Writing in a whole new genre can be a huge gamble for an author. Will people like it, will people hate it, am I making a mistake… All those questions, I’m sure, Christine Gael asked herself prior to publishing Lucky Break, her first thriller and the first of the Lucky Strickland series.
No need to worry, for this first thriller was, simply, excellent, gripping and, at times, blood curling (or stomach churning, I’m not sure).
What the book is about
When an abstract sculpture made from human body parts shows up in front of the Museum of Modern Art, NYC homicide detective Lucky Strickland and her partner are called in to catch the killer…
Little do they know that this murder is only the opening gambit of a madman hellbent on revenge. The sweltering city streets become a killing field as a new body is discovered on another block each day, with no end in sight. Can this psychopath be stopped before he reaches the end game, or has Lucky’s luck just run out?
In the ways of the greats
Christine Gael is an accomplished author whose storytelling manages to convey her characters’ emotions and lives in a way that makes the readers feel right at home with everyone. The new genre does not change that. In fact, the pace of the thriller genre only serves to enhance Gael’s fantastic storytelling, making us fear and hope with Lucky and ‘Los, break with George, rage with Abby, and even understand the killer’s psyche in great detail.
For this is not a “who did it” type of thriller, but rather a race against the clock to figure out his end game and apprehend him before he commits more of his gruesome crimes. And herein lies the big surprise, in the angle set by the author to put us on the murderer’s path, one that nearly pushed me out of a seat whose edge I was already sitting on.
In this, Lucky Break is in the ways of the greats, in the spirit of some of my favourite thriller and murder mystery novels, with a vibe that I hadn’t felt in that specific way since I had first started to read David Hewson’s Nic Costa books, many years ago, with that same sense of family unit inside a police partnership. Because just like I did, then, with Nic and Peroni, I entered Lucky’s and ‘Los’s partnership seamlessly, and saw how two people can become a family outside of their respective families, with the laughs and, yes, the tears which come with it.
Not for the faint of stomach
The first thing that I need to warn about is the only thing I need to warn about: this book is not for the faint of stomach!
The descriptions are, at times, excruciatingly vivid, making the reader see, feel, smell every single thing going on in the book, from everyone’s point of view, including the victims’. Ergo the churning stomach.
No, this is not a complaint. All the contrary! Rare are the authors who make me turn green with their descriptions, and this book enters this rare category.
I admit to feeling bad about taking so long to read the book, but work and some ARCs got in the way of a novel I would’ve normally read in one sitting. However, this only served to make me devour it the moment I was able to, and now makes me anticipate Getting Lucky, which was set to come out on the 19th of April, but was delayed until the 19th of May, with great anticipation of renewed mystery pleasure.
If Lucky Strickland is Christine Gael’s first thriller series, I can only hope that it will be her first of many!
A deserved five stars! ✰✰✰✰✰