Dead is Dead (Jack Bertolino, Book #3)
by John Lansing
Release Date: May 30th 2016
2016 Gallery Books/Karen Hunter Publishing
Ebook Edition; 352 Pages
Genre: Fiction / Suspense
Source: Review copy from Partners in Crime Tours
4 / 5 Stars
Retired Inspector Jack
Bertolino gets his first taste of the erratic nature of Hollywood when
A-list producer, George Litton, options one of Jack’s recent cases for a
Jack is engaged as the film’s technical advisor, which
stars It Girl Susan Blake. But more importantly, he’s on hand to keep a
protective eye on Susan, who’s being harassed by a disturbing
But that’s not all that starts to turn Jack’s
world upside-down. When a five-year-old girl is shot dead in her
family’s living room, just blocks from where the movie is being filmed,
Jack realizes there are threads connecting the movie, the murder, a
brutal gang of brothers, and a terrifying body count.
Will Jack be able to find justice for the young girl and keep Susan safe? Or will this be his last and fatal trip to Hollywood?
Dead is Dead is the third book in the Jack Bertolino series and was just as interesting as the first two books. This book is pretty much action from start to finish, yet the story is pretty darn good as well.
The ironic part of this book is that Jack is a bodyguard and technical advisor on a film that is based on one of his old cases, and stars the new 'it' girl Susan. She's being harassed by an ex-stalked who has followed her from New York to Hollywood to continue his harassment. I wasn't sure what to think about Susan from the get-go, and even as I learned her story, I'm still not sure what to think. I am glad however, the author did not go into too many details regarding her past, especially descriptive details, as it was pretty horrible, and there are some things I would rather not picture nor read about anywhere. While learning her story made me more sympathetic towards her, I definitely did not want her in Jack's life as I have formed a kind of attachment to the idea of Jack and Leslie still getting together one day.
We know who the killer is right from the beginning, and while that usually bothers me, this wasn't a murder / mystery novel, but a suspense novel, so the dual story lines worked rather well. What did confuse me was Toby's motivation for the murders; yes, we got the rather mundane and predictable one about the girlfriend and the love triangle, but it didn't make sense to me that someone like Toby would risk the lives of his family to a drug cartel simply for revenge killings. I kept waiting for something more, something bigger, but I was to be disappointed. But then again, sometimes the unexpected happens for a reason, and while the motive might have been simple, the result definitely escalated out of Toby's hand by a ricocheting bullet that killed a five-year-old girl, inflaming the city and setting the cops, and Jack, on his tail. The result being a series of murders to cover up the initial crime reminding me of a kid who tells a little lie, only to have to keep lying to cover up the initial lie, until it all blows up in one's face. The only problem in this scenario is the person doing the killing would get the death penalty if caught. For whatever reason, I wasn't really sympathetic to Toby's plight as there was something cold and unlikable about him; I did like Terrence and Sean better but you also didn't get to read their POVs as often so that is probably why they seemed more likable. They seemed to know when to draw the line a bit better.
Dead is Dead is a fast-paced, riveting story that draws the reader in very quickly and doesn't really let go until the last page. Even though you know the killer's identity, the story still twists and turns as you follow Jack's footsteps behind the killer's as he tries to stop him before he hurts anyone else. I love the characters in these books, and the humour definitely helps relieve the tension as it slowly builds to its end. Sometimes though, the focus is too much on the action and not enough on character development; I think there is a fine balance and it would be too easy to get carried away with crazier and crazier action to the point where character development could suffer. I definitely recommend this novel to anyone interested in fast-paced and exciting stories.
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