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The Night Monster

(Jack Carpenter #3)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  709 ratings  ·  61 reviews
The shadowy side of the Sunshine State, where blood runs cold even in the tropical heat, is the tantalizing, terrifying territory few know better than James Swain. His razor-sharp tales of criminals, cops, and South Florida—style suspense bite like a hungry gator and never let go.

The past has come back to haunt P.I. Jack Carpenter, former head of the Broward County Missing
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 15th 2009 by Ballantine Books (first published September 1st 2009)
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4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  709 ratings  ·  61 reviews

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Sep 30, 2012 rated it liked it
This book was ridiculous!

Jack Carpenter is a former cop who now works as a PI specializing in finding missing children. The problem is he behaves as if he is one man police force and we're supposed to feel sorry for him when he ends up getting himself in a heap of trouble while making the desperate situation of kidnap victims even worse. with his foolhardy antics.

I should have sensed trouble when he singlehandedly rescued a lost autistic child from the jaws of an alligator. I mean, who does that
Feb 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Another better novel than I thought it would be. James Swain is an excellent author. Any writer who can make a kidnapping story interesting without dwelling on the macrabe is worth their talent in writing. 8 of 10 stars
Aug 23, 2010 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: suspense
I’m reading three other books, but my attention to them waned when I picked up Swain’s novel and read the first page. Talk about being drawn into a book. “The Night Monster” is one of those books that has the reader turning pages, faster and faster, hooked and anxious to see what will happen next.

See my full review on Amazon.
Jim A
Aug 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
While it is not a literary masterpiece, it certainly is a page turner.
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Swain is a first class writer and, though I really like the Tony Valentine series best, this series with Jack Carpenter is nearly as good. Jack is an excellent detective who thinks quickly on his feet. He solves mostly child abductions using his deep knowledge of this crime niche. I like that he doesn't figure everything out on the computer and has to use old-fashioned footwork to move the case forward. The bad guys are a little unusual, but not so much. The dialogue is crisp and the story flows ...more
Adrian Valencia
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really like James Swain's writing. I haven't read any of his Jack Carpenter's series. but I didn't feel lost in his characters. He explains and introduces the characters very well, it seems he did a lot of research for his book regarding police procedures, the locations in Florida, and some tidbits here and there. I liked reading the backstory through this book, making want to know more about the mystery. I decided that I will keep reading his books.
Jerry Hooten
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Suspense with a great ending

All thru the story, the bad guys seem a step ahead. Great ending,when the good guys bring it to a close.
Bruce Smith
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: action, florida, thriller
I haven't read James Swain in a while. I enjoyed this book, well written and faced paced.
Dave Nichols
Although this book moves along nicely; I wasn't too happy with the kinda weird situation with the town, Chatham.
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another good Jack Carpenter novel.
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
could not put it down.
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I like all of the books in the Jack Carpenter series. They are hard to put down. I'm ready for the next.
Kara Jorges
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Jack Carpenter has been haunted by the disappearance of Naomi Dunn since he witnessed her abduction 18 years ago. Now an ex-cop who assists the police in finding missing children, he is suddenly pulled back on the case full time when the same man abducts one of his daughter’s college basketball teammates. The man is a giant, estimated at six-foot-ten and 350 pounds, and has a small man for an accomplice. Chasing across Florida after the kidnappers with his loyal Australian shepherd Buster, Jack ...more
Paul Pessolano
Feb 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
Jack Carpenter is a P.I. in the Sunshine State. He was once head of the Broward County Missing Persons Unit but found himself at odds with his superiors and was forced out of a job.

Jack is haunted by, what he believes to be, his failure to stop a young girls kidnapping 18 years ago. The kidnapping was carried out by a "monster" of a man. The monster stood about six-ten and weighed about 300 pounds. He was a strong as an ox and enjoyed killing.

When a player on the Florida State women's basketball
Apr 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
I am a little puzzled by all the glowing reviews of The Night Monster. It is fairly cliched, following the tried and true formula of the rogue ex-cop who was forced out of his job, solving the mystery the rest of the force can't. The pace is fast(the best thing about the book), with mini mysteries popping up nearly every 10 pages. This helps, since obviously we know the "big case" involving the Night Monster can't/won't be solved until the end. The problem for me, was every single one of these l ...more
Jul 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Detective Jack Carpenter is in charge of Broward County Sheriff Department’s Missing Persons Unit. He is good at his job, though he will never forget the time that he met a monster. Before he was detective, Jack was driving home when he responded to a call that a woman was being assaulted. Jack arrived at the location, only to come face to face with a man so horrifying that he almost couldn’t be called human.

