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This psychological thriller was of special interest to me because a lot of the action centered around the area where I grew up, Vancouver and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. According to the cover blurb, Canadian author William R. Potter began this book in , put the book on hold, and after completing other work, returned to Dead of Knight.

I for one, am very glad he did. A descriptive book, it takes place in the fictional town of Hanson in British Columbia. The book begins with a journey into the mind of a psychotic murderer, nick-named the Birthday Boy, because his victims were murdered on their birthdays.

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He sees himself as a hero; he is currently Tyro, training to become what he perceives to be a super hero who will be Damian Knight, Soldier of Justice. He believes he is on the same side as the law. The character is well-defined, as is the character of Jack Staal, the detective who becomes Knight's focused nemesis. The story is also a police procedural that doesn't always follow procedure, often a sign of office politics versus either the very caring or the corrupt.

Jack Staal is one of the caring, but he is fraught with demons of past cases. Dead of Knight takes the reader into the heart and soul of a homicide detective and into the warped mind of a psychopath. This thriller is told from the point-of-view of Detective Jack Staal and from the perspective of a killer who murders women on their birthdays. We learn that Detective Staal is suffering from post-traumatic stress after a horrific shooting. Unable to shake the horror of that day, Staal has left his position with the Vancouver PD's homicide squad and has resurrected his career with the police service in a fictional country town called Hanson, British Columbia.

Anxious to work the biggest case of his career, Staal is forced to the outside when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's Integrated Homicide Teams are assigned to the case. Not one to sit on the sidelines, Staal convinces his colleagues to follow his lead and pursue a serial killer the media has dubbed Birthday Boy. Believing he is a soldier of justice, a misguided young man has begun a callous campaign of terror.

So, I would have loved to have read this book and written a rave review, but I can't. I had a lot of issues with it. Most of my problems come from the same source, which is that from a writer's perspective, this story really strikes me as one that wa Judging by the ratings here on GoodReads, I'm apparently the only person out there who didn't like this book that much.

Most of my problems come from the same source, which is that from a writer's perspective, this story really strikes me as one that was written without a pre-planned outline. That's fine, many books are, but it didn't feel like anyone went back and tried to make sure that everything was consistent.

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It felt like character details and information were written into the story when the idea came, because some things just come out of nowhere and then don't weave in smoothly until the end. Like Brenda. Like Travis. I didn't find Staal a sympathetic character. Almost all of his actions, to me, seemed driven by purely selfish motives. This happens with all characters in all books in some way or another, but one of the things you love about a good cop story is that they are driven by the victims and the pursuit of truth.

Staal only seemed to care about himself and only threw in the occasional hint of humanitarian motives, which made them see out of the blue and insincere. It didn't feel like it was an integral part of his character. I think that was clear in the scene where he thinks about his reasons for wanting to work the Birthday Boy case and not the case he's shifted to. He's looked at and talked about like a great cop all through the beginning, but suddenly towards the end there's all this self-doubt about how he got to be a cop and if he's really good enough.

That came totally out of left field to me and wasn't connected to earlier guilt issues. The whole team looks to him like he's a leader through the whole story until it's plot convenient for them to think he's nuts with little seeming explanation. It makes no sense. And his PTSD, again until the end, really only seems to come into play when an excuse is needed for bad or irrational behavior. It didn't feel psychologically realistic and if you're going to give your character a major psychological issue, I want it to be realistic.

And his connection and the snippet of back story for it with the bar tender of the Thirsty Gull just put Staal in even more a dubious light for me. It was also just another section of back story just kind of pushed in there that never came back into play and didn't seem to serve that much purpose. The story didn't feel like anyone had read it for flow, making sure it all ran smoothly and consistently, or to make sure the same things weren't repeated over and over again unnecessarily. Usually you can get along with only telling the reader important things once or twice.

Not multiple times. I really, really wanted to like this story. I liked the premise, both of the plot and of Staal himself, and Potter's writing is competent though in need of streamlining and polish, but the execution over all just entirely lost me and I found the ending, and reaching the end of the story, rather unsatisfactory. I did manage to finish it, which does say something at least, and maybe I'm just a freak when it comes to what I look for in books and everyone else has it right.

Dead of Knight -A Jack Staal Thriller by William R. Potter-A Book Review

But, for me, I can't in good conscious give this book more than 2 Stars. Potter takes the reader into the heart and soul of his protagonist and into the warped mind of a psychopath. Potter's first full length novel, Dead of Knight is told from the point-of-view of Detective Jack Staal and from the perspective of a killer who murders women on their birthdays. Through clever use of back story, we learn that Detective Staal is suffering from post-traumatic stress after a horrific shooting.

Unable to shake the horror of that day, Staal has left his posit Author William R. Unable to shake the horror of that day, Staal has left his position with the Vancouver PD's homicide squad and has resurrected his career with the police service in a fictional country town called Hanson, British Columbia.

