68 of 71 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2010
An excellent mystery/suspense/thriller! This book is great. I've never read a Konrath book before; I'm not a fan responding to everything he writes as `best ever'. It's really that good of a novel. It's fast paced, suspenseful and funny.
Yeah, it's part of a series. Not having read the rest of the series didn't impact my enjoyment at all (though I will likely be reading the rest at some future point!).
There are a couple of caveats. 1) Murder by torture is a significant part of the book. If this bothers you then you should read something else. 2) The main version of the story purposefully jumps between 3 separate (though interrelated) events that occur in distinct time periods. This is very well done and builds suspense on multiple levels as well as showing the character's development over decades of `story time'. The digital versions come with a chronological version as well. I strongly recommend reading the author's main version. If you find it confusing or just can't stand the non-linear narrative then go to the alternate. 3) Some of the reviews contain spoilers. STOP READING REVIEWS! BUY THE BOOK NOW!
68 of 75 people found the following review helpful
This is an exciting, suspenseful story from J.A. Konrath. Winding down his Jack Daniels series, this book puts the female heroine in some very painful, dangerous spots. I really enjoyed the way it was told, shifting back and forth through 3 different time periods, telling 3 stories that may (or may not) be connected.
This is only the second Jack Daniels book I've read (the other was Fuzzy Navel), so I can't speak towards whether or not it stays to the Jack Daniels formula, but I found the humor to be less outrageous than Fuzzy Navel, but more realistic. For example, in Fuzzy Navel there were life and death scenes with characters cracking jokes...that doesn't happy here. The humor comes more from the characters and how they interact.
The ending may strike some as a letdown, as it seems to sacrifice the end of this story in order to set up the next (and last) book in the series. I was first unhappy with it, but the more I thought about it and the way the story was told, I decided that it worked for me. I'm eagerly awaiting the final volume. In the mean time, I'm going to go back through the earlier books and catch up on what I've missed.
Full Disclaimer - I received an advance review copy of the book for free, in exchange for promising to review the book. I did not promise a favorable review, nor was my opinion of the book slanted because I received it for free. I would have gladly paid for the book (indeed, I had it pre-ordered on Amazon before I received my free copy....that money is now going towards buying the earlier volumes in the series).
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2010
The 7th, and next-to-last, Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels novel is an excellent read filled with action, suspense, and heart-felt emotion. It takes place in three time periods, and Jack is the focus in all of them: present day, three years ago, and twenty-one years ago. I read the book in its intentional out-of-sequence composition, and it was clearly understandable that way. No need to read the chronological version unless you want to do so.
While there is certainly no need to have read the previous Jack Daniels books or stories before reading this one, there are some delightful references that give an extra bump to the enjoyment factor if you have. Again, not important, just additional hints or explanations that ring bells for those of us who have read the entire series.
I've been reading Konrath's works (both under his name and his pseudonyms) for years now, and while I have enjoyed all of them, SHAKEN shows how much he has grown as a skilled writer over the years. His action is even more vividly described. His descriptions are taught and revealing without extra wording. His pacing is more deliberate and swift. His characters' emotions ring even truer than they already did.
I plan to also purchase the paperback when it is published. I actually wish there was going to be a hardcover, too, since I have all the Jack Daniels novels in hardcover. Regardless, it's an excellent book in any format, and that certainly includes this Kindle edition.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Shaken is my first exposure to J. A. Konrath and his Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels murder mystery series. I enjoyed the author's writing style, story line, character development, humor and suspense so much that I plan to also read the first six books in this series.
The author blends this fast paced story within three time frames--the present, three years ago and twenty-one years ago--in an easy to follow style that adds to the character development in Chicago of Jacqueline from her police academy and rookie era through her seasoned lieutenant period to her present peril as a private detective abducted by morbidly gruesome and elusive serial killer, Mr. "K."
Major characters, cancer victim with a criminal past Phineas "Phin" Troutt, rude and hurtfully humorous Harry McGade, and physically growing partner Detective Herb Benedict are the men closest to Daniels as the reader speeds through this 260-page enthralling thriller.
Crazed and ruthless Russian serial killer Victor Brotsky and the legendary elusive prince of pain, Mr. "K" are Jacqueline's greatest nemeses.
If you are looking for an action packed thriller that is a quick and exciting read, this one fits the bill! Enjoy!
