I'm Lieutenant Daniels, Call me Jack

Lieutenant Jacqueline 'Jack' Daniels' is a homicide detective whose personal life is perpetually in shambles. Unfortunately, fixing her life has to be put on the back-burner while she tries to deal with the maniacal killers running around her city.

 

Afraid was the first book I read by J.A. Konrath, which was written under the pseudonym Jack Kilborn. Up until that point, I had never read a thriller. I have subsequently tried other thriller authors, but none have caught my attention like J.A. Konrath. I generally don’t read books that are part of a series, but his Jack Daniels series kept me fully engaged in the story and characters.

Lt. Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels is a 40-something Chicago homicide detective whose life is in perpetual turmoil. She’s an insomniac whose late night TV binges lead her into maxing out credit cards on home shopping networks. Her romantic life is either non-existent or is in the pits. This has her mother trying to step in and set Jack up with dates, and run Jack’s life. The only consistent person in her life is her binge-eating partner Herb! On top of all of that, she is tasked with solving the goriest homicides, and going up against the most deranged individuals who want nothing more than to see her fail, or worse yet, make her their next victim!

In the first novel, Jack goes up against someone called the Gingerbread Man. His M.O. is to kidnap, torture, mutilate, and murder women. It is a race against the clock to figure out who he is, and why he is targeting certain women. In the meantime, the killer’s activities become a sensational news story, the FBI gets involved, and Jack quickly realizes that the Gingerbread Man is targeting her!

Jack being targeted by the villains happens quite a bit in the novels, but Konrath never makes the situations feel repetitive. All the books are fast-paced and engrossing. The books are very easy reads, and have humorous moments. Konrath’s prose is very descriptive when it comes to the blood and gore. His characters are pretty well-rounded, and you can get a sense of their lives. The bad guys are often brought into the spotlight to show who they are, outside of their killings. Some have loved ones who will defend them to the end. Others find companionship in other killers and scary people, and a rare few even have no problem going after anyone, good or bad, because they only place value on their own lives.

Through all the action and chaos, Lt. Jack Daniels remains the focus of the novels. She goes through each case with intelligence, stoicism, and a wicked amount of snark.

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Genre / Topics
Horror and Thriller
Age Groups
Adults