Bloody Mary - J.A. Konrath

I really enjoyed Whisky Sour, the first story about "Jack" Daniels, a female police officer. I liked her strong character, the witty writing, and the characters in general. In many ways it struck me as a female "Spenser" character. The only issue I had was the sometimes extreme, nasty gore in it. I struggled through that because the rest of the story was so enjoyable.

I had really hoped that Bloody Mary would provide the same great characters and environment, and tone the gore down. Unfortunately, this was not to be. If anything, the gore level was cranked up here. Now we have a sadistic psychopath who enjoys torturing his victims for days, if possible, with as gory a result as humanly possible. He literally covers the walls with plastic to make the cleanup of blood and body bits easier. It gets overly disgusting.

That's not to say I didn't enjoy the rest of the book! I love the writing style. I love the one-liners and the sharpness of the characters. I love how generally strong Daniels is - although she does slip quite a lot here, for some reason becoming more like a "stereotypical female in a cop job" than she had in the first book. I liked the fact that her mom, a retired cop, was also still sharp, active and had a sex life.

The mid-life crisis, the dealing-with-an-aging-parent, and many other side stories were integrated in an interesting, although sometimes over the top, manner. For someone who spends her life evaluating peoples' discussions and seeking for meaning in a questioning, Daniels seems blissfully clueless about the importance of communication in her own life. So be it, some people are like that.

In the end, though, the gore levels are just too much for me. A lot of it was in there just for gross-out factor and had little real plot meaning. Even if a serious motivation was laid out, it might help - but there wasn't. It was more of a "this incredibly, completely insane person has landed in Daniels' life, so let's have fun with the idea." Somehow Daniels personally seems to attract more complete psychopaths in 2 years than most states see in a 50 year period.

So I'm afraid that for me, personally, I can't read any more of these. There are tons of other writers out there who give me the same level of enjoyability without the detailed body ripping apart. If someone wants to contact me should future books tone down the gore level, I'd be quite happy!

[NOTE: From the reviews I've read, the book after this - Rusty Nail - was even worse in gore and was panned as having far too much for even gore-loving readers. I think I'm glad I stopped here!]

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