Book Review: The Killing: Uncommon Denominator by Karen Dionne

A prequel novel every bit as addicting as the TV show.
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Fans of AMC’s The Killing who are jonesing for more are in luck: as Stephen Holder, the skinny strung-out-looking undercover cop would say, they can “get a taste of a little sumthing-sumthing” to tide them over with this prequel novel, The Killing - Uncommon Denominator.

An original novel based on the AMC series developed by Veena Sud, the book The Killing faithfully captures the tone and characters of Holder and his partner, Detective Sarah Linden (played by Joel Kinnaman and Mireille Enos) perfectly.  The book’s author, Karen Dionne, has a good ear for dialogue and a director’s eye for setting the scene: viewers will recognize the docks of the Seattle Port, the Indian casino, and the ever-threatening clouds of the dark Seattle skies.

The plot is tight and, without giving anything away, delivers an engaging story set around familiar themes that the viewer will recognize from the TV show: Detective Sarah Linden is working too hard and threatening to immerse herself too deeply into the case at hand, while Detective Stephen Holder is deep undercover and in danger of stepping too far over the line to come back.  However, in the case of this prequel novel the main characters are working separate but overlapping cases, and continue to pass each other like ships in the night, never quite meeting up - it becomes almost a game for the reader to see how close will they get?  For any readers unfamiliar with the TV show, this book will give you all the back story you need, and offers a good introduction to a promising mystery series/police procedural. 

The TV series The Killing broke new ground when it first aired in 2011, by featuring a murder mystery that spanned two seasons before its resolution. Critics and viewers alike were furious, but hooked.  There was drama and debate about whether the show would be picked up for a third season, but after Netflix came up with some additional funding in return for after-season rights, the third season ran with the featured killing resolved by season’s end.  Now, "hot off the press," Netflix has announced that the fourth, and final season is available for viewing.  Brace yourselves for the series finale, but then after that this novel and others like it may be the only way to get our fix.    

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