Narrator: James Killavey
Publisher: John C. Dalglish (2015)
Length: 2 hours 46 minutes
Series: Book 7 Jason Strong Detective
Note: While this is Book 7 in the series, it works fine as a stand alone.
Detectives Jason Strong and Vanessa Layne are working a new case. The story starts with a woman’s body found in the basement by her husband. She is tied in a chair, both wrists slit. There are slim leads to go on. Once the ME confirms that the death was indeed murder, the detectives have a freer hand in investigating.
Jason and his wife recently had a baby girl and Jason is still adjusting to being a sleep deprived dad. Meanwhile, the whole department is still adjusting to the temporary boss as their old boss heals up from a work-related injury. Jason, and to some extent Vanessa, have more that just the murder to focus on. But once another body turns up, they tune out these other distractions and race against the clock to prevent a third murder. Jason and Vanessa have a camaraderie that comes from years of serving together. They often joke, even if it is sometimes a gallows humor.
Right away, the reader knows who the murder is. We spend perhaps half the book in the murderer’s head. The reader doesn’t have any guessing to do nor any connecting of the dots. Rather, the book is built on the suspense of watching the detectives and killer try to out fox each other. Marcus, our bad guy, is smart. He changes vehicles and identities on a regular basis. He maintains a polite demeanor at all times, which makes him seem perfectly harmless. I found his story line the most interesting because I wanted to know why he kills his victims in such a way. By the end of the story, we know what makes him tick. Indeed, I felt that I knew the killer better than I knew the detectives and I will say that this is the one weakness to reading this book as a stand alone.
The female victims have short parts in the story. They range in age and demeanor. All of them let the killer into their lives and I can totally see how that happened. They were just being human. I liked that Strong and Layne didn’t blame the victims and remained professional throughout the story. Two of the victims get short backstories of their own so that the reader feels they are people and not just stand in victim cardboard cutouts.
I received this book free of charge from the author (via the GoodReads Audiobooks Group) in exchange for an honest review.
The Narration: James Killavey was so-so for this book. He had OK male voices, but his female voices were almost non-existent, though they did get a little better as the story went on. He performed the narration in a near-sports announcer voice that made me think of the old radio dramas. If his voices had had more distinction and were more varied, then that would have worked for this book. Also, the volume sometimes varied and occasionally I heard something in the background, perhaps paper being turned over.
What I Liked: Strong detective team; more than one thing going on in their lives; really got to know the murderer and his motivations.
What I Disliked: Maybe because this is Book 7, I felt the murderer’s character was more fleshed out than the detectives and I was left wanting to know more about them; the narration was only so-so.
What Others Think: