By: William R. Potter
Publisher: RealTime Publishing
Publication Date: November 2009
Reviewed By: Deb Fowler
Review Date: January 2010
Kim decided to head out to the alley to take a few puffs before the diner filled up, but this time she wouldn’t have to work her shift. Her assailant grabbed her by the hair and slammed her to the ground, but not before he began to talk about her life, or more specifically, what she hadn’t done with it. She was a loser and before she met her maker he was going to let her know all about it. He began to recite something she already knew, “Two illegitimate children, a deadbeat boyfriend, and a minimum wage job slinging burgers to the scum of the earth.” It was Kim’s thirty-second birthday and her last celebration would be a deathly encounter with a man in a dingy alley lined with garbage.
Jack Staal was a seasoned detective for the Hanson, BC West precinct “criminal investigations branch.” These days he wasn’t dropping off to sleep as soon as his head hit the pillow because there were a couple of women on his mind. Stephanie and Gabriella had both been “violently raped and murdered on their birthdays.” He pored over the information he had, but there wasn’t much to go on. His partner, Lesley Degarmo, kept him up to date on what IHIT, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, was up to. It wasn’t even his case, but he wanted the “Birthday Boy” so bad he could taste it. A serial crime had been declared and if he wanted in on this one he’d have to stay clear of his rival Donald Chin. Little did he know that he was in the crosshairs of the exact same psychopath he would be looking for. Even the FBI wanted in on this one. Jack would have to work hard and fast to catch his man.
The FIS, Forensic Identification Section, began to gather in the alley, but the “guy in black” was long gone. The citizens of British Columbia would be keeping their women close to them on their birthdays if this psycho couldn’t be found. More and more teams began to assemble to profile the killer and work on the case, but Jack Staal really needed this case “for his self-confidence and peace of mind.” He had a few memories that were always coming back to kick him and he needed something to stop them. He was admittedly “obsessed with the case, and his fixation was going to destroy his career.” Would it? What was driving this madman? Why were there so few clues and connections to be found between the women? A soldier of justice was beginning to move. Only a few more stops and he was going to get his man…detective Jack Staal. Who was going to get whom?
This is one of those dark police procedurals that would make a great psycho thriller movie, keeping people on the edge of their seats. Essentially, I would have difficulty calling this a “mystery” because the reader is aware of the perpetrator early on. The only mystery is his motivation, which turns out to be a stunner. This was however, a first rate thriller that will keep the reader burning the midnight oil. I only had a couple minor problems with the book, one of which was the introduction of numerous characters that had little to do with the plot. Many of these characters, members of investigative teams, were mentioned once or twice, then were never seen or heard from again. This was an aspect that confused me fairly early on in the book, but later the plot tightened up. The second issue was an excess of colorful language that seemed to simply stereotype the detectives as boorish clods. My opinion? Jack Staal is one of those detectives you won’t easily forget and this series will be a hot one!
Quill says: If you want a psychological thriller you can’t put down, you’ve come to the right place. Just don’t turn out the light …
For more information on Dead of Knight: A Jack Staal Mystery, please visit the author's website: WilliamRPotter.com