Whiskey Sour - J.A. Konrath

First, I promise to do this review without any sly references to drinks or mixology. Whiskey Sour is about a 40-some average height, average weight woman who is in a decidedly unaverage profession - she's a lieutenant in homicide. Her mom was a cop, and she knows what she's in for - but it doesn't make it any easier. She has a divorce behind her and promptly has her current relationship ruined. In many ways her life sucks, but the sense that she's making a difference has her plugging onward.

This is good, because she and her hefty partner just landed a pretty nasty case - a serial murderer who is rather perverted. I love mysteries but I'm not really one for the graphic gore - there was one point in the story that I contemplated putting it down based on where the story was going. I did stick with it, though, and was rewarded by a toning down through the rest of the novel.

What made it worth going on was the writing style. There were many times I laughed out loud at the descriptions and sly comments. Yes, there are a lot of in-your-face ones like joking about having a "hunch" when they are discussing someone with a stooped back. There are a lot of other pokes, though, that are far more subtle and a few of these were gems.

I'm a female, and I found it refreshing to read about a mature, capable woman who was stuck in the ups and downs of love. Yes, they had the obligatory few comments about her wardrobe, but compared to most "female detective" stories I've read, this was *incredibly* tame by comparison. She does reasonably well in a bar fight against three opponents. She shoots well. Heck, I know some women who are excellent brawlers and who are incredibly good shots. It's not unknown - but it's amazing how people think it's "too bizarre" to put that kind of character into a book. I found it quite refreshing.

She gets scared, she has doubts. She knows she has failings. And yet she goes in to work, deals with her insomnia and hopes to find someone half worth dating. She's not a wonderwoman, but she does her job and in fact she does it well.

Now, about the flaws. This is a first novel about Jack Daniels, and I suppose it's inevitable that it is FULL of stereotypes. The pair of FBI guys annoyed me every time they showed up because they were just so obviously "target practice", there only to laugh at. There was no depth at all. They were in fact joked about as being cookie cutter people. Several of the other characters, who really could have done incredibly well with a bit more depth, came across as quite shallow. It was a real shame, because the writing style was so crisp and solid. The main character was well done, but the same care wasn't really given to the surrounding characters.

Still, the writing sang and the descriptions of the locations and people were quite vivid. The storyline, if a bit gory, made sense. I found the final summation a bit of a Poirot situation, sort of a "OK we tie up THIS end, then THIS end, then THIS end" almost as if they were running out of paper and had to get it all done quickly before there were no pages left.

I'll definitely read the subsequent books, and we'll see how the writing style evolves over time!

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