Aspho's Reviews > Shaken

Shaken by J.A. Konrath
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's review
Mar 22, 2011

it was amazing
Read from March 22 to 26, 2011

(Copy of my own review of this book on

They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover but when I saw the cover of `Shaken' it was love at first sight, because I am a bit of a cocktail freak and a nice shiny cocktail shaker set in a lurid pink background was just too much to resist.

This is the penultimate instalment of a series of crime novels set in Chicago, with detective Jaqueline `Jack' Daniels (geddit?) as the protagonist. But fear not, you really need not read the previous instalments to make sense of this book, as the narrative is not linear and it will be taking you back and forwards in time, from 1989, to 2007, to 2010. It sounds like effort but it's not, I promise you (not being a fan of flashbacks and flashforwards). I actually rather enjoyed the choppiness of the timeline.

By his own admission, J.A. Konrath rips off pretty much everybody and as a fan of old-days Cornwell, I could certainly see the similarities. Female ballsy heroine, check; overweight cop partner, check; evil serial killer, check. But unlike present days Cornwell (although I have yet to read her last two offerings, which hopefully are better than the third to last), Konrath gives you a page turner. The chapters are short, light on descriptive ramblings and heavy on snappy dialogue and action; there's plenty of humour (albeit of the gallows variety, but hey, it's a cop novel) scattered throughout the pages to balance the nastiness of the bad stuff. You can tell that Konrath doesn't take himself too seriously and in one scene in which Jack and her partners toy with the idea of breaking the rules to catch a baddie, one of them says `I saw it on The Shield'. Being a fan of that TV show made me get the reference and made me like the book even more.

Ok, so it's not high brow high literary fiction, but it doesn't try to be and what Konrath does, he does brilliantly. He writes a book that is fairly short, has short chapters, hooks you from page one, has you care about the characters and - let's not forget this - has a really, really great cover. The kind of book that you just want to keep on reading even if it's bedtime. It's genre literature at its very best.

Prior to seeing `Shaken' on the Amazon Vine monthly list, I'd never heard of its author. `Shaken' is published by Amazon Encore but all the previous novels of the `Jaqueline `Jack' Daniels' series are also available in paper format as well as for the Kindle. I've since discovered that Konrath is a very prolific writer who now primarily self-publishes with Kindle and Amazon Encore as their main platforms (but his books are also all available in formats readable by all other types of e-readers too). I really wish him the best of luck and I hope that Amazon Encore helps his works reach bigger audiences, because it's a mystery to me how he can do what he does without being a big name in crime writing. I am most certainly going to buy all the other Jack Daniels books in the series in their paper format so that I can look at the beautiful drink-cabinet inspired covers while I mix myself my next cocktail.
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Reading Progress

03/23/2011 page 44
14.0% "An Amazon Vine freebie chosen because of the cocktail-theme!"
03/24/2011 page 84
28.0% "It's a bit like old times Scarpetta"
03/24/2011 page 111
37.0% "The number of wealth!"

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