Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Book Review: 'Double Blind' by Dan Alatorre

Florida author Dan Alatorre was born in Ohio, and graduated from the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida before earning an MBA from Tampa College. He is famous for his many book s that deal with humor and food and for some short stories in anthologies that fall into the mystery/horror category. It is rewarding to see how now he visits the full-length mystery novel DOUBLE BLIND and is as successful with serious tales as he is with humor.

As with all his books, Dan jumps in with an explosive start that pulls his readers in immediately. For example, he opens this book with the following – ‘The killer clutched and re-clutched the big knife, his heart pounding as he eyed his prey. Twenty feet away, a lone, paunchy truck driver, his shirt wet with sweat, wheeled a third dolly of boxes onto a desolate loading dock. In the distance, past the dark warehouses and empty train cars, a boat horn blared. It cut through the foggy night, signaling another departure from the Port of Tampa. Maybe tourists heading to the Caribbean, maybe car parts heading to Mexico. The killer didn’t care. What concerned him as he crouched behind the warehouse dumpster at McClain Oil was his first victim—and how he would proceed with the murder. His .38 would do the job the fastest, but the noise might attract attention. He glanced around. There was not another soul on 22nd Street. But a gun was less satisfying. He’d learned that with raccoons and stray dogs. And you never know; some brown-noser accountant might be working late in one of the warehouse offices. No, it needed to be the knife. He wanted it to be the knife. He lifted it and gazed at its long, serrated blade, flipping it to admire the smoother, sharper other side. The honed edge glinted in the warehouse lights. Through his latex gloves, he gripped its thick hilt and ran his thumb along the small metal hand guard. Beautiful craftsmanship in such a large knife. Using the knife would be more . . . personal. He’d feel the blade go in, piercing the trucker’s shirt, sliding through the soft fat and dense organs; then he’d feel the warm, thick wetness of the blood. Bliss. The very thought of it made him shudder in anticipation. He licked his lips, peering over the edge of the rusty blue garbage bin. With some effort, the truck driver bent and slid the dolly from under the boxes, pausing to wipe his brow. He pulled a cell phone from his back pocket, his considerable belly heaving as he pressed the button. With each passing minute, the killer’s hate of this man—this stranger—grew, intensifying into a rage so he could summon the courage to go through with his plan. He needed to hate this man, to despise this stranger enough to kill him, stabbing and stabbing—and then instantly switch it off . . . and enjoy the bliss. The serenity, as the trucker kicked and clawed, fighting for his fading life.’

The synopsis provides a map of the tale – ‘Two detectives hunt a serial killer. The killer's hunting them. A lone trucker is ambushed, shot, and brutally stabbed. A tourist meets the same fate while out for a jog. Facing two crime scenes that could have come from a horror movie, Detectives Carly Sanderson and Sergio Martin search for the crazed serial killer. Five more attacks happen in a week, launching the entire city into a panic and causing the mayor to throw all of the city’s resources into stopping the rampage. But while the detectives work around the clock, they don’t know the killer has upped the game—by making them his next targets.’

And so Dan Alatorre proves he is as successful with writing mysteries as he is with all the other categories of books that are best sellers. This is a griping story - and he includes a woman sleuth! Grady Harp, November 18

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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