The Big Gamble

The Big Gamble

4.2 4
by Michael McGarrity

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Michael McGarrity's acclaimed Santa Fe police chief, Kevin Kerney is back-with his estranged son. Two bodies have been found in a burned building. One is a missing person from Kerney's cold case files. The other is a more recent homicide. Both will lead father and son into a vast network of crime...and the darkest places of the soul.  See more details below


Michael McGarrity's acclaimed Santa Fe police chief, Kevin Kerney is back-with his estranged son. Two bodies have been found in a burned building. One is a missing person from Kerney's cold case files. The other is a more recent homicide. Both will lead father and son into a vast network of crime...and the darkest places of the soul.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Smooth writing, well-drawn characters and several neat plot twists distinguish the seventh Kevin Kerney novel from Anthony Award-nominee and former deputy sheriff McGarrity (Tularosa). Never losing sight of his people in the forensic detail, the author skillfully makes us want to know what happens next without unnecessary violence or contrivance. When two murder victims turn up after a fire in an abandoned fruit stand on a rural highway, Kerney, now the police chief of Sante Fe, N.Mex., takes a personal interest in the case. One blackened corpse is a John Doe, stabbed three times, who is soon identified as a homeless Vietnam vet. The other remains belong to a 29- year-old college student, Anna Marie Montoya, who disappeared 11 years before. As it happens, Kerney was involved in the search for the missing Anna Marie. Investigating the John Doe is Kerney's estranged son, Clayton Istee, now a deputy sheriff for the Lincoln County (N.Mex.) police, whose mother was a full-blooded Mescalero Apache. Clayton, a sympathetic character struggling to support a wife and two small kids, eventually finds himself in charge of a task force looking into a much more complex crime. Kerney would like to effect a reconciliation between himself and his son, but the process proves awkward for them both. McGarrity keeps the parallel plots moving nicely along toward a rational solution. This is an exceptionally intelligent, humane mystery in a series that deserves a wide readership. (On sale July 8) Forecast: McGarrity has been compared by the L.A. Times to James Lee Burke, doing for New Mexico what Burke has done for Louisiana. McGarrity, however, is unlikely to reach Burke's sales heights, unless his books go in for more blood and guts. Blurbs from Jonathan Kellerman and Tony Hillerman will help keep sales healthy. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Kevin Kerney, Santa Fe chief of police, solves yet another mystery in the latest entry in McGarrity's entertaining series (following Under Color of Law). As McGarrity's fans have come to expect, an intriguing set of circumstances leads Kerney and a well-realized cast of secondary characters around New Mexico until the bad guys are caught and justice is served. Clayton, Kerney's adult half-Apache son and a recent addition to the series, provides a new depth to the plot. Although they have only recently met, Clayton, also a police officer, has conflicted feelings about his almost-legendary law-enforcement father. When they must work together to solve the murders of a homeless Vietnam veteran and a woman who had disappeared from Santa Fe ten years earlier, tensions between them add nicely to the complexity of the story. Compared with the other titles in the series, this entry is a bit flat, with less of the magic of New Mexico in evidence, but fans will not be disappointed as McGarrity further develops his continuing characters into possibly the most well rounded in any current mystery series. Ann Forister, Roseville P.L., CA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A blown-out knee isn't the only source of pain for Santa Fe Police Chief Kevin Kerney as he embarks on his seventh satisfying adventure. There's the strain of his long-distance marriage to Lt. Col. Sara Brannon, very much the career officer, very much preoccupied with her grueling Command and General Staff course at Fort Leavenworth, very much pregnant with Kerney's child-a new sibling for Clayton Istee, whose existence Kerney has learned of only recently. Istee, late of the Mescaslero (Apache) Tribal Police and now a deputy sheriff in Lincoln County, New Mexico, happens to be the dad of two, making Kerney an instant grandfather. But Kerney finds familial comfort in painfully short supply. From Sara, he gets periodic disbursements of anger hot enough to burn up telephone wires; from Istee, icy resentment that seems impenetrable. Though both criticize Kerney's behavior towards them, neither is specific enough to be helpful. Meanwhile, Kerney has to contend with the dead body of Anna Marie Montoya. After vanishing without a trace 11 years ago, she's been suddenly disinterred by Deputy Istee. Last time around, the case was Kerney's, among his most frustrating because his most manful efforts produced no results. Will Deputy Istee succeed where Sheriff Kerney failed? Does he ever hope so-and so, in a way, does Kerney. As deft, tidy, and character-driven as its six predecessors (Under the Color of Law, 2001, etc.). No one does the small-city police procedural more authoritatively than McGarrity.

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Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Kevin Kerney Series , #7
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Sales rank:
File size:
281 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

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Big Gamble (Kevin Kerney Series #7) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Story stays with you great characters
dms2012 More than 1 year ago
A very good read.
mickeydAR More than 1 year ago
great novel, gives the reader the feeling that you are right there in the middle of this adventure
harstan More than 1 year ago
On a little traveled road in Lincoln County, New Mexico at the site of a burned down fruit stand, two bodies are found in the remaining rumble. One body is that of small time gambler Joseph John who recently struck it big on the reservation casino while the other corpse is that of Anne Marie Montoya, a woman who disappeared into thin air one decade ago.

The primary on the Montoya case is Santa Fe Police Chief Kevin Kerney and the man in charge of the Humphrey investigation is Deputy Sheriff Clayton Istee. Although the two men are father and son, neither knew about the relationship until recently. Clayton would prefer to forget about the relationship but when the two cases intersect in an unexpected manner, the two men are forced to work together and take a step closer to forming a relationship.

Like Tony Hillerman before him, Michael McGarrity puts the state of New Mexico on the map. His style is smooth, subtle and his storytelling abilities keep the reader in thrall, wondering what will happen next. THE BIG GAMBLE is no gamble at all for reader; it is a surefire winner for anyone who likes a fascinating police procedural.

Harriet Klausne