Saturday, December 11, 2010

Rick Reed: The Cruelest Cut

Rick Reed is a retired police detective; Reed takes his knowledge of a police investigation into his fictional debut thriller novel The Cruelest Cut.

Jack Murphy is one of the best detectives on the police force, but that does not mean that he always follows the rules, or knows how to be politically correct, but none of the other members on the force would question his work ethic or courage. Jack is going to need his best work, when a serial killer decides to play mind games with him, and has decided that Jack is the perfect detective for him. His messages to Jack are not hard to miss, from craving Jack’s name into a victim's back, to leaving notes within  victims throats, the killer is taunting Jack at every turn, saying that there will be more murders and gives him a new clue each time with a fractured nursery rhyme. But if the killer thinks that Jack is going to play be the rules and just let him kill in his city, he has another thing coming. He wanted Jack on the case he’s got it. But there is more at play here than just murder, there are political matters that are over shadowing and hindering the investigation. None of this is concern of Jack, all he wants to do is catch the killer that seems obsessed with nursery rhymes and torturing and killing his victims in the most brutal way possible...“Jack be nimble, Jack be quick...”.

This book is okay. I appreciate Reed’s background as a police detective and this really shines through with his dialogue between the police officers, officers and the media, and politics within a police department as well as the overall investigation of the serial murders. I especially like Liddell in the book, who is the comic relief, as he had some pretty funny one liners and funny cop humor.

The main reason that this book was lacking is the reader knows who the serial killers are at the beginning of the investigation, which for me took away the thrill of the chase and mystery in the book. It becomes a question of when the protagonist within the book will catch up to the information you already have, instead of figuring the mystery out with the protagonist. I just kept waiting for Jack to discover the truth, so that "we" were on the same page for the investigation. I really wish Reed would have kept the killer anonymous but had still given the reader the chapters told from the killers point of view. This would have allowed the reader access to the killers’ mind and point of view but also have the created the mystery aspect that I was craving from this book.

So I give this book high marks for its authenticity in the sense of how a police investigation occurs, but for me it lacked the thrill of the mystery by knowing too much when the book started. As for being a thriller, it has points, but I think that it has been classified as a thriller strictly because of how gruesome the killer is (which is not a thriller in my opinion).


Note: The book has quite a few gruesome scenes and murders that involve children, so not for the faint of heart.
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  1. It does suck to have the killer exposed to the readers immediately in the beginning of a book. But I guess what the author wanted was for the readers to concentrate on the detective's skill and knowledge and the killer's methods in killing and manipulating the situation, instead of obsessing on solving 'whodunit'. Great review, I might try that book you suggest.

  2. hi j9. i've been meaning to follow you since i came across your comment re your Nook over at Moonlight Gleam's Bookshelf. i can't wait to get my hands on my Nook with the LED book cover. i might have it by the 28th - after Christmas but it's alright as long as it's on its way. i'm following you now. hope you'll find time to drop by my blog as well. thanks too for the button!