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).
54 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2010
I have read all of the Jack Daniels series. I have also read the other books written by this author, including his books by Jack Kilborn. I have enjoyed all of his books to date... except Shaken! I enjoyed it until it ended at 50% of the book and then it made a sales pitch for an author I have not read. Apparently the conclusion to this book with be written with this unknown author to finish this series. That might have been ok, if this book hadn't been what I consider a cheat. The content of the book only goes to 50% of the kindle book... the last 50% of the book is the same material in chronological order. But it's the SAME material. I feel that this approach really cheapened the whole experience of this anticipated new addition to the Jack series. I appreciate 'cliff hangers' as well as the next. However, I have never felt like a book left in a cliff hanger was done solely to get me to buy another author's books. This is a pitiful arrangement between two authors that leaves a bad taste in my mouth about Shaken and the series author, whom I had great interest in before this stunt.
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.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2011
I'm glad I bought the Kindle edition of this book because had I bought the hardcover I would now be repairing the hole in my wall made when I threw this book against the wall in disgust at reading the "ending".
I had not read a J.A. Konrath book before this one. I liked the characters and overall thought it was well written, despite what I felt was some forced and awkward dialog.
It all fell apart for me at the very end though. I won't spoil it for you, but it was one of those WTF Out-of-left-field endings that leaves you just shaking your head. It was done just to set up the next Jack Daniels book and for me, ruined the entire read.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2010
This book was good enough to get me to buy another by the same author before I had even finished it.
However, the ending was such a copout, I wish I had waited to make that second purchase. I probably wouldn't have done it.
Either the author found herself in plot trouble and felt a Hail Mary ending would bail her out ... or somebody talked her into discarding a perfectly good ending in favor of something that guaranteed a sequel. Either way, it was not worthy of the rest of the book ... or any book. It was, in fact, one of the crummiest ending sequences I have ever read.
I read the linear version (on the Kindle, a mixed-flashback version is also available). Maybe the linear version made the cheapness of the ending more obvious. Maybe I would have felt better about it if I had read the more confusing flashback version.
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!
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Former Chicago detective Jackie, "Jack" Daniels spent much of her career putting away criminals. She was most proud of her work when she was able to remove psychotic and deranged killers who preyed on helpless women.
This story is segmented into three parts. Once Jackie is a police officer, in the segment for twenty one years ago, she goes undercover in attempt to find a serial killer who was dismembering and murdering women.
The next segment covers the time period of three years ago when Jackie and her partner, Herb, were following John Dalton, when a body of a woman had been found and a car matching Dalton's was observed leaving the scene.
In the presnet day part, Jackie has been abducted from her home and is bound and awaiting torture by the killer, Mr. K.
Having a story move through three time periods is difficult. In this novel, the action moves so often between the three periods that the action seems jumpy and some of the story's suspense and momentum are lost, it also made the story somewhat confusing.
The story contains lots of torture and evil people. There are also a number of instances where the reader must suspend their sense of logic. In the twenty one years ago section, Jackie is abducted by the killer and finds herself naked in his home. It ends with her fighting against him. He is described with a weight of over two hundred pounds, she had mentioned that she is size six, so about one hundred pounds. Overcoming her captor stretched belief.
When she is abducted in current time, she's taken from her home while sleeping with her boyfriend. How likely would this be for a killer to attempt and success? I don't know.
Finally, the ending was unrealistic and unsatisfying. Deus ex machina is a plot device where a seemingly inextricable problem is suddenly solved with a contrived and unexpected intervention of some new character. This is never acceptable in literature and the author disappoints his reader by using it here.
I have enjoyed this author's writing in the past but feel that this novel was a let down.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This is apparently one in a series of stories about detective Jacqueline Daniels. The author stretches to create a discussion about what is evil but falls far short. The story is a grisley one which jumps around in time and is filled with death, death, and more death. Each more gruesome than the last. Not worth the read.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2010
I've read all of the other Jack Daniels books and loved them. Shaken is a horrible book. There is no humor in it, just gore and terror with some idiodic dialog thrown in. Then the ending totally bombed - basically no ending. When I saw I was only 59% through the book and still slogging through guts being ripped out, I decided to read one more chapter and then toss it. Luckily, because of the bonus content, one more chapter ended my misery and the book ended (badly). I wasn't interested in the "bonus" of reading the same miserable story in a different order.