Whiskey Sour: A Jack Daniels Mystery
© 2004 J.A. Konrath
Somewhere in the city of Chicago is a sexual sadist, and it’s Jack Daniels’s task to bring him down. Jacqueline Daniels is your standard world-weary detective, tough as nails and married to the job. A member of the city’s Violent Crime Units, she certainly doesn’t have the time to maintain a marriage outside the job. Even when she plays pool for recreation, it’s against a fella she once arrested — and when she tries to date, well! Things go awry, boyfriends wind up hostages with collapsed lungs. Such is the case when Jack becomes a sociopath’s fixation, his great and worthy opponent. The sicko calls himself the Gingerbread Man, and he’s a meticulous S.O.B. who leaves nary a breadcrumb behind — except when he wants to lead cops into an ambush. Whiskey Sour is the first in a series of detective thrillers with similarly inspired names (Fuzzy Naval, for instance), appropriate given hardboiled detectives’ penchant for nursing stiff drinks. One might be required after reading this, for while dashedly effective as a thriller, delivering one-two punches of laughs and retches of horror, the author’s style of alternating between the detective’s point of view and the psycho’s leaves one feeling sick to the stomach. There are the familiar stocks of detective fiction (cynical lead, bumbling bureaucrats, informants and bent cops) as well as some of the most gruesome scenes from our own headlines. Entertaining? Utterly — but with a little too much dwelling on the obscene and gratuitous for me.