Penance: A Chicago Thriller
By Dan O’Shea
ISBN#  9781909223134
Author’s Website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Verushka

*Beware of possible Spoilers*

To say that Penance by Dan O’Shea is a complicated, sprawling read is an understatement.

Detective John Lynch is a Chicago detective that gets pulled into a sniper case. It’s a hardy run-of-the-mill case, but what you won’t expect, and neither does John, is for the case to take him back decades and reveal the identity of his  father’s murderer.

This is where the book lost me.

On the one hand, this complicated case, the inter-personal relationships are a strength. O’Shea weaves a wonderful story between John’s case in the present and his father’s in the past. The writing will demand your absolute attention, but after a time, the constant back and forth, and the ever expanding cast of characters were tiresome.

Most of all because John Lynch, on his own, was so intriguing. This was a character I wanted more of, wanted to see more of his life and his relationships, especially his with his mother. Considering the case, the involvement of his father, I would have thought his mother would be a natural character to be part of this book, but she wasn’t. The book, and John in particular, I found lacking because of it.

Don’t get me wrong, O’Shea is an atmospheric writer, who brings past and present Chicago to life for his readers. I just wanted more about John Lynch, the lynchpin of the book for me.