Review: Kick by John L. Monk

kick

This is the first in a series where I talk about some of the best books that I’ve discovered and read in 2014.

Earlier this year, one of my favorite authors, Linda Welch, did a post on her blog about a book by John L Monk called Kick. John Monk was a delightful interviewee with a sense of humor and I know Linda has great taste in books, so I bought the book.

Well! I devoured the book, tracked Mr. Monk down on Twitter and basically said, “Please, sir, may I have some more?” In fact, I have to confess, several times, I have actually tried to sit down and write a review. But, every time I would start to skim over the book for talking points for a review, I’d find myself re-reading the whole book all over again. Yeah, it is that good.  So this time, I am just going to jump in from memory and not tempt fate.

The book is about a dead guy by the name of Dan Jenkins who takes over and “rides” the bodies of serial killers. There are a few rules: he has to stop the killers from hurting anyone and at some point, Dan gets kicked out of the killer’s body. In exchange, Dan gets to live for a bit in the body he is riding.  Who Dan is and how the rules get changed in the middle of the game are part of the mystery (and the fun) of this book.

Understandably, Dexter and Quantum Leap seem to come up a lot when people review this book. But that doesn’t mean that you can oversimplify this book and sum it up as Sam leaps into Dexter. John L Monk is an exceptional writer and there is a lot of subtlety and nuance in this story.

Several things made this book totally amazing. Dan Jenkins’ character was so solid, so interesting and very easy to relate to.  He had a moral center but he wasn’t always a nice guy. Sometimes he was whiny and sometimes he was an ass. Sometimes, he tried so hard to do the right thing that my heart ached.  Tight writing kept Dan Jenkins’ voice strong, clear throughout the entire book. No matter where Dan was, or whatever body he was in, we never allowed to lose sight of his character. And because of the nature of  Jenkins’ circumstances, the conflicts that arose were really believable. That made it impossible to predict where the plot was going, which of course, made this book a lot of fun to read.

And did I mention that this was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award manuscript ? This is definitely a book worth reading!

It turns out that the very talented Mr. Monk has now written the sequel, Fool’s Ride (The Jenkins Cycle Book 2). You can find out more at John’s website, john-l-monk.com or follow him on Facebook.  John is also on Twitter as @johnlmonk and has been known to occasionally haunt Goodreads. 🙂

This is a tough novel to categorize. Fantasy? Paranormal Mystery? Thriller? Suspense? Let me know where you think it belongs in the comments!