Also by this author: Bolt Action Remedy
Published by The Permanent Press on March 15, 2013
Genres/Lists: #30Authors, Fiction, Mystery/Thriller
Read synopsis on Goodreads
Buy the book: Amazon/Audible (this post includes affiliate links)
Back in 2014, J.J. Hensley joined the inaugural #30Authors event. He was, and is, quite a fan favorite and has joined in every year since. Even so, I hadn’t read any of his books until recently. This was mostly because I like him as a person and was afraid that, because he writes a genre I don’t read a lot of, I wouldn’t connect with the book. It’s a thriller that uses a marathon to propel the story forward and as someone who doesn’t love most thrillers or run (at all), I was nervous.
Turns out, all that nervousness and delaying was for nothing because Resolve is great. It’s not too violent, makes you question right and wrong, and is fast-paced. The story follows Dr. Cyprus Keller, a criminology professor at a small university who gets swept up in the investigation of a murdered female student. He’s also a former police officer and can’t shake the feeling that something about the investigation is off. So, against his better judgement, he sets out to find answers. Oh, and to kill the person responsible (we know that from the get-go).
Resolve is told in two parallel tracks: First, there’s Dr. Keller in present day, running a marathon, preparing for someone to die. Then, there’s the story of everything that brought him to this point. As the book races forward, Hensley untangles the web of secrets that led to the young girl’s murder. By the time I finished reading, it was clear to me why Resolve won Best First Novel from International Thriller Writers. It has it all – a classic whodunnit, a twisted storyline, and a diverse group of characters (not to mention a dog – because everyone loves a story with a dog).#Resolve: A thriller you'll love to race through (even if you hate running) @jjhensleyauthor #30Authors Click To Tweet
I have to admit, I was struck by how visual the story was with regard to running a marathon. I knew going into it that it is a book runners love, but I wasn’t prepared to get a glimpse into the toll it takes on a person – I’m a bit in awe of anyone who can put themselves through that. I also really enjoyed the secondary characters, primarily Dr. Keller’s wife. I won’t go into details about why I liked her so much but suffice to say she’s my kind of woman.
Now, anyone who follows J.J. on Twitter knows that he is hilariously sarcastic and prone to self-deprecating humor. These qualities also made an appearance in the book, with Dr. Keller exhibiting the same sarcastic wit one would expect from J.J. Obviously, Resolve is not an autobiography (at least not to my knowledge) but it’s clear that the author put a bit of himself in the book. Aside from the aforementioned qualities, both J.J. and Dr. Keller have a background in law enforcement and are avid runners. Both of these are integral to Dr. Keller’s character and Hensley’s ability to bring them to life added an authenticity to the book that can’t be faked.
If you’re looking for a great thriller that’s not too heavy on the gore, Resolve is the perfect fit. It’s approachable for those who don’t typically pick up this genre (like me) and will make your head spin with possibilities. Perhaps more importantly, it will leave you asking yourself, what would you do?
Recommended for: Readers who enjoy morally ambiguous thrillers but don’t want too much gore.