4 stars out of 5
This book was offered free at Amazon.com some time ago, but it got shoved to the back burner and then, alas, totally forgotten until it popped up again - this time as a freebie for KindleUnlimited subscribers (I signed up recently on a trial basis). When I read the description, I said why not - and proceeded to find it on my Kindle Fire and get started.
And, I finished it in a single day, albeit one when the weather was questionable and I had a little extra free time - it's only 237 pages and very easy to breeze through. It's also quite good; although I'll take a big issue with the "Entertainment Weekly" claim that it's for fans of Robert B. Parker's "smart but tough-as-nails heroes," former boxer and book author Jack Rhodes makes for an interesting character. His wife, Sara, blew her head off with a shotgun just as he was starting to gain success as a writer. After a 15-month stint as a nearly drop-dead alcoholic, he begins to write again and becomes wildly successful with a series of mysteries about a serial murderer simply called the Killer.
This book, the first in a series, begins as all that success begins to go to hell in a handbasket with an especially grisly murder seemingly based on Jack's first book (he's now in the middle of writing the fourth). Problem is, the real murder took place before Jack's first book was published. Is it a copycat? Or did Jack's descent into an alcoholic stupor include acts so dark that even he can't remember? Then, a second murder is discovered - linked to yet another of his books - and (no surprise), Jack becomes Suspect No. 1 and goes on the run in an attempt to prove his innocence and, hopefully, prevent yet another murder that could be based on his in-progress novel.
All told, this debut novel is well worth the time I spent reading it. In fact, the follow-up - Killer in the Hills - is available free through KindleUnlimited, and yes, I grabbed it. Stay tuned!
Killer by Stephen Carpenter (Amazon Digital Services Inc.) 237 pp.