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Fuzzy Navel / J.A. Konrath

thKonrathFuzzyNavel.jpgHyperion / July 2008
Reviewed by: Martel Sardina

J.A. Konrath is the P.T. Barnum of the mystery world. Like Barnum, he is a businessman. Konrath has documented the journey from zero to hero on his blog called The Newbie’s Guide to Publishing.  But more importantly, like Barnum, Konrath is out to entertain.

In Fuzzy Navel, the fifth book in the Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels series, Konrath walks the fine line of blending just the right amount of back story to remind readers where they’ve been without being boring and bring new readers into the fold. Lieutenant Daniels is one of the Chicago Police Department’s finest officers. She’s solved some tough cases earning the respect of her male peers. While she’s good at her job, her love life is generally a train wreck. She’s fought hard to keep her relationship with Latham Conger together, and the two are now engaged. Things seem to be looking up for Jack. She’s just received word that Alex Kork, one of the most dangerous serial killers she’s ever faced, committed suicide in prison. Maybe now, her chronic case of insomnia will finally go away.

The calm before the storm isn’t a new concept but it is an important part of the story. Seeing the life Jack had and knowing what she’s gone through to get this far causes the reader to hope maybe, just maybe, she’ll finally get a little peace. Half of the fun of following a series is living with the character through those highs and lows. Fuzzy Navel offers plenty of both.

Jack has her work cut out for her this time around. A group of overzealous vigilantes forget who the bad guys are in their quest to rid the city of scum, leaving dead cops in their wake. Jack becomes a target when the group’s leader thinks she could identify him. This is the least of Jack’s worries. After receiving a strange phone call from her elderly mother, Jack ducks out on a de-briefing meeting with Internal Affairs, a move that could send her back to the civilian world for good. Especially if the higher-ups find out that she moved outside the city limits, which is a violation of CPD policy. Worse yet, comes the realization that the relief gained in learning of Kork’s suicide may be short-lived.

Konrath takes readers on roller coaster ride that soars higher on fear scale than any of the preceding books in the series. He also plunges Jack to an emotional low, leaving us to wonder if Jack will be able to find the strength to fight another day. Like its predecessors, Fuzzy Navel offers a unique blend of humor, gore, mystery, and thrills. Think Janet Evanovich crossed with Thomas Harris, and then turn it up to eleven. The result is a book you’ll find hard to put down.

Purchase Fuzzy Navel by J.A. Konrath.

Posted on Tuesday, June 3, 2008 at 10:41AM by Registered CommenterDark Scribe Magazine in | Comments Off

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