“The Heartless” is book seven in the Bruno Johnson series, but Johnson’s first person narrative tells readers everything they need to know. Johnson describes the action, recounts what individuals say; and shares thoughts, questions, and fears about people and events. The conversational style is realistic and revealing, and yet casual and friendly, as if he is talking to a friend. Alternate chapters describe events from other perspectives. Johnson’s reputation in law enforcement is well known, and his methods are unconventional to say the least, however, he gets the job done.
Contextual information fills in the two main story lines; one revolves around a high profile murder trial of defendant Louis Borkow and his subsequent escape from Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles. The second thread centers on Johnson and his stormy relationship with his fifteen-year-old daughter Olivia. He wants to protect her forever, and she is growing up. The two storylines intersect in an unanticipated way, and normal lives deteriorate into chaos and confusion. Things get exponentially worse as the story unfolds.
“The Heartless” is a tale of emotional unraveling. It is gritty, raw, and realistic. The pace is frantic with events taking place over just a few days. The clock ticks; everything becomes frantic, and yes, it ends with a giant surprise. I was given a review copy of “The Heartless” by David Putnam and Oceanview Publishing. The strength of Putnam’s account is his interpretation of things that actually happened, so be sure to read the author’s notes at the end.