cover image Chasing Jack

Chasing Jack

Parnell Hall. Brash, $17.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-7343480-6-4

Set in New York City, this pallid serial killer thriller from Edgar finalist Hall (the Stanley Hastings series) focuses on a pair of thugs who call themselves George and Lennie after the characters in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. George and Lennie confront a number of New Yorkers—a professor, a bartender, a latex salesman, an investment broker—and ask each of them whether they know a Jack Jones. Invariably, the victims don’t know Jones, and Lennie breaks at least one their fingers before dispatching them in various ways. Veteran cop Murphy, a member of the task force assembled to stop the killing spree, has advanced cancer. A stock character, Murphy is haunted by a misstep in an unrelated case that led to a sexual predator going free to strike again. That tired trope—a dying officer seeking redemption—isn’t given any new life, and Hall doesn’t create any suspense as Murphy races to catch George and Lennie. Hall is capable of much better. Agent: Henry Morrison, Henry Morrison. (Sept.)