Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Book 18 - Whiskey Sour

Whiskey Sour is a tight - super tight - thriller featuring a gritty, older cop named Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels. I loved it.

Jack is on the hunt for the Gingerbread Man, a lunatic whose killing ritual will leave a nasty taste in the back of your throat. Not quite the "scarier" than Hannibal Lecter villain the book jacket promises, but still unique.

For some reason, everything about Whiskey Sour is a little atypical. J.A. Konrath has the writing chops - and then some - to carry off a strong, believable female protagonist. Her "baggage" is expected, and the role of "tortured hero" is well done, without the over-the-top sprinkles that could have made her whiny.

She isn't. Not in the slightest. Not when the Gingerbread Man leaves a deadly bag of chocolate treats in her vehicle, not when he kidnaps her, not even when he shoots her the first time. She's a tough chick, without being overbearing, and she's raw with a dusting of compassion. Konrath could write the book on creating sympathetic characters.

At only 275 pages, there's little room for fluff. The murder scenes have just enough description to picture the gore, but Konrath knows when to pull back, leaving room for your imagination. He uses his "novel real estate" well, with not one extraneous word. The dialogue is crisp, often humourous, and always intentional. Not surprisingly, I've asked my muse to study Konrath's style.

Whiskey Sour is the first in the Jack Daniels series - and for that I'm thankful. I think it will be a while before I tire of this refreshing protagonist.

Thanks Karen for lending me this winner - thankfully, the spine was already cracked. xo


  1. Sigh. My groaning TBR pile. ;)

    I've been meaning to check out Konrath for a while, if only because I keep hearing his name in association with e-publishing. He has a no-nonsense blog up about that route I read a few days ago. You might find it interesting. Nothing I suspect you don't know, but he definitely has a no-nonsense approach I appreciate.

  2. Jim kind of pointed me in the direction of Konrath a while ago, and I've studied him from afar - though now after reading Whiskey Sour, I'm more inclined to study his craft by reading everything he has ever written. Over and over again. Perfect thriller structure. I also enjoy his blog :-)

  3. Nice Review! I have been meaning to try Konrath for a while as well. Just downloaded a sample of this. I love how he has really made points with his blog on the benefits of e-books and how well self publishing has worked for him.

  4. Glinda - sorry just saw this. I agree - Konrath makes e-publishing seem fun, even exciting a little :-) Let me know what you think.