Two freeway serial killers meet at a truckstop in rural Wisconsin. One has a fetish for eating his victims’ toes. The other likes to feed their own faces to them. When these two realize who the other is, it’s a wary fanboy moment. And it just so happens one of them has a victim already trussed up and ready to kill in his sleeper cab.
Then along comes Lt. Jacquelyn “Jack” Daniels, Chicago Homicide and on vacation. Seems Jack made a wrong turn on her way to boyfriend Lathan’s cabin in the woods and is now three hours way on the wrong highway. She pulls into the truckstop where our two intrepid fiends are getting ready to do their deed. They recognize Jack. She’s the one who’s killed off several serial killers. To eat the toes of the legendary Jack Daniels and feed her own face to her would be a coup for these two. Trouble for them is that Jack’s dealt with their type before, and she is not in the mood.
Truckstop has all the usual gory goodness one expects from JA Konrath, who is also his own co-author, Jack Kilborne. However, there are only so many dismembering, ritualistic killers you can go after before even horrific death gets to be routine. Jack sounds tired in this one, and that’s a shame. Konrath’s earlier books were fun romps, a darker, more violent version of Stephanie Plum (only with a protag with a much higher IQ.)
On the upside, this book is short. I bring this up not because it’s mercifully short. (If anything, I wanted it to be a little longer.) I bring this up because Konrath, the original Kindle apologist, has hit on one of modern ebooks’ strengths. Truckstop is a novella. Without the need to produce a minimum of 60,000 words for a print novel, he can sell this without having to find a magazine to serialize it. For crime fiction, a novella outlet has been long overdue since long before I got into writing.