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Rusty Nail

Review by: 
J.A. Konrath
Publication Date: 
Bottom Line: 

 It’s Chicago.  Life in the Homicide Department of the Chicago PD is a little slow, and Lt. Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels is thankful.  With the arrival of a single sealed envelope, things are about to violently change for the worse.
Rusty Nail is the third installment in the Jacqueline Daniels’ horror/thriller series.  The books follow Jack and her heavy-set partner, Detective Herb Benedict, as they are forced to track down some very extravagant serial murderers.  This time around is no exception.
In the series’ premiere, Whiskey Sour, Jack and her partner are introduced, immediately faced with the challenge of a serial killer calling himself The Gingerbread Man.  This leads to a high-profile series of murders with Jack as the target before it’s all over.
The second book, Bloody Mary, Herb and Jack have to find another killer.  This time it’s a maniac killing easily-captured and preyed upon young women.  When they find him, things really ramp up.
Rusty Nail returns to a similar format, with Jack square in the crosshairs of the murderer.  This time, it’s someone with ties to the original Gingerbread Man.  Along the way, Jack is reunited with some previously appearing characters, including ex-lover Latham, ex-partner Harry McGlade, and pool buddy Phineas Troutt.
Rusty Nail continues Konrath’s display of deeply dedicated and well-documented research.  The author continues to pen very specific descriptions bringing the reader into the scene and engaging their every sense.  From morgue smells to body decomposition to the details of handguns, Konrath repeatedly establishes a scene.
This time around, things are even more violent, and gory than in the past, which is quite a statement given how nasty things were in the first two books.  Konrath has no fear of detailing death and torture, giving his villains a pure sense of evil while eliminating any sense of comical bad guy.  These people are just plain sick, and enjoy acting on it.  The series is parallel to the SAW trilogy, in that the third installment is clearly the most violent, without needing to be.  The story is just as strong, and the characters just as deep and believable as when readers first discovered them.
Konrath is a Chicago native, which is clearly displayed in his work.  He regularly teaches writing classes and is a convention veteran.  For details on his appearances, downloads, contests, short stories or to read the first seven full chapters of Rusty Nail, visit

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