Well, do I have the novel for you.
I have no clue what came over me when I popped this in for a listen. A story about a professional torturer, who suddenly shows a degree of humanity by saving his latest “Jones;” a 12-year old boy? Not my normal genre by a long shot. I don’t mind thrillers, but I think I underestimated this one.
Quick plot summary: the bad guys want to get a hold of a boy’s father. The father has something that they want. What to do….. what to do… of course. Kidnap the son while the self-obsessed dad runs for the hills, and then hand that boy over to a professional torturer! Then they’ll get what they want!
But WAIT — the torturer draws the line at working with children. What a guy. Could it be? Yes. A torturer with a conscience. Cue the music.
I listened to the first CD. Thank you, but I don’t require that much historical detail to get a clear picture about what the “protagonist” does for a living. “Geiger” is gifted at “information retrieval.” That’s a fancy way of saying that he’ll insert an acupuncture needle into the top of your spinal cord and will give it a flick if you’re not giving him the information he’s seeking on behalf of his clients. And don’t even think about lying. Geiger knows. Geiger senses. Geiger works through migraines without Advil. Geiger sees a therapist to discuss his dreams. Geiger built his dwelling by hand, making it double as a bomb. Geiger can do endless one-armed naked push-ups in his backyard. (No, I’m not making this up.)
After several chapters of describing Geiger, it struck me that the author may have developed a slight case of hero-worship with the character that he had penned. He became so enamored with “Geiger” that it was distracting. Fellow Hoarders Penny and Jackie asked how the story was going at one point, and I told them that I was waiting for Geiger to stand up and whisper “I’m Batman.”
Alas, the fun with needles and other devices (Geiger doesn’t like blood during his sessions) had to come to a halt after a client brings him a 12-year-old boy. Rather than go through with the “session,” Geiger rescues him. The cat and mouse game begins. While Geiger tries to think his way out of the situation, the boy, Ezra, is understandably baffled by him, but quickly learns to trust him. Truly, Geiger shows the boy more fatherly protection than the biological version, so a link was inevitable. Predictably, the boy becomes attached to this bizarre and seemingly emotionless man. In actuality, the feelings become mutual, and Ezra brings out the more humane side of Geiger. Ezra made Geiger face his past, and start to function like someone with a pulse. No, this was not lost on me.
I will say that the chase was effective, and you do root for Geiger. That alone is worth merit, as getting people to cheer for a professional torturer is no small feat. I also appreciated the character development of Ezra, and Geiger’s partner Harry. The people surrounding Geiger were well-drawn, including the “bad guys.”
The audiobook was narrated by Ari Fliakos, and his work was a true highlight. Mr. Fliakos had fantastic range. There are few things more entertaining than a narrator who effectively represents the characters. His Geiger was spot-on, and his “bad guys” were classic. He had an impressive range of voices, and masterful inflection. Well done!
Overall, The Inquisitor was indeed worthy of the thriller categorization. It kept me listening, even when I was grimacing. I suppose I could have done with less torture detail (which at times seemed superfluous), but I would be dishonest if I didn’t admit that I had to know what happened to every character. For that, The Inquisitor gets 3 stars from this Hoarder.