Review:  Heartfelt finale elevates Dolan's `The Good Killer'

This cover image released by The Mysterious Press shows "The Good Killer" by Harry Dolan.

“The Good Killer,” The Mysterious Press, by Harry Dolan

Living off the grid might 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 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 veteran Sean Tennant and Molly Winter have been living an anonymous life happily 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 unstable Henry Keen, angry about 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. He makes national news and is hailed a hero, attracting attention he cannot afford.

The police need to talk to Sean to clear up the case, but he also is 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 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 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’s and Molly’s trail.

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

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

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