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Floaters: Three Short Stories Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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Story #1: Floaters by Konrath and Perez
Floaters was my introduction to Henry Perez's character, Cuban-American reporter Alex Chapa. Lucky for me Chapa works in Chicago. Chicago is the same city my favorite fictional Homicide Lieutenant, Jack Daniels, also works. Chapa is searching for missing Emil Candrolini at the request of his wife of forty years, Nina. Why he agrees to take this story is beyond me. (Surely there are bigger stories in Chicago.) Nina gives Alex three names and addresses of people he may have dealt with and he begins his search for Emil. When bodies begin popping up in the Chicago River, Alex may have found a link to Emil. Enter the always stylishly dressed Jack Daniels and her always hungry slob of a partner, Herb. What absolutely made this story perfect was the banter between Jack and Herb which mostly included pepperoni snacks. No matter how ludicrous their conversations can get, they honor their jobs as police officers and always have each other's back. Although the criminals are totally stupid (because they're criminals) Jack and Herb are forced to cover Alex's back as well.
Story #2: Familiar Places by Henry Perez
This story is about a hit man who failed to follow through on a job and the fallout that follows. The "fallout" came as a surprise to me and was exciting to read. (Includes gunfire, fists and blood) Really, what becomes of a hit man when he no longer has a future with his employer?
Story # 3: Last Request (The best of the three!)
This short story follows Phineas Trout. Phin is character from the Jack Daniels series who is dying from pancreatic cancer. Phin's morality has seriously slipped and he takes on crime to help him pay for coke or heroin to ease his pain. On the way to commit a crime he picks up a transsexual hooker named Thor. (That's an image!) All I can say about this story is "I did not see that coming!" This story has a fantastic and very surprising twist. It was a great read! Phin is awesome. I hope he never dies!
Floaters also has brief conversations between Konrath and Perez. They're very short and humorous. Thankfully, they offer no deep thoughts. Floaters also features excerpts from Killing Red and A Shot of Tequila. I skipped those.
If anything you must read Last Request. Floaters is nothing profound, but for free it was a lot of fun.
With this said...............and off my chest..............Let me say a few things about the actual story. Or shall I say very very short story. Mr Konrath is an excellent writer. He has a grasp for keeping the story moving and "me" guessing. In this particular story he had me scratching my head, laughing out loud, picturing the scene perfectly, and enjoying fully the characters he has spent years developing. And by the way, they are always true to their personalities.
In all fairness I should have, and would have given this story a perfect score. Because the story itself was complete. I am just getting tired of looking at the length of what appears to be a "three night book" and being done in "one" because of the ramblings tucked nicely on the end. You are a very sneaky man.
In the "interview" that Konrath and Perez did with each other at the end of the story, there was something about how it only took a month to write. Yep, it felt like it, too. It really could have used more development. Not necessarily a much higher word count -- maybe just a few thousand would have done it if they'd spent longer reworking the material they already had.
I ended up feeling that the story could have been told entirely without the Jack Daniels chapters -- or rather, that there could have been random cops stuck into the chapters where Alex is interacting with them -- and nothing about the story made me want to grab a Jack Daniels novel to get more of her character. I also felt that the experiment, while interesting, didn't result in a real collaboration.
I was also surprised when the story ended. It seemed that there should have been some kind of wind up, and one more opportunity for Jack & Alex to talk. Instead, it was just over.
I have to say that I now am more interested in books by Henry Perez, and I now wonder if that wasn't really the point of the collaboration, and perhaps Konrath deliberately allowed the Alex character to outshine Jack Daniels. After all, Konrath has become pretty successful, but I think that Perez is a newer author. Perhaps this was a successful joint effort after all.
A grudging 3 stars.