The Good Killer

By Harry Dolan

The Mysterious Press. 304 pp. $26

Reviewed by Oline H. Cogdill

Living off the grid may sound inviting — keep your head down, don’t get friendly with strangers, avoid social media and never allow yourself to stand out in public. Sometimes that sounds inviting, especially when daily life and social media become overwhelming.

But the reality is that one false move can put you right back in the thick of life as author Harry Dolan shows in his highly gratifying The Good Killer.

Iraq vet Sean Tennant and Molly Winter have been happily living an anonymous life in a Houston suburb, following a specific set of rules to keep them incognito. Then Molly travels to Montana for a yoga retreat and Sean goes to the mall to buy shoes the same day that unstable Henry Keen, angry over being rejected by a woman, begins shooting people. Sean’s training kicks in and he shoots Henry, saving countless lives.

Sean, “the good guy with a gun,” tries to slip away unnoticed, but his actions were captured by many cellphones. His actions make national news and he’s hailed as a hero, attracting attention he cannot afford.

The police need to talk to Sean to clear up the case, but he is also being hunted by people from his past. Small-time hoodlum Jimmy Harper wants revenge on Sean because his brother, Cole, died five years ago when committing a robbery with Sean. Wealthy art dealer Adam Khadduri wants the valuables that the two men stole and has sent two bodyguards after Sean.

After Sean connects with Molly in Montana, the couple goes on a cross-country trek, trying to hide while picking up stolen goods that Sean has hidden in several remote spots. When Sean’s identity is discovered by law enforcement, a savvy FBI agent and a Houston detective also are on Sean and Molly’s trail.

In just five stand-alone novels, Dolan has garnered a reputation for intelligent plots that gently weave in action with his well-sculpted characters’ believable motives and a soupçon of humor.

The Good Killer expertly delves into each character’s psyche, showing the humanity in each. While Sean and Molly are the focus, Dolan makes it easy to understand how Harper and Khadduri are driven by revenge. An especially heartfelt — and unexpected — finale elevates The Good Killer.

From the Associated Press.