“The Good Killer” opens with a chilling narrative. Grammar and sentence construction with a present tense narrative, brief details, and clipped conversations create a mysterious, tense, and chaotic atmosphere. Characters meet at the mall, the encounters appear unorganized and frantic, and then, the shooting. There is a killer on the run, a good guy with a gun.
An unusual narrative takes shape. There is danger on every front from the hunter, the hunted, and the pursuer of both. Jumbles of people from low-level hoodlums to law enforcement personnel are all after the same individuals: Molly and Sean. There are however, many people do not want them caught.
Dolan creates complex and genuine characters with abundant backstories, and none are exactly who they appear to be at first glance. Each narrative is labeled with name of principal character to help readers identify the point of view of the episode. Molly is flying to Montana for a retreat on a ranch with yoga, meditation, and riding horses, and Sean is driving her to the airport. Then there is Cole; Sean talks to Cole, takes his advice, looks to him for direction, but Cole died years ago. Cole is the past that haunts Sean’s present.
There are also the cylinder seals, pieces of ancient stone, artifacts that if Sean had a clear legal title, might sell at auction for millions of dollars. They are just stone, but they are worth so much, so full of history, have so much impact. Sean wonders what might have happened if not for those stones. “The Good Killer” proceeds in a careful, systematic way with a slow accumulation of facts, and then unexpectedly takes readers somewhere else. I received a review copy of “The Good Killer” from Harry Dolan, Mysterious Press, and Ingram Publishing Services. The characters are flawed but compelling and likeable. It is a strange case with twists and surprises at every turn. It has trauma, drama, and death but a satisfying end