Book Review: The Good Killer by Harry Dolan
By Ray PalenFebruary 26, 2020
I know it’s become an overused and hackneyed literary device—thank you Gone Girl—to show chapters that come from a different character’s point of view—but in Harry Dolan’s The Good Killer, it really works! He doesn’t always devote entire chapters to one specific character. Sometimes it’s just a few chapters and characters get to share the same chapter. Whatever the desired result was, it really keeps the action moving forward and allows the reader to spend some valuable time inside the mind of the main characters that drive the narrative of The Good Killer forward.
It’s like a story we see every night on the evening news. A man, spurned by his girlfriend, shows up at her place of work—armed with a gun—and starts shooting the place up. In this novel, the man is one Henry Alan Keen (don’t all of these killers seem to have 3-word names?), and he takes down a handful of people before he is dropped. The location is a Brooks Brothers clothing store inside a Houston mall and the shoppers that evening were very fortunate that Sean Tennant was accompanying his girlfriend, Molly Winter, that night. It was Sean using all of the skills he gained in the military, along with the glock that he happened to have on him, that allowed to him to take the life of crazed killer Henry Alan Keen.
The problem for Sean and Molly is that his act of heroism will not just receive local news coverage but also national. This means that some people they are trying to stay away from might find out where they are. This fear becomes reality when Jimmy Harper and a business associate of his, Adam Khadduri, notice Sean’s photo listed as ‘Person Of Interest’ with the events that took place in the Houston Mall. Their paths last crossed and things ended in violent fashion which found Jimmy’s younger brother dead and a valuable possession missing. Jimmy and one of his younger employees, Nick, head off to Houston to re-introduce themselves to Sean and Molly.
Since Sean fled from the crime scene he has earned the interest Detective Rafael Garza. Garza recently lost his partner to cancer and he is now on the hunt with other government resources for Sean. Sean Tennant has quickly become a very popular person. We find out more about Sean and Molly in some flashback moments, which also provide information as to what was stolen from Adam Khadduri as well as the fact that Molly once dated him.
Dolan is very careful as to what information he reveals. It takes some time before the identity of Jimmy Harper’s brother is spelled out. It is longer until the black market items that Sean took from Adam Khadduri is revealed. One of the more poignant parts of The Good Killer is when an old war friend of Sean’s, Dalton Webber, is visited by Detective Garza. It is there that we learn about how Sean saved Webber’s life during the war. We also see as Garza trusts in Webber enough to leave him with a message that nothing will happen to Sean if he gets in contact with him. Webber avows that he is not hiding Sean at that time and will pass on the message if he does see him.
The latter third of the novel goes by like a blur as all of the characters involved begin to converge. Whether or not Sean and Molly will get away safely by finishing off all of their enemies or taking the Government’s offer of hiding away for the rest of their lives in witness protection will just have to remain a secret here. I urge any reader who loves their thrillers done in high octane fashion with a touch of the noir to pick up Harry Dolan’s The Good Killer and strap in for a wild and satisfying ride.