Bloody Mary

by

Author:  J.A. Konrath

Title:  Bloody Mary

Genre:  Audiobook, Suspense

Narrators: Dick Hill, Susie Breck

Publication Date:  2005

Duration:  7 discs/7 hours

Geographical Setting:  Chicago, Illinois

Time Period:  Present day (likely set in the early 2000’s)

Series: Jack Daniels Mysteries, #2

Plot Summary:  Lieutenant Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels has seen some pretty bizarre things during her tenure with the Chicago Police Department, but nothing quite like what the Cook County Morgue is reporting: extra limbs are popping up and no one can account for where they came from.  To make matters more confusing, the limbs seem to be wearing Jack’s accessories.  A psychotic killer has it in for Jack and her partner, Detective Herb Benedict – one who appears to have easy access to Jack’s life.  Jack and Herb find that the killer isn’t as elusive as they were expecting.  However, for the killer, getting caught is only a minor inconvenience.  In addition, Jack is trying to balance out her personal life, and contends with a colorful cast of secondary characters, including her stubborn mother, her mother’s geriatric “lover,” a sadistic cat, and an egocentric ex-partner.  The reader also is allowed short and scary glimpses into the killer’s mind.  Bloody Mary mixes together humor and fear, action and suspense in a fast-paced and gritty – often violent – thrill ride (gentle readers be warned – Konrath can make even a hard-boiled reader squirm).  If you can, listen to the audio version, narrated by the prolific Dick Hill and Susie Breck.  Their characterizations bring the characters and acerbic banter to life, and special sound effects (like muffled voices over the phone) also adds to the listening experience.  (Also included is the short story, “Whelp Wanted” read by the author.)  *Bloody Mary is the second installment in the Jack Daniels series, but can be read as a stand-alone novel.*

Subject Headings:  Women detectives; Serial murderers; Chicago; Murder investigation

Appeal:  fast-paced, funny, sarcastic, suspenseful, gritty, violent, gruesome, menacing, flawed, multiple points of view, uneasy, quirky secondary characters

3 terms that best describe this book:  suspenseful, gruesome, funny

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Armed and Dangerous: Memoirs of a Chicago Policewoman by Gina Gallo: Gallo’s memoir covers the sixteen years she spent on the Chicago police force, from the police academy, to her time covering a West Side district, and her tenure in a plainclothes unit.  Readers who are interested in what Jack’s experiences as a cop in Chicago will be interested in Gallo’s cases and encounters with gang members, drug dealers, prostitutes, and hustlers as well as her insight on how carrying a badge affects your beliefs and behavior.

Courtroom 302: A Year behind the Scenes in an American Criminal Courthouse by Steve Bogira: Part of the suspense in Bloody
Mary
is played out in the courtroom.  For readers who are interested in a what really happens inside the American criminal justice system, there is Courtroom 302.  Chicago-based journalist Bogira presents an insightful and gritty look at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse from the points of view of the prisoners, jury, spectators, and judge.

Serial Killers: the Method and Madness of Monsters by Peter Vronsky: Vronsky (an investigative journalist and documentary film producer) gives readers a compelling and engrossing look into the psychological, investigative, and cultural analysis of serial killers, both historical and modern.  He also includes a section on how to survive an encounter with a serial killer.  As an interesting side note – Serial Killers has been included in reading lists for criminal justice programs.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Bangkok 8 by John Burdett (#1, Sonchai Jitpleecheep mysteries): Sonchai Jitpleecheep, a mysterious but honest Bangkok cop, investigates the deaths of his partner, Pichai Apiradee and U.S. Embassy Sargent William Bradley, but the investigation grows increasingly complex when unusual details are revealed.  Gritty, fast-paced, and suspenseful, readers who sympathized with the flawed Jack Daniels may be drawn to Burdett’s protagonist.

Mortal Stakes by Robert B. Parker (#3, Spenser series):  Boston P.I. Spenser is hired to see if a Red Sox player has been throwing games.  The investigation brings Spenser deeper than he imagined, into the realm of pimps, madams, and the mob.  Funny, gritty, and suspenseful, fans of Bloody Mary will find themselves drawn into Spenser’s classic case.

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich (#1, Stephanie Plum series): Stephanie Plum is an out-of-work discount lingerie buyer in need of money when she takes on a job as a bounty hunter for her cousin.  Having no previous experience with bounty hunting, hilarity ensues.  Readers who enjoyed the humor and quirky secondary characters in Bloody Mary will be drawn to Stephanie Plum’s misadventures with her family and co-workers.

Name:  Mieko Fujiura

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