three of the snipers, Kork, Jack, Jack's police partner Herb, Jack's Mom and all of the other hostages. Chapters consist of at most 4 or 5 pages, and usually just a page, as readers head hop through various characters that are contemplating violence, doing violence, or suffering from violence they unleashed or was unleashed upon them. In short, this is what an action movie on paper looks like. A really bad, unfunny, stupid action movie with a cheap ending that isn't one, tacked on before the movie goes straight to video and the 99 cents bin.
Fuzzy Navel: A Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels Mystery
J. A. Konrath
Review copy provided by the staff of the Plano, Texas Public Library System
Kevin R. Tipple © 2008
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