Review by Manali_DC -- The Embalmer by Vincent Zandri

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Review by Manali_DC -- The Embalmer by Vincent Zandri

Post by Manali_DC » 19 Sep 2018, 12:19

[Following is a volunteer review of "The Embalmer" by Vincent Zandri.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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The Embalmer by Vincent Zandri is a crime thriller, detective novel. A serial killer is loose on the streets of Albany, New York. His target, young women picked up from online dating sites, but it is his chilling modus operandi that earns him the title of "Embalmer"! He embalms his victims while they are still alive and then arranges the bodies in public places in life-like poses!

Enter the unlikeliest detective you could think of - Steve Jobz, a former cop now working a desk job at the Unemployment Insurance Fraud Agency. He is tired of his life, thinks his job is mind-numbingly boring and can't help feeling he was dealt a poor turn when he lost his job as a cop for something which was not his fault. To make matters worse, his name is Steve Jobz - and no matter how many times he explains that it is spelled with a 'Z' and as such should draw no comparison with the other Steve Jobs, the jokes never stop.

When the chief police detective assigned to the case, Detective Miller, asks Jobz to help in the investigation, he is more than ready to take up the offer. Firstly because it allows him to escape his four by four cubicle and secondly because this is what he had always wanted to do, why he had become a cop in the first place. Detective Miller had clues which suggested that Steve Jobz's current job at Unemployment Insurance Fraud gave him access to information which would help trace the killer. Together, Detective Miller and Steve Jobz try to piece together the puzzle and decipher the psyche of the 'Embalmer'.

A fast-paced, engrossing whodunnit, the story kept me hooked right till the end. However, I was a little disappointed with the conclusion. The crime is an attention grabber - after all, the women are all embalmed alive - and the murderer sounds like a true psychopath. Detective Miller and Steve Jobz make a good and likable pair of detectives. However, for all the build-up, the clues were a little too straightforward and they get to the killer a little too easily, almost accidentally.

The most appealing part of the book is the characters. Each and every character is very well written. A special mention for Henrietta, Steve Jobz's boss - their friendship and their humorous banter provides the comic relief and human touch to the story. But Steve Jobz is the reason I give this book 3 out of 4 stars instead of 2 out of 4. Stuck in the mind-numbing boredom of a job he did not want and cannot leave, stuck with a name that just highlights the incredibly ordinary circumstances of his life, his terrible social skills with women, he is a man who does not know where his life is headed. And then this case comes along, and all his dormant instincts start buzzing and he realizes that the cop in him is still alive somewhere.

I would like to see Steve Jobz in another story or preferably a Steve Jobz series. The title of the book does say that The Embalmer is A Steve Jobz PI Thriller No. 1, so maybe we can expect the next in the series soon. I recommend this book to all crime fiction readers. This book will keep you hooked to its pages.

The Embalmer
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