By J.A. Konrath
Like a long gulp of the titular drink, this fourth Jack Daniels thriller goes down smoothly but kicking. Chicago insomniac homicide cop Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels is up to her ears in family trouble again when a madman dubbed “the Chemist” goes on a poisoning rampage intending to bring the city to its knees. Saddled with an eccentric mom, a father she didn’t know she had, a killer house cat, a loyal but suddenly reticent partner, and a marriage proposal, you might think Jack doesn’t have time to mess with crazed mass murderers, but you’d be wrong. The Chemist soon develops a bizarre relationship with Jack, toying with her in “Dirty Harry” style even as he targets cops all around her with his deadly traps. Narrating in a deadpan comic pseudo-noir first person that alternates with the Chemist’s creepy point of view, Konrath will keep you in stitches even as the killer parades around the city, dosing random innocents with rare toxins and diseases. Of course, he has a grand finale in mind, but will Jack catch on before it’s too late? Konrath’s thrillers are sometimes shockingly dark, yet breezy and fun – all action and humor, perfectly laid out for the screenwriter. If you like the taste of this Dirty Martini, stock the bar and mix up a Whiskey Sour, Bloody Mary, and Rusty Nail, too. Your funny bone may never be the same. And you may never look at a salad bar the same way again, either.