Jack and the New York Death MaskBook - 2011
This book is the source for Jack Handler's notorious "Inscrutable Puzzle." It is introduced in the latter chapters and has never been solved, even after publication of the sixth book in the series. It is a puzzle that would make Alan Turing proud.
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Nothing else can hurt this calloused retired Chicago homicide detective (or so he thinks), not after he lost his beautiful young Beth to bullets meant for him nearly 30 years ago. But when Jack's cell phone vibrates at 5:30 a.m. on Christmas morning, little could he have predicted the challenges that lurked.
Kate, Jack's daughter (herself a NY homicide detective), enlists his help on a murder case she is working. The intrigue compounds when he learns her case is intricately entwined with a plot to assassinate a sitting President, and that a former first lady is one of the conspirators.
But the situation only gets worse with Jack's involvement, as it leads to a group of foreign agents kidnapping Kate in order to coerce Jack's bidding. He must then balance his focus between rescuing his daughter, and preventing the assassination.
If that were not complicated enough, the conspirators attempt to contract Jack for the hit.
The story unfolds on the streets of New York City, with visits to Upstate New York, DC, and Chicago.
This is what one reader had to say:
"Jack and the New York Death Mask" is Scary Good
This book reminds me of what "House of Cards" would look like if Tom Clancy had written it. The story is told that some of Clancy's books drew the ire of military and government officials because they assumed that the writer had managed to get his hands on inside or classified information, an accusation that Clancy vehemently denied at the time. Recent blog posts and articles (conspiracy theorists?) however suggest that the claims about Clancy's inside sources might have had some merit.
In "Jack and the New York Death Mask" Allison's assassination plot against a sitting president is downright frightening on a couple levels. It is scary to think that people in power, or who would like to be in power, might stoop to the levels depicted by Carrier. God help us if that ever became the case. It is also frightening to consider the details of the plan that Carrier describes. I loved this book because it made me think. It scared my socks off, but it did make me think. If this ever becomes a movie I hope that every so often Jack will glance over at the camera the way Kevin Spacey does in "House of Cards," and make me feel better about the whole thing.
One of the Amazon reviewers calls Michael Carrier "the next Grissom." Initially I thought he was referring to John Gresham. I didn't understand that comparison. I'm sure he was referring to James Grissom, the "Law and Order" and "Trial by Jury" writer. That makes better sense. But in my thinking, Carrier's writing reminds me more of a not-so-polished Tom Clancy. Actually, I think it is unfair to compare one writer to another--no matter how complimentary the comparison. Writers and their books must be evaluated on their own merits, not how they stack up against arbitrary standards. What might seem to be a flaw to a Michael Connelly fan, might be thought charming by a Baldacci reader. If a book moves me, then to me that is a good book. I think "Jack and the New York Death Mask" is a good book. It made me think. ---Michaele Michaels