I just finished reading Rex Miller's classic debut novel SLOB, the first story featuring Jack Eichord, a renowned detective who specializes in serial killers, and Daniel "Chaingang" Bunkowski, a monster of a man whose proclivities have earned him the title of the Lonely Hearts Killer.
I enjoyed SLOB for a variety of reasons, however there were a few aspects to the novel that turned me off. What both worked yet simultaneously distracted from the novel was the voice and style of the writing. Very solid, very poignant, yet at times very tedious, particularly the chapters that focused on Daniel Bunkowski. I have to assume that Rex wrote those chapters through Daniel's intimate perspective, which is something I enjoy in fiction, however Daniel, being a completely mad bastard, has a mind so twisted and sick, so quick on the uptake and perverse, that those chapters were like a roller coaster that looked fun from the ground, but was a too much to to handle once the nerdy operator pushed the grimy metal bar into your gut. Of course, that's subjective, and the book was one hell of a ride, which I can very much appreciate.
I found myself very much enjoying the story of Detective Jack Eichord as he falls for a widow whose husband had been a victim of the Lonely Hearts Killer. He was a very likable character, and the way he managed the case and his fledgling relationship was a pleasure to read. He's the kind of detective I could stand behind and appreciate. Now there's a character I would like to read more books about.
Other than the monotonous and often times repetitive Bunkowski chapters (too many dream-state flashbacks to 'Nam for my taste), SLOB was a fast paced, gritty, and engaging novel. This was my first venture into the longer fiction of Rex Miller (I've read a few of his shorts in various anthologies), and it surely will not be my last.
I give this one a solid 4/5 stars.