I no longer write reviews. If you know me at all, you know this about me. But when I read Stirred, I had to make an exception. The writing team of Blake Crouch and J.A. Konrath represents the major leagues to a sandlot player like me. When Mantle and Marris invite you to sit in the Yankee dugout and watch them knock one out of the park, what are you going to say—you’re too busy?
You find time. You make time. And afterward, you’re glad you did, because you saw something special. Stirredis that kind of special. It’s a major league, bottom-of-the-ninth, bases-loaded home run of a book!
Here’s what you want to know: Former police Lieutenant Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels is quite familiar with psychotic killer Luther Kite’s handiwork. Last time she encountered Kite, Jack had been forced to watch him murder one of his victims in a manner so savage and brutal it traumatized the veteran investigator.
Recently retired from an amazing career that made her a legend in precincts and prisons alike, Jack finds herself eight months’ pregnant, and suffering from preeclampsia. She’d like to create a semi-normal life for her family-to-be, and she could, if stone killers like Luther Kite and his ilk would remain in her past. Unfortunately, Kite has other plans. He’s resurfaced in Jack’s life with a vengeance, and the body count is piling up.
Flanked by closest friends Phin Troutt, Harry McGlade and Herb Benedict, Jack learns that the bodies of Luther’s latest victims contain clues that only she can solve. Against her doctors’ orders, Jack puts her health on hold and her life on the line to confront Kite in a relentless battle of wits where the fate of her unborn child hangs in the balance. Jack thought she had a pretty good handle on Luther Kite, but as one clue builds on another, she comes to the terrible realization Kite has spared no expense in his quest to make Jack’s life a living hell.
The battle lines between good and evil are drawn, and evil has had years to prepare. It’s personal between Jack and Luther, as personal as it gets. But when the two come face to face, as you know they must, Jack is forced to realize, for the first time in her life, how the decisions she’s made—and those she’s about to make—impact the lives of her closest friends.
Best-selling mystery thriller reviews typically generate comments like heart-stopping, pulse-pounding, terrifying, gripping, chilling, and must-read. Stirred has all those elements, but while we’re at it, let’s add laugh out loud, because you will. This is not a subtle book. It’s more of a grab-you-by-the-throat, lift-you-off-the-floor, and slam-you-against-the-nearest-wall type of book. The evil characters get under your skin. The good ones get into your heart. Just an aside, but look for the characters Donaldson and Lucy (from Crouch's & Konrath's Serial Killers Uncut), as they are two of the best I’ve encountered in a lifetime of reading.
Five stars. --John Locke
John Locke is the international best-selling author of eleven books in three different genres. He is the 8th author in history to have sold one million eBooks on Kindle, and the first self-published author in history to have done so.