Tabloids & Cannibalism

HACK hawks hilarious grue in quirky crime story

HACK

AUTHOR: Kieran Crowley

PLOT: Tabloid reporter unravels cannibal killings

4-Knives1/2

IMHO:

HACK is as dark and gritty as it is funny. It takes a fine crime author to pull that off, and apparently Kieran Crowley is just such an author.

HACK is totally a hard-boiled masterpiece but it has a razor-sharp tongue stuck through its cheek. With insane plot points involving cannibalism and reality TV hosts, there’s lots here to be grim about – and to grin about.

F.X. Shephard is feeling out his brand new job as a pet columnist at a rather yellow rag – a tabloid, to be specific. But a botched assignation of a story to the pet columnist, rather than the crime writer, has Shephard in over his head, or so it seems. A snarling dog guarding one of its owners – found dead and missing a buttock, eaten, as it turns out – sets the scene for a crazy string of kills with a suspect who is the obvious killer, but also an obvious red herring. So which is it?

With a sexy veterinarian, a feisty competing reporter, a surprising military past on Shephard’s part, a yipping dog, and an unsavory variety of meat-eating (not to mention a breath mint clue at crime scenes), the columnist-turned-crime writer slash mystery-solver has a big, heaping plate full of stuff to deal with.

And deal with it he does. With a strange mix of aw-shucks attitude and ex-military skills, Shephard maneuvers his way through treachery and headlines in his effort to sort through the facts and get at the truth. Everybody is a potential enemy, with clues pointing this way and that. Shephard runs the gamut of quirky characters and black humor, yanking the reader through the ride with him.

Crowley’s splendid and rather satirical crime novel speaks with a uniquely engaging voice, ratcheting up suspense and laughs simultaneously and even tossing in some sexy shenanigans. HACK is a must read for crime and mystery fans, as well as those fascinated with tabloid journalism (I’m all of this, having worked at a newspaper, albeit not tabloid, for a decade).

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