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Whiskey Sour: A Jack Daniels Mystery    by J. A. Konrath Amazon.com order for
Whiskey Sour
by J. A. Konrath
Order:  USA  Can
Hyperion, 2004 (2004)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

A new protagonist has hit the mystery scene. She joins the ranks of women who people the tales of well-known writers such as Sue Grafton, Sara Paretsky and Lisa Scottoline. Police Lieutenant Jack Daniels (a cutesy name that seems to work very well) has just added a serial killer to her list of unsolved crimes - a demented man who has determined that his ultimate victim is to be Jack herself.

Murders escalate, as does the wicked humor that passes as a release valve for the built-up pressure of the job. Jack manages to get herself shot and pummeled but rises up swinging, determined to get her man. I like her pluck and determination to bring an end to a ghastly crime spree. I also liked that Jack didn't recover in record time from her injuries, as so many characters seem to in mysteries. Her ability to take care of herself made me jealous of her skills, though I doubt I would ever be placed in the position to use those particular abilities. Her sense of humor had me either laughing out loud or giggling quietly to myself. The voracious appetite of her partner Herb provides a light note in the midst of corpses and missing body parts. Jack's attempt to find a date provides distraction though the poor man wouldn't think of himself as a distraction - to a clever plot that moves along quickly, never once in a wrong direction.

Whiskey Sour is a real page-turner. The characters are finely drawn and become like old friends by the end of the book. The FBI agents must have been fun to create. The story is told from the point of view of the killer a man who feels he is smarter than the police. We also follow events from Jack's perspective. This is a woman who knows she has the upper hand, and just has to plod along until the big break (that she knows is out there) shows itself. Welcome, Jack Daniels. Don't make yourself scarce.

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