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CHERRY BOMB by J.A. Konrath


by J.A. Konrath

Pub Date: July 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4013-0281-8
Publisher: Voice/Hyperion

Readers who weren’t sated by the collateral fatalities in the last grudge match between Lt. Jacqueline Daniels and escaped criminal Alexandra Kork (Fuzzy Navel, 2008, etc.) are in for a treat.

This novel’s very first sentence resolves its predecessor’s cliffhanger ending. The climactic victim turns out to have been Jack Daniels’s fiancé, accountant Latham Conger. Now that Jack and Alex have killed each other’s men, you might think the score would be even, but Alex doesn’t. She phones her nemesis at Latham’s burial with the news that she’s planning to kidnap a man and kill him 12 hours later unless Jack can stop her. When that round is over, Alex moves on to the next inning, allowing ever-shorter windows of rescue time. Her targets are Jack’s ex, who doesn’t see why he should be part of this game, and her Chicago PD partner. Alex’s propensity for terminations with extreme prejudice—she kills a homeless man for his bankroll and a suburban shopper for her handbag—and the high-value targets she’s chosen would seem to guarantee pulse-pounding suspense. But the body count rises so carelessly that there’s no reason to feel any closer to individual victims than to individual bowling pins. What remains, as usual in this jaunty, heartless series, is the pornographic violence and the return to the most atavistic roots of narrative: pure, formulaic storytelling without any concern for such add-ons as plot twists, characterization or moral complexity.

As for the formula, it’s accurately indicated by the libations that inspire Konrath’s titles: Shake. Drink. Repeat.