Pros: Intriguing story.
Cons: Characters so annoying, it was hard to care about them.
Kill The Messenger by Tami Hoag has some good stuff in it, and some bad stuff. It has a fairly interesting story, but it's loaded with characters that I really wanted to slap.
Jace is a bicycle messenger on the busy LA streets. He works hard trying to earn money to support himself and his 10 year old brother. One night he takes a late call to pick up a package from a lawyer. But when he arrives at the drop off point, he finds it's an empty lot. Worse, someone tries to kill him! Barely escaping with his life, he realizes that the killers must have been after the contents of the package. Later he finds out the lawyer who called for the messenger has been murdered. Now here's where some stupidity comes in. If all of this happened to me, I'd head straight for the police. I'd tell them what happened, and give them the package, and let them deal with the situation. But Jace doesn't do that. He has to handle this on his own, in his own way. As a result, more bodies pile up, and Jace's own life will be placed in danger multiple times.
Now, I suppose, there wouldn't have been much of a book if Jace simply went to the police. And Ms. Hoag tries to paint Jace's background in such a way that we'll understand his reluctance to trust authority figures. But to be honest, it never worked for me. I never bought into Jace's fear of the police. The entire time I just wanted to slap him, for being so selfish, and putting so many other innocent people in danger!
Then there's Jace's younger brother Tyler. A 10 year old genius with an I.Q. of 168. How do I know his exact I.Q.? Because he tells us. Over and over again. He must have said it 10 different times, to 10 different people. OK, the kid's smart. We get it. We don't need to hear him bragging about it over and over again. That was really annoying!
I did like the main investigator, Kev Parker. He's had a rough past, but he still has a great big heart. I loved how well he interacted with Tyler, when the two of them teamed up, trying to find Jace. And later, when he finds out that people he thought he knew weren't at all what they seemed to be, he handled those situations with grace, too.
On the other hand, I hated his new trainee, Ruiz. She's obnoxious, incompetent, and just a general pain in the neck. (And that's putting it nicely). How she ever got accepted into the police internship program is beyond me. I suppose her character was added to give Kev a sparring partner, someone with whom he can exchange barbs, but I didn't care for those dialogues at all.
The story, however, was definitely intriguing. It gets rather complex, with many players, and many threads. But it all comes together in the end, with a full explanation for everything that took place. Overall, this was an enjoyable book, that held my interest. But it definitely could have been better.
Also by Tami Hoag:
Deeper Than The Dead
Guilty As Sin