J. A. Konrath, Shaken

Posted October 21, 2011 by Kathy Davie in

Shaken (Jack Daniels Mystery, #7)Shaken by J.A. Konrath
Series: Jack Daniels, 7
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Seventh in the Jack Daniels mystery series set in Chicago and revolving around the former Lieutenant Jacqueline Daniels of the CPD.

The Story
Talk about a case coming back to haunt ya’. Jack’s naked and tied up in a storage locker, a digital clock counting down the time she has left to live. And, oh man, she has so much to live for now. An incredible man in her life, Phineas Troutt, and a baby on the way.

Too bad that baby hasn’t a chance…not unless her former police partner, Herb Benedict, and her current partner, Harry McGlade, can find her with Phin’s help. Hopefully, they’ll find her before whoever has kidnapped her puts her on that Catherine wheel. Or starts up that Guinea Worm…

The Characters
I need to go back and re-read Cherry Bomb ’cause I sure don’t remember Jack quitting the force. In spite of her earlier relief of not having to work with Harry McGlade anymore, she’s now his partner in his detective agency and not with the Chicago PD. And I am just lost…

Phineas “Phin” Troutt is suffering from cancer and, with that death sentence hanging over him, decided he no longer cared about society’s rules. Until he ran into Jack. Now he’s living with her. And about to find out he’s going to become a father.

Herb Benedict is a humongously fat detective who worked with Jack for years. Still friends, he’s pulling out all the stops to find her. Harry McGlade is a snarky, wiseass former cop who now works as a private detective and Jack’s current partner. Harry’s got his own way of getting things done…to everyone’s dismay.

John Dalton, a Mafia hit man, with an extensive library on torture. Mr. K is a truly nasty serial killer using various instruments of torture, breaking legs, burning people…for as long as he can draw out their pain. Victor Brotsky is a bad memory from 1989. A wicked nasty serial killer and the collar that set Jack on her path in Homicide.

My Take
This was rather irritating for the first two-thirds of the story as Konrath was jumping back and forth between three different time periods in Jack’s life: 1989 when she first partnered up with Herb working a series of escort services murders and Alan’s courtship of Jack, meeting up with Dalton in 2007 when Jack was still with Latham, and, today, 2010, with her kidnapping. After reading Konrath’s intentions for the series, I look back and see it more as a reminiscence, a summing-up of Jack’s experiences on the force and the influence she had on fellow officers as well as giving us background on why Jack is in her current predicament.

It is pretty funny to read of Jack getting introduced and prepped for going undercover as an escort. Not so funny as to the end result. The 2007 incident reminds us that success is not a given while 2010 is vindication.

Then there’s McGlade. I mean, how can you not crack up at McGlade with this kind of comment:

“I think it would be fun to have a pet that could fetch me beer. Plus I could give him a tin cup, pretend to be blind, and make a few bucks on the L train…But in total honesty, I’ll probably just blow the money on malt liquor and lap dances.”

I suppose it was one way to provide us with the back history of several serial killers as well as the opportunity to blend one of Blake Crouch’s characters in with Jack as the lead-in to the last book in the Jack Daniels series, Stirred. Konrath gives us the length of time they operated, their coolness “under fire” so to speak, and one of the serial killer’s return to his first love from retirement.

I’m gonna miss her…

The Cover
The cover is of a martini shaker, blood spilling down the side against a bland background while the title certainly depicts the feelings of the good guys—Shaken.

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