Sunday, February 5, 2017

Unpunished: A Gardiner and Renner Thriller

Welcome!  The beginning of a new week.  I spent my Sunday doing errands.  The dogs were out of dog food and treats (they get testy when they are out of treats).  I also had to stop by the hardware store.  I needed toggle bolts for a shelf.  I did not realize how many different types of bolts and anchors there were for hanging shelves. And each one comes in different sizes.  My father used to purchase them (while I explored the nearby craft store).  I purchased three different types and am hopeful that one will do the trick!

Unpunished by Lisa Black is the second book in A Gardiner and Renner Thriller series.  Maggie Gardiner is called out to the death of a copy editor at the Cleveland Herald.   Robert Davis was found strung up from the printing tower platform.  When the victim is brought down, it is obvious that Davis was murdered.  Detective Jack Renner and his partner, Riley are assigned the case.  Things are a little awkward between Maggie and Jack since Maggie discovered Jack’s secret (in That Darkness). Maggie collects the forensics while Jack starts questioning newspaper employees.  Soon, though, a second victim is found strung up in his living room.  Jerry Wilton, Director of Advertising, for the Cleveland Herald was also strangled.  Unfortunately, the killer took things one step further with Wilton (it is gruesome).  It looks like someone is targeting employees of the Herald.  Then Stephanie Davis, Robert’s wife, is found murdered.  What did she stumble across in her husband’s belongings?  Whatever Stephanie had discovered about her husband, it got her killed.  Will Maggie and Jack be able to find the killer before there is another casualty. 

I had high hopes for Unpunished after reading That Darkness (the first book in the series).  I like Jack Renner and Maggie Gardiner.  They have such potential as main characters.  Unfortunately, Lisa Black did not bring them to life in Unpunished.  Maggie did find out more about Jack in this book (which I liked).  But, the relationship between Maggie and Jack did not have any spark.  I found Unpunished to extremely slow paced.  The author put in too many details about the newspaper industry.  The book felt more like a monologue about how real newspapers are dying out and are being replaced by digital papers that focus on celebrity gossip (there was more, but I started skipping pages at this point).  We also find out how newspapers are run and published (which makes for a very dull mystery novel).  I give Unpunished 2 out of 5 stars.  The book did not have any suspense, and the killer can be identified early in the story.  The author did provide good clues (if you pay very close attention).  Unpunished fell short of its potential.  If you do read Unpunished, I recommend reading That Darkness first.  It gives you necessary background details on the characters and the relationship between Jack and Maggie.

I am off to eat dinner and watch Mercy Street and Victoria (on PBS).  I hope you have an uneventful evening (the best kind).  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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