Wednesday, March 17, 2010


By Craig Larsen

From the back of the book:

“Seattle newspaper photographer Nick Wilder has snapped his fair share of gruesome homicide scenes. But when a serial killer dubbed the Street Butcher takes his sick crimes to new depths of depravity, Nick finds the case suddenly getting to him in more ways than one.”

I’ve mentioned before how much I enjoy reading books where the characters are journalists. I love reading how authors portray the passion that comes with the business of reporting.

Why? Because it’s what I do. It’s how I make my living and it’s what defines me as a writer. It’s in my blood and I can’t ever imagine doing anything else with my life.

That said, I now turn to “Mania.” This book puts the reader right into the crime scene so he or she can view it from a reporter’s eyes.

Granted, Nick Wilder doesn’t carry a notepad. He carries a camera, which makes him a PHOTOjournalist and, from the description, a good one at that. His job isn’t that different than the reporter end. He just uses a different way to capture the scene – with pictures rather than words.

Nick gets sucked into the crime scene himself as he becomes the accused. How could this happen? How could his life get so turned around in a brief moment?

Sounds fascinating, doesn’t it? Indeed!

And to top it off, this story takes place almost in my own backyard. I’ve been to the areas of Seattle where the book is set and I could picture the darkness, the stairs, the crumbling streets. Wow!

So, how do I rate this book?

Take the great contemporary mystery writers of today – Lee Child, Harlan Coben, Patricia Cornwell, you name it! – throw in some of the macabre of Stephen King and you get “Mania.” Undoubtedly one of the best books of 2009, this one will be hard to beat when the awards come out! And to think … this is only his first book. He says his second one promises to be darker than “Mania.” Amazing!

All I can say is: Bravo, Mr. Larsen, bravo!


Suko said...

I've read three books within the past few months which take place in Seattle. Perhaps I need to add a fourth!

China said...

This sounds like a very interesting book, great review by the way... I always enjoy my visit in Seattle, so clean and pretty. I don't know they have shabby areas like we have in Los Angeles.... May be the tour book I used just purposely left them out...

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