cover image The Axe Factor: A Jimm Juree Mystery

The Axe Factor: A Jimm Juree Mystery

Colin Cotterill. Minotaur, $24.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-04336-8

Cotterill’s outstanding third Jimm Juree mystery (after 2012’s Grandad, There’s a Head on the Beach) opens with an unposted blog entry “found two weeks too late.” Signed with the initials C.C., the text is the first-person account of the slaughter and butchery of a woman with an axe. It concludes with plans for more bloodshed. C.C.’s real identity is apparently Conrad Coralbank, an English writer living in Thailand, whose career parallels that of Cotterrill. Juree, a freelance journalist now residing in a rural village on the south coast of Thailand, gets an assignment to profile Coralbank, with whom she’s soon smitten. Meanwhile, the outrageously funny Juree, who conducts an imaginary e-mail correspondence with Clint Eastwood, grows increasingly suspicious about why a local doctor disappeared. Despite the grimness of the violence and the corruption Juree eventually uncovers, Cotterrill keeps the tone light, aided by the conceit of starting each chapter with Thai signage, replete with malapropisms (e.g., “Ladies are Requested not to Have Children in the Bar”). (Apr.)