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21 October 2014

Steve Gannon: LA Sniper

Exciting and emotionally gripping - highly recommended
Steve Gannon's KANE series has long been one of my favourites - exciting and emotionally challenging. After "Song for the Asking", "Kane" and "Allison" I wondered how Gannon could keep up the pace with another book in the series. The answer is that Steve has hit the spot with a somewhat different book that focuses on Dan Kane but always has his family firmly nearby. While you can read this book as a stand-alone story, you will appreciate it more if you read the earlier books in order because the Kane family details are so important.

Dan Kane is a top homicide detective with the LAPD who gets results, sometimes by doing his own thing which upsets his superiors and his actions have also brought danger to his family. At home Kane has been a dominant father (his daughter Alison calls him "Dadzilla") and he has been through several shattering events with them, some of which he has not been able to cope with. Nate is the only child still permanently living at home and is going through a tough and angry adolescence that neither parent can completely understand.

Kane's autocratic dominance over his family is waning as his children grow up, and the family is glued together by shared traumatic experiences, love and respect, and a mutual love of music (Catheryn a cellist with the LA Philharmonic and eldest son Travis is studying at Juilliard). One evening they are all attending a concert where Catheryn performs stunningly as a solo cellist with the Philharmonic when Kane is called out urgently - someone has shot/assassinated two LA Patrolmen.

Kane quickly becomes a key part of  a huge task force led by Lieutenant Sneed, Kane's long term nemesis, searching for a very clever and deliberate assassin whose sole objective is to kill as many LA policemen as possible. The assassin is a master marksman, leaves no clues, alters his modus operandi to confuse and is always one step ahead of the police as the body count rises. As usual Kane eventually makes his own investigations against the advice of Sneed.

Steve Gannon delivers an extremely well written police procedural which has two unexpected brutal climaxes. As Kane is the principal player, Gannon's use of the first person in chapters about Kane is especially effective. He also leaves us with a final chapter about the Kane family that will gut your emotions (remember to keep the tissues handy if you are sensitive). Gannon also leaves us enough seeds in the story to make me believe that a possible future book might happen sometime - I look forward to that.

A couple of weeks ago I was privileged to get an Advanced Readers Copy of THE BURNING ROOM, the forthcoming Harry Bosch novel by Michael Connelly, While I rated that book as "a great police/crime novel by the finest (American) crime writer working today" I found it comparatively bland and vanilla when compared with LA SNIPER which now has a place in my top reads of 2014. Steve Gannon is a talented writer of crime/family adventure thrillers who deserves every success.

An Advanced Copy of this book was provided to me by the author for my honest review. While I have a regular email connection with Steve, I have never met or spoken with him and this review is an honest and personal assessment of this book.

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