Dead Anyway by Chris Knopf immediately grabs the reader and doesn’t let go as it winds its way to the end on a path laden with numerous twists and turns. The book is told through the eyes of Arthur Cathcart. Arthur comes home from a walk to the post office to find an unknown man in his house pointing a gun at his wife, Florencia. After shooting Arthur in the thigh to gain compliance and show he’s serious, the gunman demands Florencia secretly complete some information on a sheet of paper he gives her. Once this is done, the gunman shoots each of them in the head. Florencia dies immediately. Arthur survives.
Through the aid of his sister, Arthur fakes his death in order to find the gunman and the people who hired him. He is driven by the intense need to avenge the death of his wife. As his terribly injured brain goes through the process of healing, Arthur sets up new identities and begins his hunt. Prior to the murder of his wife he was a professional market researcher for a wide variety of corporations, so he is well-versed in making his way around the internet, asking questions, and getting answers out of people who don’t necessarily want to respond to questions. Arthur also has the ability to hack into most computers, including that of Florencia’s insurance company. He’ll need all of these skills if he is to succeed in his quest for revenge.
The characters Arthur meets along the way are, to say the least, interesting, including a colorful gang of Bosnians. But are they friends or foes? This could be said about a majority of the characters in the book, because it is not readily apparent who is helping and who is hindering Arthur. Armed with numerous disguises and fake identification, he enters a world of violence and danger; a world very far away from his previous stay-at-home husband life. He will need to use every bit of his analytical skills to track down his prey.
One of the enjoyable aspects of Dead Anyway is that Arthur could be anybody. He’s not a cop, a government agent; possesses no awesome physical abilities. He does, however, have the intense desire to have revenge for what happened to him and his wife. The book is original, has great characters and, although the book can easily stand by itself, the ending of the book appears to guarantee a sequel. I hope it is as entertaining as Dead Anyway.
– Reviewed by Karen Mitchell
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