The streets of Chicago, never the safest venue for a stroll after dark, have become immeasurably more unsafe since the Gingerbread Man committed the first in a series of brutal murders. Lieutenant Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels is among the first on the scene: "There were four black-and-whites already at the 7-Eleven when I arrived. Several people had gathered in the parking lot behind the yellow police tape, huddling close for protection against the freezing Chicago rain. They weren't there for the Slurpees. I parked my 1986 Nova on the street and hung my star around my neck on a cord. The radio was full of chatter about the lasagna on Monroe and Dearborn,' so I knew this was going to be an ugly one." Thus begins J.A. Konrath's Whiskey Sour, easily one of the best debut suspense novels of recent years. Daniels fits the mold of the smart-alecky cop, no doubt, but there is a romantic and vulnerable side to her character as well. In the early stages of the narrative, she finds that her boyfriend has left her for his personal trainer, so she reluctantly enrolls with a video dating service (with disastrous results, I might add). If humor is your bag, there are, well, bags of it. Daniels fields an ongoing rivalry with FBI profilers, who have identified the Gingerbread Man as a blue-collar right-handed truck-driving alcoholic who wears women's underwear (possibly his mother's) and enjoys line dancing. Oh, and he may have curvature of the spine. ("Is that a hunch?" asks Daniels innocently.) Fast action, involving characters, twists galore bring on the sequel!

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