Anxious to work the biggest case of his career, Staal is forced to the outside when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's Integrated Homicide Teams are assigned to the case. Not one to sit on the sidelines, Staal convinces his colleagues to follow his lead and pursue a serial killer the media has dubbed Birthday Boy. Believing he is a soldier of justice, a misguided young man has begun a callous campaign of terror.

Damian Knight Birthday Boy is convinced of his righteousness and continues his brutal crusade of revenge. As his death count mounts, so does Knight's courage and he soon turns his anger on a fatigued Staal. Staal and Knight play out a cat and mouse thrill ride that culminates with an epic, one-on-one meeting of cop versus killer.

Book Review

Potter has created an intriguing police procedural with a strong main character, a terrific supporting cast, and a plot with twists, turns, and plenty of red herrings. I have read many books in this genre featuring a main character that is a bullet-proof, womanizing Neanderthal. However, Potter's Jack Staal takes a pounding, both physically and emotionally.

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This is one author who isn't afraid to show his hero breaking down or making mistakes. Potter has penned a captivating tale filled with plenty of tension and conflict, crisp dialogue and an unrelenting pace. He puts us in the story with vivid descriptions and scene-painting narrative. Reviewed by Erin Hynd Aug 17, Graham Downs rated it really liked it Shelves: mystery , thriller.

Not too bad. This is another one of those hard-boiled detective mystery-thriller stories. A serial killer is about, and he's killing women on their birthdays. It's not a "whodunit" really, because you know pretty early on in the story who's doing it. The police don't, though, and it's fun to watch them trying to figure it out. The protago Not too bad. The protagonist, Detective Jack Staal, is somewhat stereotypical. He suffers from PTSD from a case that happened some time before the start of the story although I still don't understand exactly what happened there , and he is plagued by horrible flashbacks and dreams.

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He's a smoker who's struggling to quit, and he gets far too involved in his cases. Speaking of which, the smoking was a bit unrealistic to me. It's a bit of a bugbear for me what characters in books and movies who smoke always light a cigarette, take two puffs, then kill the cigarette sometimes only to light another one a few minutes later. But I digress.

After that point, it just seemed like a formality for them to actually catch the killer, and even after THAT there's a bit of an "epilogue" although it's really just the last two chapters where Staal wraps something up relating to that previous case I mentioned earlier. There is a small twist at the end, but I still feel as though I wouldn't have missed anything by not reading it.

Nonetheless, it's a pretty good story, and I might just pick up the next book in the series although I think I have far too many series going at the moment. Time I cull a few of them off! Mar 23, Scott Whitmore rated it really liked it. Potter features some familiar trappings — a serial killer out for revenge and dedicated cops working a bit outside the lines to stop the killer — but presents them in different and interesting ways. First is the setting, the fictional town of Hanson in southwestern Canada, near Vancouver — which is just a couple hours north of where I live in the U.

The differences and similarities between Canadian and U. Another difference is the main character, Jack Staal. The son of a well-loved policeman, Staal was part of the big-city force in Vancouver before a tragic incident sent his career spiraling. Hanson PD may seem like a step-down to some, but for Staal its a lifeline to remain doing what he knows best.

At age 42 he drinks, smokes, skirts the rules and follows his hunches — often successfully. Potter has added some interesting elements to the mix. Staal suffers from Post-Traumatic Syndrome and the effects, violent, vivid dreams, unexpected rage, insomnia, help to ground him in the real world. That world includes the Birthday Boy killer, so named because his victims are killed on their birthdays.


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Finding this killer isn't officially Staal's job, there is a task force run by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police — the Mounties — chasing Birthday Boy. But Staal senses the team is missing something in their search, and he and his squadmates at Hanson PD keep digging away on a parallel investigation. No spoilers here, but the chase involves twists, turns and some tragedy. I would recommend "Dead of Knight" to anyone who enjoys police thrillers.

A sick individual seeking revenge for years of torment haunts homicide detective Staal in more ways than one! Staal has issues of his own--enough to break any man, but he hangs in there. Well written from a story standpoint. Tear jerker ending no spoiler. Potter's characters are interesting, you become invested in them and their problems. This is a really good thriller. The killer is a nasty little piece of work and the clues and investigation, add the inter-departmental cat-fighting, are real A sick individual seeking revenge for years of torment haunts homicide detective Staal in more ways than one!


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The killer is a nasty little piece of work and the clues and investigation, add the inter-departmental cat-fighting, are realistic and interesting. I did find the editing an issue as I read. Fewer than some, more than others. After a good review and update, I would up the star value one notch.

It certainly wasn't enough to prevent my enjoyment of the story, just enough to make a hitch in the reading.