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2010
Police officer Jack Daniels wakes bound and gagged on a cold concrete floor. How did she get there?
The answer seems connected to a prostitute killer and a dead body Jack and her partner found in a dumpster several years earlier.
Although the sample of this book is short, I'm already pulled into the story. I can't wait to see how Jack gets herself out of this one.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2010
Plot/Storyline: 5 Stars
Mr. Konrath did a very unique thing with this eBook. He offered two different ways to read the same book. The first version, and the one I chose, is a `shaken' (pun intended) tale, while the second version is told in a linear fashion. Yes, it's the exact same book, from what I could ascertain having read only the first version, but in the second, the chapters, which come from three different time frames in the first version, are arranged chronologically, for those who prefer that style.
I chose to read the first version simply because the foreward states that he meant it to be read that way. However, keeping in mind that I have read all of the Jack Daniels books, I would recommend the second version to anyone trying out this series for the first time. For fans, the book offers some great references to past events that we are familiar with and some deeper insights into those events that were unavailable previously.
I can't help but liken this series a little to the Evanovitch Plum books. I read all of those up until number thirteen, but got bored with them after that since Plum just didn't seem to make any headway in life. This is not so with the Jack Daniel's series. She has changed partners, married, divorced, gotten a new love, and much more. She lives a full, ever-changing life.
The plots of the books in the series cannot help but get a little repetitive. I mean, how many different types serial killers are there, anyway? And, how many different ways can Jack catch them? Regardless, the style of the narratives keep the storyline fresh.
I did feel like the ending was a little `out there.' However, I have to give Mr. Konrath this: It was unpredictable. It does have a little bit of a "I gotta buy the next book" ending, but not so much that I felt cheated. The scenarios in each timeline were complete.
Characters: 4 3/4 Stars
Jack Daniels' character got a little deeper for me. She didn't grow forward in this installment, but a lot was filled in by using the previous years' timelines.
My only complaint were that the villains were just too conniving and playful. I don't think that most serial killers are such game players. But, this is fiction, and they were psychopaths, so I must suspend some disbelief.
Writing Style: 5 Stars
Mr. Konrath has some of the best dialogue I have ever read in a crime novel. It is filled with humor, yet never appears forced. The writing style in this book was no less than what I have come to expect from this author. The smooth style made for a truly enjoyable reading experience.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2010
I'm a big fan of J.A. Konrath and his Jack Daniels series. He hits another home run with the teaser chapters of his latest novel "Shaken."
What's new is the portrayal of Jack Daniels and her partner Harry McGlade in their younger years. Jack is about to turn thirty and she's a tough cop in a male-dominated police force back in the late 80s.
Harry is his usual obnoxious self. However, there's something downright lovable about Harry. Call it karma. Or maybe it's something else. Whatever it is, I do like his character.
Anyway, I loved the interplay between Jack's past as a young cop and her present as a fifty-something ex-cop who is embarking on a new career.
The action scenes were right on target and the ensuing mystery hooked me in from the start. I can't wait until the full novel comes out.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2010
SHAKEN features a tight writing style, which wastes none of the reader's time in moving the plot forward action-wise (particularly with the "timing" of the plot -- check it out to see for yourself). Police officer Jack Daniels is also a terrifically well-rounded character (evident from the teaser chapters). SHAKEN looks like it's gonna be a gripping, captivating mystery that packs a wallop. I look forward to October when I'll be able to read the book in its entirety!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2011
Former Chicago Homicide Detective Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels has seen it all, lived through it, and has the stories to tell. She's put away legendary serial killers, like The Gingerbread Man, but every step of the way, she's paid a price. She's lost friends, family, relationships, even her partner (no, actually, he's still around. Harry's like a cockroach that way.)
Shaken is the seventh official book in the Daniels series (though she's been the subject of many short stories, and the series characters have found their way into additional anthologies and side projects.) She's suffered plenty, but Konrath has always been willing to swing his heroine on a pendulum from happiness to suffering, and this story is no exception.
The author continues rolling his familiar characters; Daniels, her partner Herb Benedict, her first partner, Harry McGlade, and others, through a constant swarm of cliffhangers. He does this by bouncing across several timelines; Jack as a rookie cop, Jack and Herb as veterans, and present day - where Jack finds herself facing off with the one serial killer she's never been able to capture; Mr. K - potentially the most murderous serial killer ever to inhabit the U.S.
