Title: Jack Be Quick
Author: Benjamin Thomas
Genre: Fiction, Crime, Thriller, Mystery
Synopsis: A picture scrawled in blood pushes paramedic Noah McKeen into a game of hide and seek with someone attempting to honor Jack the Ripper.
Tormented and controlled by little white pills and visions of the woman he had intended to start a family with now in the company of another man, Noah fights to control his sordid selfish behavior and stop a brutal reenactment of history’s most notorious serial killer.
Jack Be Quick is a gem among small-press published thrillers. It’s the story of a paramedic who works overnight shifts in Connecticut. After suffering an injury that left him reliant on opioids, our main character, Noah, finds his life sliding downhill. His personal demons force the woman he loves away. His addict fuels his personal demons until both his personal safety and career are on the line. Then, he finds himself dragged into a mystery puppeteered by a copy-cat murderer intent on recreating the killings of Jack the Ripper.
“No matter what happened in life, the water remained the same. Rocking back and forth. Existing in a perpetual state of waiting.”
From page one, I felt immediately immersed in Noah’s word. The dialogue was quick and realistic. The characters were distinctive, but not overly saturated in unimportant detail. Having a crime novel interlaced with characters from the medical profession was a new genre to me, and I loved it. The medical lingo was especially thorough—It always felt genuine and surrounded by enough context that I always understood what was going on among the bustle of EMTs and nurses.
As a character, Noah is a perfect combination of unreliable narrator and unstable hero. We see that his intentions are good. He wants to be happy. He wants everyone he loves to be safe and protected from both outside foes and his own anger—but time and time again we see him fail. Despite his shortcomings, I felt myself routing for a happy ending, one where Noah realizes the mistakes he’s making and gets his life back on track. Despite this novel’s numbered pages, we see Noah go through many different stages. In fact, all of the featured characters in Jack Be Quick undergo some major change by the end of the novel—a choice that makes the story that much more believable.
Once I picked this book up, I could barely set it down. It flowed like a true thriller, pulling its reader along for the ride. I would highly recommend this book, especially to those who love immersive thrillers or fast-paced reads.