Psychologist Mick Callahan has a knack for getting into trouble. A recovering alcoholic, womanizer and fighter (as a child his stepfather forced him to fight for money), he's now on the straight and narrow after barely escaping his last scrape with his life (the events of Shannon's previous novel, Memorial Day). In fact, things are finally looking up; he's got a pretty young girlfriend and a new hit radio talk show.
But when Callahan and his date are mysteriously assaulted in the parking lot by a huge tattooed man wearing a black mask, and his housekeeper's adopted son is kidnapped, it seems that trouble has once again found him. Things quickly get worse: an old friend, drug addict and prostitute named Mary calls him with a plea for help, and he can't resist going after her.
The problem is, Mary has fallen in with a very bad group of people, and Callahan quickly finds himself swept up into a dangerous plot. Nothing is as it seems, and he must call in every favor and use every ounce of his strength and cunning to stay alive. Assault, prostitution and child pornography are par for the course as Shannon's taut thriller moves with lightning speed to a thrilling conclusion.
Shannon's prose is effortless as he propels the story along with the practiced ease of a master. There's enough intrigue and plot twists to keep any reader interested, but the real hook of this novel is Callahan himself.
Eye of the Burning Man is, in a word, astonishingly good. This novel is lean, dark and one hell of a lot of fun. Although it's not necessary to read Shannon's previous Callahan novel, Memorial Day, it's worth doing so, if only to see the character change and grow from one book to the next. Callahan is more than an echo of the hard-boiled sleuths from other standout detective series from Parker, Crais, MacDonald and Thompson; he is a fresh new voice, a flawed everyman hero who knows his own demons and his own limitations and is strong enough to overcome.
Put simply, Eye of the Burning Man stands with some of the very best noir mystery fiction around. Shannon deserves a much wider audience for this series, and one can only hope he will land a mass-market deal so that many more readers can become acquainted with Mick Callahan Highly recommended.