Fans of the series get what they enjoy from their favorite characters. Konrath unveils events in Jack's past that shape the character she was when she first appeared in Whiskey Sour in 2005. He treats readers to the dichotomy of Benedict in his 30's and his 50's, and Harry, well, some things never change. Despite the many comic turns, Konrath never lets his characters far from misery, using two decades as his playground to put them through all sorts of unpleasantries.
As always, the devil is in the details, and Konrath spares no expense. He masterfully creates a scene; whether he is describing triggers to a psychopathic killer's childhood development, laying out the sounds and smells of dismemberment, or describing the tenements of low-rent Chicago. He describes the city as it is now, and as it was 20 years ago, with careful historic detail. Even better are his descriptions of some of the fashion trends of the `80s.
Konrath uses the freedom of the eBook format to present the story in its original, non-linear format, and a second time, with the action unfolding according to the story's timeline. As he says, readers are welcome to comment on which they enjoy more once they've compared the two versions.
Shaken is a great blend of in-the-moment horror, and series fan nostalgia. Konrath knows how to put his characters through unimaginable agony, while creating a camaraderie and banter that summons belly laughs. This story is a trip down memory lane, peppered with bits of callback humor that series fans will truly enjoy. Konrath is famous for his ability to promote his work, but not shamelessly. At no time did reading this feel like a cheap commercial to buy his previously released stories.
As mentioned in the author's afterword, readers can expect another collaboration between Konrath and thriller author, Blake Crouch (check out a review of Crouch's Run HERE.) Each author brings their own blend of terror and humor to the table, and their previous collaborations, including Serial, and Draculas (along with F. Paul Wilson & Jeff Strand) were very good at what they were attempting to be. (Note: Serial and Draculas were trying to be two very different things!)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I am a big fan of the J A Konrath series featuring Lt Jack Daniels, a female Chicago cop. If you are the least bit squeamish reading about the horrendous acts portrayed by psycho killers (think Dexter in training), then this book is not for you! While this book flips back and forth, starting from the beginning of Jack's career as a cop, to the immediate present, the details aren't as graphic as some of the previous books in the series. I also liked the blurb from the author, that said he deliberately wrote this book out of sequence, but he had confidence that his readers would have the "mental prowess" to follow and track the action. I was a bit nervous and felt he might be a bit too optimistic, and I briefly asked myself if I did have that ability to follow this effortlessly, and I am happy to say he was right! Thanks Joe!
If you haven't read any of the previous books in this series, you may want to so that you can get a better understanding of Jack's progress and growth as a police officer and the reason for some of the choices she made. It is not necessary to enjoy this book, but you will sure want to once you finish this book!
I was immediately drawn to this author for several reasons; 1) I thought the titles were clever and tied in to the plot (and sometimes include the recipe for the drink, if you are so inclined!), 2) I really love reading about tough, no nonsense female cops and 3) this author's approach is different than the usual police procedural.
When I saw that this book was produced by Amazon Encore, I had no idea that Amazon does this with certain authors. I think it's a great idea, and it prices the book very reasonably; far below the standard new release price of a HB book. The copy I read is an advanced reading copy that I picked through the Amazon Vine program. And boy, I'm glad I did.
The editor's note says that this book shows Jack's undoing. I disagree; I feel that this book just proves how far Jack has come and how her years of training, character and personal sacrifices show who she is and what she has become when it really matters.
The assortment of friends and partners that Jack has made over the years really come together in a way they have never done before, and it is a tribute to Jack's integrity, dedication and fierce determination that motivate them to help her in her final hours of need. Her work and personal friends and lover still had the morbid and sick one liners that are their trademark and that highlights their own characters, so that eases a little bit of the stress, and made me smile a bit..kind of like an old friend that you can count on.
I appreciated the parts that did deal with Jack's early career, as I tend to lose a lot of details in my mind after I read a book from years ago. This book was really well done, and the earlier timeline enhanced the book, rather than appear to be a filler for a writer that has run out of new things to say! Rest assured...Mr. Konrath has plenty more where this came from!
While I don't want to spoil the ending for anyone, I did read that he has plans to end the series after the next book. I think that if you feel like I do, we need to let him know that it is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE for him to do this! It's hard enough when an author dies, so while this one is still alive, please keep writing about Jack!
Get ready for a roller coaster ride that you won't want to get off. Shaken will certainly stir you up!