The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 16, 2007

Book review: ‘Dirty Martini’ an entertaining, suspenseful entry in series

“Dirty Martini”

By J. A. Konrath (compact-disc audiobook)

“Dirty Martini” is the fourth in J.A. Konrath’s series featuring Lieutenant Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels.

In this humorous thriller, Jack is assigned to track down a serial killer nicknamed “The Chemist” because of the variety of deadly toxins he uses to carry out his horrendous crimes. He manages to evade detection by poisoning his victims using elaborate disguises and a different toxin each time. The Chemist has already killed 30 people in Chicago, randomly targeting his victims in restaurants, supermarkets, bars and fast-food places.

Chicago homicide Lt. Jack Daniels has developed quite a reputation in the police department. She has solved more crimes that involve serial killers than just about anyone one else in the department. However, this case has come at a bad time for her. Jack’s boyfriend, Latham, surprises her with a marriage proposal but she isn’t sure that she is ready for this next step in their relationship; she discovers a letter belonging to her mother that reveals her father, whom she has thought long deceased, really isn’t dead after all; and her partner of several years has asked to be transferred to another unit.

The case hits really close to home when Jack’s boyfriend is poisoned with food meant for her. The Chemist demands $2 million dollars in cash and insists that Jack deliver it or he will kill thousands of people. Latham lies in the hospital close to death as Jack races against time to track the killer who continues to taunt her and the police department.

Narrators Susie Breck and Dick Hill bring the characters to life in this entertaining, suspenseful, and fast-paced audiobook. The library also owns the print version of “Dirty Martini.”

“Find Me”

By Carol O’Connell (compact-disc audiobook)

Mallory, a New York homicide detective, has not appeared at work for several days. Her partner, Sgt. Riker, visits Mallory’s apartment and discovers a woman, dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound — but Mallory is nowhere to be found. Riker and a psychologist, Charles Butler, begin searching for Mallory and clues to her bizarre behavior. They find themselves traveling down old Route 66 in their pursuit of Mallory.

Mallory is using a series of old letters her father had written before she was born to discover connections to her past and find out about the father she never knew. As she begins her journey down the old highway, Mallory accidentally stumbles across a murder mystery. A dead body is discovered pointing the way down Route 66, its hand removed and replaced with bones of a child’s hand. Several years ago, a serial killer murdered 100 little girls and buried their small bodies along the highway. Parents, desperate to find their missing children, met on the Internet and have formed a caravan to travel the famous highway in search of those small bodies, each hoping to find closure.

Mallory realizes that the killer must be traveling with the caravan when a couple of people from the caravan are murdered. Too many lives have already been lost at the hands of the serial killer. Mallory, Riker and Butler join the caravan in search of clues to stop this murderer.

I thoroughly enjoyed the often-wild ride down old Route 66 in this intense and complicated story. Despite this title being the ninth title in the Mallory series, after reading it, I felt like it was a good book with which to start the series since it reveals bits and pieces of Mallory’s mysterious and complex background. Alyssa Bresnahan does a remarkable job with the narration, especially with Mallory’s character, and I look forward reading or listening to the earlier books in the series.

Phyllis Seesengood is the technical services librarian at Joplin Public Library.