By Jack Kilborn
Grand Central Publishing (March 31, 2009)
Paperback, 384 pages
Safe Haven, Wisconsin is under siege, and the war on terror has come home to Midwestern America. This sleepy rural Wisconsin town-on-a-lake is the perfect place to live out your quiet retirement, or die trying. There is only one road in, so when a helicopter crashes and that road is blockaded, the evil that has been unleashed is going to go unchecked unless the local talent can somehow prevail.
We meet several appealing characters including the town sheriff, a firefighter, the single mom and her son, the son’s dog, and of course a cross-section of local villagers. But there is mayhem loose and death is a welcome alternative to what lies in store: a nemesis that relentlessly stalks and toys with the all too human prey. The horror seems superhuman, and figuring out what makes the enemy tick is part of the puzzle that needs to be solved for the good guys to prevail.
Kilborn has written a masterful horror story, and he has put the “terror” back in terrorist. Filled with so much adrenaline and suspense you will need to take a time out, this book is in your face with menace and gruesome peril. The book is well over 2/3 through before the reader begins to feel there is a chance this won’t all end very badly. More accurately, by then you have likely come to believe that the menace is unstoppable, or at least un-killable. While you do root for the townsfolk, you soon begin to suspect that your team is going to lose, and lose big.
I really enjoyed this first book by Jack Kilborn. Kilborn, is also JA Konrath, who is a very funny, accomplished and talented mystery writer. When you read his Jack Daniels Mystery series, you come to expect an irreverent humor that provides a break from the darker mystery plots. But under the new pen name, Kilborn gives the reader no such relief. Don’t expect any comedy. Don’t expect any relief. You won’t get any relief until you take a plane out of Safe Haven. If you like your thrillers with more kills than thrills, and you do not have a weak stomach, then you will be consumed by this suspenseful book.