Jack hoped to never see that nightmare again. Unfortunately, Jack will enter hell and t
Aug 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This was a great feel good story. I am not saying that there weren't some scary monsters in here. There were, but there was also some good guys and Jack Carpenter is the best. When you need someone to find your missing child, you don't want anybody else but him on the case.

When a young woman is kidnapped after a college basketball that Jack's daughter was in, Jack gets pulled into the case. The deeper he gets in, he realizes that the case eerily echoes a kidnapping that happened 16 years ago. O
Suspense Magazine
Mar 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Jack Carpenter is a former police officer turned PI who fails to stop the abduction of his daughter's college teammate. The abduction eerily reminds him of case he similarly botched 18 years prior and this unresolved guilt drives him even harder to help get the girl back alive. The Night Monster is the third book in the Jack Carpenter series and it brings us closer to the guy whose mission it is to make things right. The action is never ending from start to finish and offers the reader a premise ...more
Neil Mudde
Jul 03, 2012 rated it liked it
This is my first book by James Swain, an interesting and rather quick read P.J. Carpenter has a shady past but the saving grace is he has this wonderful dog Buster, well any book that has a caring dog, that is bright, and obviously loves his master,is a winner, the story about his daughter and other basketball team members, who disappear, is somewhat contrived, his daughter off course becomes a big star,the characters that kidnap and have been kidnapping these girls are a pain, and need the help ...more
Aug 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: auido, series
I'm not liking this narrator as much as the one that did The Night Stalker. I also disliked that Jack gets any respect or even professional courtesy especially since he's right so much of the time. After the last book, one would think that Candy Burrell would have more respect for him. Jack is nice enough not to say "I told you so" but Burrell doesn't even apologize. I did like Valentine being in the story as well as Linderman.
Oct 09, 2009 rated it liked it
I've read all James' books and find them either chilling or funny. I miss his Tony Valentine gambler series, but this new one featuring Jack Carpenter is quite good in a procedural way. He a child welfare advocate, and it's good to see kids protected by someone so competent.
Buster is nice too! Guess what? Jack meets Tony in here and the results are fantastic. This series is great in a Dragnet (just the facts ma'am) kind of way.
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was good. I was on edge for most of the read. I was a little annoyed that the main character who was considered a great cop didn't have the faith of the police force. However, I guess that had to set the tone for having him go at the investigation alone for much of the book. I am definitely going to seek out other books by this author.
Jun 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-detective
Jack Carpenter and his dog partner (Buster) are called by his daughter about a possible stalker who kidnaps a Florida State Seminoles basketball star. Jack works with his FBI friend, and the local police at times to find the serial kidnapper/killers. Tony Valentine, from Swain's other books, combine to help each other. Suspenseful read, like the others.
Mar 17, 2012 rated it liked it
A bit simple but entertaining, a light summer read. It did what it set out to do very well. In real life you wouldn't expect the Jack Carpenter character to get so much cooperation from officialdom but there was a good bit of action and a nice happy ending, well not too neat as to be completely boring.
Apr 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was better than the previous books in this series. It didn't feel like every clue fell into Carpenter's lap. There were still plenty of times when he and the other characters still did completely idiotic things. Plenty of times when the characters butted heads for no apparent reason other than it should make things dramatic. Worth taking a star away, in my book.
Kathleen Marasco
Mar 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is the 3rd book in this series.

As always the author hasn't disappointed me. Fast paced and I was eager to keep reading to find out what was happening!

Just WOW!!!! You will not be disappointed either! Enjoy
Tom Hicks
James Swain is a wonderful writer. Just don't want to put down his novels at all. Jack and Buster are out there finding missing children and keeping you on the edge of your seat. Loved this story and I'm looking forward to another Jack Carpenter Story or the next Grift Sense Story. Good books.
Sep 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dude-thrillers
Wow . . . and WOW! Clear-thinking: not too much, not too little -- just enough.

I can count the books I've read in one day on one hand, and this one has just joined that very elite group. Read it straight through until I was too tired to go on, finished the following morning.
Mark Levine
Apr 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Written in all short declarative sentences with many repeats.Pop psychology without in depth understanding.Only interesting area was Tony Valentine's appearance discussing gambling ploys.He needs to return to this topic where he is knowledgeable.
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James Swain is the national best selling author of seventeen mystery novels, and has been published in twelve different languages. His books have been chosen as Mysteries of the Year by Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, and have received three Barry Award nominations, a Florida Book Award for Fiction, and France’s prestigious Prix Calibre .38 for Best American Crime Fiction. Born in Huntingto ...more

Other books in the series

Jack Carpenter (4 books)
  • Midnight Rambler (Jack Carpenter #1)
  • The Night Stalker (Jack Carpenter #2)
  • The Program (Jack Carpenter #4)