Monday, May 18, 2009

Rusty Nail - J.A. Konrath

2006; 386 pages. Genre : Slash, gash, and stash. Third book in the Jacqueline "Jack Daniels" series. Overall Rating : C+.
A psychotic killer roams the greater Chicago area, kidnapping people loosely associated with an earlier Jack Daniels case, playing "Operation" on them, and sending Jack snuff tapes of the ordeals. Jack's partner, Herb, is on the disabled list throughout the story, so she reluctantly finds herself using the services of a pair of PI's - her ex-partner, Harry McGlade, and his eager-to-please fiancée, Holly Frakes.
What's To Like...
Konrath sticks to his tried-and-true formula - a strong, no-nonsense, female-lead, clever one-liners mixed with in-your-face violence, a fast-paced story, and a stubborn, mind-of-its-own cat.
There is an abundance of clichés. The psycho just feels compelled to try to snuff Jack; Jack's burnt out and tired of living alone; and everyone that's friends with, or related to her can pretty much count on being assaulted somewhere in each book. Especially anyone who goes out with her. I'm still not sure whether Konrath's obsession with these clichés is deliberate satire or uninspired story-telling.
Ms. Daniels hasn't changed one bit since Book #1; and the baddies are stereotypical nutzos. OTOH, Herb and Harry are fleshed out a bit; both showing a bit of noble character that we hadn't seen thus far.
Going to pieces over mutilations...
Ultimately, your enjoyment of these Jack Daniels books will probably depend on your GQ (Gore Quotient). Konrath keeps those scenes textually short, but they're a bit too graphic for my taste. The book was a page-turner, partly due to the non-stop action; partly due to wanting to rush through the gore as quickly as possible. We'll give it a C+, and hope that the fourth book, called Fuzzy Navel and sitting on my TBR shelf, isn't just more of the same.


Amanda said...

You hit 5 squared!! ;)

L said...

I need to remember that Jack Daniels is a girl. Clever name. Why is there always a pet that never dies? This one a cat then, Stephanie Plum has a hundred year old hamster. What gives??

hamilcar barca said...

Thanks, Amanda! Next stop, an even 50.

Lula, I like Stephanie's hamster better than Jack's cat. The latter is yet another cliché. In two of the three stories so far, the cat jumps on a would-be assailant, thwarting their nefarious deed. Once is passably forgivable. Twice is trite.