Rated 2.5 of 5 stars
Readers of the thriller/suspense genre may find this a difficult read for a few reasons. While Jordan shimmers in certain places in his debut novel, his main character’s lack of character almost tanks his valiant efforts. John Coleman is a man that is haunted by his policeman father’s suicide and is obsessed with his father’s nemesis, a serial killer, aptly named The Butcher, due to the intricate carving of the disposed bodies. His obsession resurfaces after the body of his long time drinking buddy is found carved up outside the bar they frequent. John from the beginning does not have a likable quality. He critiques his wife heavily and without love. He’s not present for his daughter. He drinks obsessively. He’s a clear womanizer and cheater. And to top it all off, he has en excuse for everything! Readers will not want this main character to win, to overcome. As the story progresses and winds through two intricate story lines (shimmer is right here), we see bits of pieces start to peel away of the serial murders and their uniqueness.
I found the story to have holes. One, serial killers usually kill in their style. They don’t abandon it for ease or quickness and this happened in one scene. Two, the clear bigotry gave me a bad taste…all black people were noted as black yet explained in a weird way different from other characters (such as every character that wasn’t black had a sexual annotation yet black female characters were only noted as strong/aggressive/no nonsense/or hung up on slavery/race issues…this is called bigotry showing through the authors work and I was surprised no one who edited this caught that as a problem). Furthermore, the character was scared of being robbed by black people or being gang raped by black prisoners or rap music being associated with prison. These are all clear issues with a misinformed author (and possibly publisher) who let their ignorance show through their work. The use of the term “nigger” was unnecessarily used and brought nothing to the story as well as when John’s daughter claims she heard the term used at school, the father doesn’t admonish her or use it as a moment to say “Don’t say that”, yet when she curses, he tells her to watch her mouth. The author could claim this was purposeful but it was very unnecessary as race wasn’t an angle in the story at all. Anyway, that alone took a star away from my review.
The end attempts to weave two story lines together and makes a good go at it. The only issue is that the end is not what the readers will be satisfied with based on the strong dislike of the main character. Most people reading will not think this guy should have anything good happen and definitely not everything good happen for him. So a star was taken for that as well.
I think Michael Jordan has a future in writing as its evident that he has skill to weave two story lines into one novel yet there is room for polish in his character development. In the end, I’d rate the novel a strong 2.5 stars and recommend for readers who aren’t interested in redeemable characters but like a twisty, legal thriller to wet their taste buds.
Raging Book Reviews