Review

Shaken: A Jacqueline "jack" Daniels Mystery

by J.A. Konrath

After reading SHAKEN, I'm convinced that in any given gathering
of people, J.A. Konrath will be the smartest man in the room. Let
me explain. Konrath saw the revolution in the book publishing
industry coming at the same time everyone else did, but unlike
everyone else, he almost immediately figured out how to adapt to
it. He has written extensively about it elsewhere so there's no
need to regurgitate it here, but let's just say that instead of
letting the state of things sweep him this way and that, he has
trimmed his sails and taken command of his course. SHAKEN, the
seventh installment in his Jack Daniels series, is an
example of this. First published exclusively in e-book form, it's
more than a dark crime novel, though it certainly stands quite
nicely as such. It also serves as an introduction for readers
encountering Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels for the first time, while
providing fans with plenty to feast upon and to anticipate.

SHAKEN is actually three novels in one, with each sharing the
spotlight with the other two in relatively short, very fast-moving
chapters that alternate back and forth in time. One story flows
after the other quite nicely, with Konrath helping things along by
listing quite prominently at the head of each chapter which time
frame the reader is currently entering. The storylines deal with
Daniels's pursuit, directly and indirectly, of a brutal serial
killer known only as Mr. K. The first of these concerns the summer
of 1989, when Daniels, a four-year veteran of the Chicago police
force, went by the name of Jacqueline Streng and joined the
homicide division as an undercover officer to capture a
trophy-taking killer who targets escorts.

The second installment takes place on August 8, 2007, when
Streng, now known as Chicago Police Lieutenant Jack Daniels,
engages in a cat-and-mouse game with a devious killer, a game in
which she has but one chance to bring him to justice before he can
jump beyond her grasp, seemingly forever.

It's the third story, however, that's the most terrifying. It
describes the cringe-inducing events of August 10, 2010, during
which a captive Jack Daniels waits for an excruciating end at the
hands of her captor, while the three men who care the most about
her each work desperately to find her before it's too late. And
though complete in and of itself, SHAKEN is a setup for what's to
come: STIRRED, the final installment in the series.

SHAKEN is classic Konrath. As fans will anticipate, sarcasm runs
heavily throughout the narrative, and the gore level is set at 100
percent. I used the term "cringe-inducing" in the above paragraph,
and, indeed, anyone who reads the book and doesn't develop a
permanent squint isn't paying attention. And don't miss Konrath's
most instructive Afterword. He leads you not only to his own books,
but also to the work of another author. Actually, make that
two other authors. If you start reading now, you will be
happily terrified and up to date by the time STIRRED is
published.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on March 28, 2011

Shaken: A Jacqueline "jack" Daniels Mystery
by J.A. Konrath

  • Publication Date: February 22, 2011
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: AmazonEncore
  • ISBN-10: 1935597213
  • ISBN-13: 9781935597216