Rob’s Critical Book Review: “Redheads,” by Jonathan Moore
Though I’m sure to upset some authors and publishers who, understandably, want five-star reviews, I’ve my own definition of the five-star system.
*One Star: A crime against God and man.
*Two Stars: Poor, or otherwise not ready for publication.
*Three Stars: A solid work worth the money/read.
*Four Stars: A superior, award-worthy achievement.
*Five Stars: A standard setter, a work to stand the test of time, a work to be studied and read again and again….
A thriller? A procedural? A horror novel? Just pure page-turning fun–from the dark side!
Fishing through Amazon’s nearly endless supply of books, I came across this recommendation and took the plunge. And why wouldn’t I? Look at the cover, and the title.
(Big props to cover designer Angela Waters.)
The next thing that grabbed was a plug on Amazon by author phenom Jack Ketchum:
“This is accomplished and exciting work, which at times seems to channel the best of Michael Crichton in its attention to believable, telling detail. Moore’s a major new talent, I promise you.”
Then the book arrived and was about to be put in my ever-growing to-be-read pile, and act that would’ve relegated the reading experience to some months in the future. So what happened? I decided to thumb through the front-matter and came across an expanded plug by Ketchum that said (in part):
“The first hundred pages or so of this damn book kept me up until three in the morning, and then it just…got better. …”
Yeah, right, Jack.
Like readers have never heard something like that before.
Thus the decision was made to start that night, at bedtime, to read a few pages, you know, just to prove that blurbs are just flavored praise.
Damned if Mr. Ketchum hadn’t called it.
I finished “Redheads” in three sittings, with that first night taking me through to page 120 (and then stopping only because of dire need of rest).
Here’s the book’s description:
A killer far worse than insane.
Chris Wilcox has been searching for years, so he knows a few things about his wife’s killer. Cheryl Wilcox wasn’t the first. All the victims were redheads. All eaten alive and left within a mile of the ocean. The trail of death crosses the globe and spans decades.
The cold trail catches fire when Chris and two other survivors find a trace of the killer’s DNA. By hiring a cutting-edge lab to sequence it, they make a terrifying discovery. The killer is far more dangerous than they ever guessed. And now they’re being hunted by their own prey.
My score for this book?
Three Stars … meaning a solid work worth the money and the read.
But it’s tempting to give it four.
Of a truth, this novel was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award.
Should it have won?
I don’t have that answer, but I do understand the nomination, and anyone that picks up this bullet-fast book and gives it a try is going to be hard-pressed to be disappointed.
I, for one, believe that Moore did everything right for this particular tale, the prose, the pacing, the delightful way he kept “the bad guy” in the shadows for so darn long.
Moore, for “Redheads,” I applaud you.
And for Jack Ketchum: Sir, apologies for doubting your words.