SHANK by Steve Williams


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In the latest installment of Williams’ (Ace, 2015, etc.) thriller series, police detective Salvador Mitchell dodges assassins and deals with a surprise inheritance while a grieving father plans an explosive retribution.

Mitchell is understandably taken aback by the news of his mother Cora’s death in a helicopter crash in Costa Rica. But he’s outright shocked when attorney V.E. McNamara informs him that Cora’s estate, to which Mitchell’s entitled, is worth anywhere from $10 million to $30 million due to the respect that her paintings have garnered in the art world. A condition of the inheritance, however, is that Mitchell must leave his job as a homicide detective in the city of Salento, which he isn’t ready to do. His girlfriend, Mya Laing, would prefer that he turn in his shield, especially when it’s clear that people are trying to kill him—likely gang members seeking revenge for their boss’s death. Meanwhile, retired city engineer Kerak Daniluk is still mourning his engineer son, Wil, who died in an allegedly job-related accident. Kerak is distraught over the city’s apathetic handling of Wil’s death, so he plots vengeance, slowly amassing components for explosives—and his path soon crosses with Mitchell’s. Despite the presence of returning characters, including Mitchell, Laing, and Mitchell’s partner, Eddie “Sandman” Sandovan, the standout in Williams’ fourth series entry is Kerak. Despite his terrible goals, he’s quite sympathetic, and his plan is so methodical that the story never lingers on its potential malice. When it appears that nosy hunters might catch on to what Kerak’s doing, readers will see them more as obstacles than as potential heroes. Other assorted subplots, including one involving Laing’s ad-executive job, eventually tie into the main storyline, as well, sometimes in unexpected ways. Mitchell himself proves capable when facing hit men, but there’s only a modicum of detective work this time around given everything else that he has to deal with. Williams’ vivid descriptions also leave their mark: “The cityscape was a gallimaufry of varying architectural styles and lighting…bright white metal halides sparkled like diamonds.”

A fine procedural augmented by beefy subplots and a pitiable villain.

Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-5455-4841-7
Page count: 330pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2018


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