Friday, December 7, 2007

All the Dead Fathers – David J. Walker

© 2005, St. Martin’s Minotaur, New York

Occasionally there’s an author that makes you say, “Hey, this guy’s good. Why haven’t more people been reading his work?” They have a style that is readable and engaging without being overly pushy with their story. One such unassuming writer is David J. Walker. This isn’t to say that Walker’s not been noticed. His first Mal Foley novel, Fixed in His Folly, was nominated for the coveted Edgar award. Even so, it seems not enough people are talking about this talented ex-priest, ex-investigator, ex-lawyer (if you can ex- out of any of those careers to be a writer). Even I haven’t given any time to him here. Well, now that’s about to end.

Kirsten is an ex-cop turned private eye who loves her lawyer husband. She is the owner/operator of the Wild Onion, Ltd. private investigation firm of Chicago. Her latest case is one brought to her by her uncle, the priest. Fathers who have been listed in the paper as being accused (if not convicted) of child molestation are being brutally murdered one by one. Michael, the uncle, is on the list and that brings a lot of back-story baggage to the novel. Walker makes it work.

Kirsten hires on to provide “protection” for those left on the list (especially those who are appealing their cases to Rome and living for the duration at the Villa St. George monastery). Interspersed with chapters that focus on the killer who has a history of their own that includes priests and Kirsten, Walker weaves a story that hooks you and makes you want to read—on into the night.

All the Dead Fathers is not your run-of-the-mill, weepy-eyed, politically correct whodunit. Nor is it your normal offering of the hardboiled variety. Here you will find all the grit and gnarled justice of a hardboiled detective story mixed with the emotion of a high-powered mystery novel. No major twists and turns, just good reading. Those who are offended by hard language will be offended, but the language is not a distraction to the story itself. It’s time to give David J. Walker his due, and I give All the Dead Fathers five full sets of reading glasses.

—Benjamin Potter, December 7, 2007

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