Homicide detective David Moore has never had a case quite like this: a series of savage murders targeting the family of Frank Ballaro, a mafia kingpin with half the city of Niagara Falls in his pocket. The killer strikes with inhuman violence, and always on the night of a full moon.
Meanwhile, grad student Iman Al-Qadari reads about the murders with growing dismay. Her boss, a prominent professor, has been acting strange over the last few months—wearing disheveled clothes, lashing out with uncharacteristic anger, and obsessing over a growing pile of occult literature. When Iman spots a red stain on his coat sleeve—one that looks and smells suspiciously like blood—the night after a grisly murder, the unthinkable starts to seem all too possible.
As David and Iman wrestle with an impossible enemy whose existence grows harder and harder to deny, a strange and sinister evil sinks its fangs ever deeper into Niagara’s throat. Can David and Iman find one another in time to pool their knowledge, solve the mystery, and stop the killings? Or will the creature feasting on their city swallow them as well?
It's been a while since I read a good edge of your seat thriller or a spine-tingling horror, and I got my fix on both with Whitetooth Falls. The story does have its grisly side with the descriptions of some of the murders, but it's not over the top. In fact, I like that Justin Joschko went for plain ol' good writing and storytelling to keep me turning the pages rather than depending on gore for shock value. It is bloody, but when you're dealing with werewolves and organized crime, that's to be expected.
The writing here is excellent with Joschko finding that sweet spot between information and excitement. The prose is descriptive, and the scenes are set up so well that you feel like you're there. The same goes for the characters. Love them or hate them, and we get some of both, the characters are well-drawn and interesting. Even the bad guys, or the not so good guys, and we get some of both there too, are intriguing, and I wanted to see what would become of them as the story progressed. I have to say that our homicide detective, David Moore, was my favorite. He's just a genuinely likable guy, stuck between a rock and a hard place with this case and determined to do whatever it takes to stop the murders. David is followed closely by Iman as she digs deeper and deeper into her boss's actions to understand what's going on. David and Iman are each following a separate path, leading to the same place, so their stories run parallel for much of the book, yet it somehow doesn't feel like two separate storylines as so often happens with similar techniques.
In the end, this one came together in spectacular fashion, the excitement kept me on my toes, and the characters kept me interested in what was happening to them. Joschko drew me in from the beginning and held tight for the whole ride. The story is a solid mix of hair-raising creepiness and sit up and take notice action with a bit of well-timed wit from some characters who practically leap off the page. It's just plain good, and this is one author who is now firmly on my radar.