Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Impaler

The Impaler is the second book by Gregory Funaro and is a prequel of sorts to The Sculptor, which I was privileged to read and review earlier this year. I say, "prequel" merely because it takes place about three years prior to the events of The Sculptor and features FBI agent Sam Markham. But otherwise this is very much a stand-alone book and the reader does not need to read one to appreciate the other.

Wow, what a novel! I've read thrillers of all sorts for over 10 years and have learned to spot the winners from the also-rans. Gregory Funaro writes winners and this one is truly a gem in this crowded field. The plot concerns the above mentioned FBI agent and his journey to catch a serial killer. Sounds like a million other plots out there but that is just about all that is "normal" about this novel. It's not your typical thriller plot of "killer commits crime; sleuth spends two thirds of novel finding clues; sleuth closes in on killer; sleuth catches/kills killer after nearly blowing it." Instead this is a very intricate plot with multiple layers to the main characters and is not at all predictable.

And it's an absolute page turner. I finished the last 200 pages in one sitting because I just had to keep going.

I think what truly sets this novel apart is the depth of characterization the author brings to the bad guy. In his first novel, The Sculptor, Mr. Funaro does an incredible job with developing the bad guy character but in this one, he truly goes above and beyond. We get to experience the Impaler's very life from childhood to present day from his point of view and, indeed, he almost becomes a protagonist himself. And this is one baaad dude. For a reader to feel like they understand him and his motivations, despite his nature, (like I did) is a great feat for a writer to pull off.

I will say that this novel is not for the faint of heart. There are lots of bloody, violent scenes, horrifying even in their detail but it is absolutely necessary to portray the events realistically. The pacing of the book is awesome; a lot happens but the furious pace is interspersed with excellent back-story building and scene setting. Much as I thought his first novel was fantastic for a new author, this one proves Gregory Funaro deserves to stand with the great writers of the genre.  This book is due to be published in the US in February 2011.

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Top 10 Books in no particular order (Well Known Authors)

  • "The Stand" by Stephen King
  • "Kane and Able" by Jeffrey Archer
  • "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
  • "The Dark Elf Trilogy" by RA Salvatore
  • "Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss
  • "River God" by Wilbur Smith
  • "Mortalis" by RA Salvatore
  • "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
  • "Centennial" by James A Michener
  • "The Repairman Jack" series by F. Paul Wilson

Top Books/ Series in no particular order (Lesser Known Authors)

  • "The Sculpter" by Gregory Funaro
  • "Power Down" by Ben Coes
  • "Revolution at Sea Saga" by James L. Nelson
  • "Black Rain" by Graham Brown
  • "Top Producer" by Norb Vonnegut
  • "Prairie" by Anna Lee Waldo
  • "The Wild Blue" by W. Boyne & S Thompson
  • "Unsolicited" series by Julie Kaewert
  • "Freedom" by William Safire