Review: Whiskey Sour

Whiskey Sour Whiskey Sour by J.A. Konrath
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Note: This review was originally written in the early 2000s and published for a no longer running website: AudiobookCafe. This review is focused on both the book and audiobook. Now, if you’re looking for the humor and intensity, then a dose of “Whiskey Sour” should do the trick. When homicidal maniacs are a dime a dozen, an author must really give his killer antagonist a good twist. In “Whiskey Sour,” Lieutenant Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels of the Chicago Violent Crimes Unit faces off against the “Gingerbread Man,” a psychopath who drives around in an ice cream truck kidnapping young women, sadistically killing them, and stuffing the bodies in random trash barrels.

But he has recently taken up a quite obsession with Jack. While Jack becomes his ultimate target, it doesn’t stop him from racking up a few more bodies until it’s her time. Newcomer J. A. Konrath paints a deliciously evil character in the Gingerbread man who does very malicious acts. However, the more crazy aspects of the character are merely implied—leaving the listener to their own overactive imagination.

But the novel’s not completely dark. In fact, with a title character like Jack Daniels, one can be sure there are some very funny moments. Many colorful characters surround Jack and help progress the plot while at the same time providing some tension release. Her partner, Herb is the over-weight, quick-witted and gentle bear that manages to keep Jack’s sanity intact while the two FBI profilers continue to frustrate her to no end with their inane conclusions about their suspect.

Konrath’s painted an intriguing lead character in the novel which will be the first in a series. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Konrath created Jacqueline Daniels as a 46 year old divorce who has struggled to her senior position while at the same time sacrifice much, including an ex-husband whom she still loves. Struggling through every night with insomnia, she continually wonders about the “could haves” and “should haves” of her past.

The famous duo of Susie Breck and Dick Hill narrate this audiobook. While Susie does a modest job, she sometimes feels a little too forced in her portrayal of Jack. The listener knows Jack has to be tough and the text certainly works her that way, but sometimes a little less intensity could have made the listen more appreciable. Dick Hill steals the show with his outstanding of the Gingerbread Man. Dick contains such malevolence in his voice and creates an added sinister quality beyond the text that listeners would appreciate and readers may miss.

J. A. Konrath also follows up the novel with a short story called “The Gingerbread Man” read by himself which adds to the quality of the audiobook. The contents of this Whiskey Sour include humor, intensity, a strong but not invincible female and a cast of supporting characters with their own quirks and nuances.

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