Seattle has J.P. Beaumont, Boston has Spenser, and Santa Fe has
Kevin Kerney. SLOW KILL by Michael McGarrity is the latest in this
excellent series and is sure to attract new readers who appreciate
a story's ambiance as well as its characters and plot. New Mexico,
Land of Enchantment, plays an important role without ever crowding
the pages of this fast-paced novel.
SLOW KILL begins with Kerney, Santa Fe Police Chief, making a trip
to California to buy quarter horses. He finds some prime stock at
the posh horse ranch, but before he can close the deal he finds
himself a suspect in the death of a wealthy rancher. While the
aging Clifford Spalding had some medical problems, his sudden death
was both unexpected and suspicious. Before learning that Kerney is
a cop, San Luis Obispo Sheriff's Department Sergeant Lowrey makes
some giant leaps to connect Kerney to the dead man but soon gains
respect and admiration for our hero.
In the process of seeking to prove his innocence, Kerney uncovers a
parallel mystery that eventually ties into the original homicide.
There's a lot cooking here with more ingredients than a French
recipe, but McGarrity's no-nonsense style makes it easy to follow
and hard to put down.
In addition to the murder mystery, Kerney keeps gnawing away at the
mystery surrounding the death of the victim's son that occurred
thirty years ago in Vietnam. Spalding's first wife, now known as
Crazy Alice, has refused to accept her son's death, claiming to
have seen him at various times through the years. Is there a
connection between the death of the father and that of the son?
Could the son still be alive? With the help of his own expert team,
Chief Kerney follows the clues to several exciting conclusions ---
some suspected, others totally unexpected.
McGarrity writes with the insight and understanding of an ex-cop;
he has witnessed crimes, taken endless notes and written thorough
reports. While lacking none of the familiarity with police
procedures found in works by Joseph Waumbaugh, McGarrity thankfully
leaves out much of the more graphic and profane elements that are
often gratuitous and distracting. SLOW KILL is the ninth book in
his Kevin Kerney series and is sure to inspire new readers to go
back and enjoy the others, beginning with TULAROSA.