The Tiger Always Eats Last

by Joel Mark Harris
December 2015 Kindle Edition

I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review.

Journalist John Webster is waiting in the crowd at a sporting event when an hockey super-star is shot down right in front of him. Because he had been on embedded journalist in Iraq and Afghanistan, he realizes the assailant had to be a highly trained sniper, probably ex military. Because of this prior experience, he is emotionally drawn into the investigation. As the investigation proceeds, we come to find out that Webster’s girlfriend, Detective Cherie Killian, is the officer in charge of the case. The two have been downplaying their romantic relationship. Now, due to John’s combat expertise, Cherie allows him to participate in the investigation. This inevitably begins to erode their relationship as the two have decidedly differing styles of investigation.

As the seemingly random executions continue, so too do the fractures in their relationship and soon it seems that John will have to choose between stopping a serial killer and the chance for a happy home life. Then an entire family is killed by the perpetrator who can seemingly vanish into thin air. As Cherie’s long-time partner becomes a victim and those close to John become targets, it becomes obvious to John that he is the only one who can stop the slaughter.

The story is interesting enough although the character development could use some help. Both John and Cherie go through their bouts of juvenile behavior and you don’t really
have a clear picture of them or their relationship. Both characters are prone to inconsistent behavior. John oscillates from doing anything to get the story to being ultra cautious. At times he seems a total ass (being the one to tell the wife of her husband’s murder) and in the next totally likable. The same is true for Cherie. At times she is totally unprofessional, at others hyper competent. There is plenty of action in the story and also some unexpected twists to keep things interesting.

I personally had a great deal of trouble with this book. Not so much with the story line, although parts required a definite “suspension of disbelief”. The biggest problem for me was technical. Let me make it clear. This book could have used the hell out of a good proofreader and/or editor. The spelling errors are unforgivable. Install Grammarly. Install Hemmingway. Use Word. If there was a Beta reader, they didn’t do their job! There were many instances where I go back and read a page several times if only to be sure I read what I though I read. As an example in one paragraph discussing Cherie’s teen-aged daughter I read “She told him about his daughter”. Because John had a son, I wasn’t quite sure what was meant. Maybe it’s because I was once an English teacher, but errors like this throw me completely out of the narrative. There are many such examples of possessive pronoun mismatches in the book. A run through “Hemmingway” would have caught this. The formatting was pretty bad as well with indentations in the middle of paragraphs. For that reason, I deducted two stars. I look forward to the next book to see if things improve.

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