Thursday, February 28, 2013

Review of "Resolve" [21]

Resolve by J.J. Hensley 
ISBN 978-1579623135, Permanent Press
March 15, 2013, 248 pages

"In the Pittsburgh Marathon, 18,000 people from all over the world will participate...and one man is going to be murdered.

When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows who is going to die for one simple reason. He's going to kill them.

As a professor of Criminology at Three Rivers University, and a former police officer, Dr. Cyprus Keller is an expert in criminal behavior and victimology. However, when one of his female students is murdered and his graduate assistant attempts to kill him, Keller finds himself frantically swinging back and forth between being a suspect and a victim. When the police assign a motive to the crimes that Keller knows cannot be true, he begins to ask questions that somebody out there does not want answered.

In the course of 26.2 miles, Keller recounts how he found himself encircled by a series of killings that have shocked the city, while literally pursuing his prey - the man who was behind it all."

I must say, when I read that summery, I was a little concerned.
Can you like a book where the narrator, the good guy, the 'hero' is also a murderer?
Well, I am here to tell you that you can.

Now, I will admit that this book got off to a slow start for me. I am not sure why. Maybe because I have zero interest in marathon running, and the marathon that Cyprus Keller is running is at the heart of this book, each of the 26.2 miles providing the structure for the 26.2 chapters of the book.
But then you start to get to know Cyprus, as he tells us how it came to this point and he becomes a very likable, very sympathetic character. And you get very caught up in figuring out the mystery.

Of course, the mystery is not who will commit this murder..we know that.
We know the where and the when. We even know, at least in part, the why, the murdered student, the attacking graduate student. But the real why, why Cyprus feels he must take this action, and most of all the who, is what we must figure out.

I liked the structure of the book, the 26.2 chapters, giving a very clear path, a real sense of heading toward this final act of Cyprus and seeing what the outcome will be. Publishers Weekly called it 'artfully constructed', and I must agree.
Cyprus is a great character, funny, interesting, smart, not what you might first think of when you think of a college professor. And his wife, Kaitlyn, a psychologist, is a worthy companion on this journey. Not the run. No, her role is a bit more behind the scene but vitally important. And I love the setting in Pittsburgh, which we will get to find out quite a bit about as Cyprus narrators his run.

It is not a huge book, which is a good thing. It gets to the point and moves along at a snappy pace, with little excess wandering. No, a marathon must stay on the planned route and this book indeed does.

My thanks to Library Thing and the publisher for providing a copy of this book for review.


  1. I have to admit the summary doesn't appeal to me!

    1. yes, well, then it does not do the book justice. really. lol

  2. Thanks for the review. Need to put it on my to read list.

  3. I actually like books where the motive is revealed slowly. This sounds interesting.


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