Fans of Cormac MaCarthy's No Country for Old Men and Tony Hillerman's Navajo County mysteries will find Michael McGarrity's Dead or Alive a powerful story of the manhunt for a deranged killer in the American Southwest.
Living in London while his wife serves as a military attach� at the American Embassy, recently retired Santa Fe Police Chief Kevin Kerney gets an early morning phone call that changes everything and sends him hurrying home to his New Mexico ranch. Riley Burke, his partner in a horsetraining enterprise, has been mowed down on Kerney's doorstep by an escaped prisoner cutting a murderous swath through New Mexico.
As the killings mount, Kerney teams up with his half-Apache son, Lieutenant Clayton Istee of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department, to hunt for a psychotic murderer with a growing appetite for blood, who has no intention to be taken alive.
McGarrity's 12th Kevin Kerney novel (after Death Song) displays the author's usual fine sense of place along with an unusual amount of gore. When escaped convict Craig Larson goes on a rampage that includes the murder of Riley Burke, a neighbor and business partner of former Santa Fe police chief Kerney, that's enough to bring Kerney, at least temporarily, out of retirement--and back from London, where Kerney's wife is a U.S. embassy employee. Larson's crime spree becomes more deadly as he tacks back and forth as far south as Texas and north almost to Colorado. Kerney, acting as a special investigator with the New Mexico State Police, and his lawman son, Clayton Istee, partner up for the statewide manhunt. McGarrity is particularly adept at portraying multijurisdictional investigations. While this isn't a good starting place for newcomers, series fans will relish the deepening relationship of Kerney and Istee, who only recently learned they were father and son. (Jan.)
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December 25, 2008
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