Saturday, June 28, 2014

John Lutz: The Night Caller

John Lutz is a well known for his suspense fiction and in the Night Caller, when a former police officer is the one to discover his daughter dead:

 Ezekiel Cooper, Coop to everyone, is a former NYPD detective who is about to be pulled into the hunt of his life. His daughter has been murder and he is determined to find who is responsible. He never thought that he would find himself paired with a novelist who is attempting to make a name for herself in True Crime, but Dani has connections that even Coop does not have and it turns out they need each other in order to solve this case. They want to go about the investigation entirely different ways, and Coop is always questioning Dani's motives, but he needs to find out who murdered his daughter as it looks the killings are not going to stop anytime soon.

I'm pretty sure that this is the first book that I have read by Lutz which I am surprised at as I do tend to read the serial killer thrillers quite often and enjoy the hunt that are within them. I am always searching for something new and someone new in this genre and I think that Lutz succeeded in some points but not others, the serial killer was not that original and seemed very scattered when you read the chapters from their point of view. There is one path in the book that I did not think that Lutz would take as  it would probably have been easier to go a different way but I'm really glad with his choice and it was one of the highlights of the book (sorry about being vague but I dont want to give it away). Nevertheless, I never really felt on the edge of my seat in this book, and I think that is a must when a book is set up as a thriller. I found the story and mystery very entertaining but I wanted to feel the suspense of each moment.

I think the aspect I liked the best within this book is Coop being the father of one the Night Caller's victims and the lengths he was willing to go in order to find the killer. This very personal interest is what shapes the story and the plot and basically everything that Coop needs to achieve. In order to add another time limit to things there are additional murders occurring but also Coop has/had brain cancer. This not only limits him physically, it also really limits the time frame he can do it in. Although he does have brain cancer, he doesn't let it slow him down, he is resilient and at times pushes himself too far, but all for a good cause. Coop is resilient, a good detective, patient and likes to take his time to make sure he gets the investigation right, all things I like to see portrayed in a detective (well former detective). I also liked the interaction that Coop had with other characters within the book, especially his ex-wife. I'm not sure if Lutz intended it but those interactions were almost the comic relief  for me, as the craziness of some of her views of people, culture and women rights.

I don't think anyone could like Dani and I do not think that Lutz really wants you to like her. I secretly wonder if she is based upon another writer that he either knows or is friends with, but her personality is lacking a friendly vibe. She is only concerned about herself and writing her book so she can "make it big" again. She has no concern for the murder victims, or their families, she only allows them to think this so she can dig additional information out of them for her book. She is also very self centered and will use whatever she can to manipulate people and situations, so I do have to applaud her for being a chameleon, I mean she is even able to charm Coop's ex-wife.

I would read another novel by Lutz and I can begin to understand as to why he is a popular serial killer writer I just hope that some of his other novels have more of the suspense and thrills that I am looking for with these types of books.

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