Dead or Alive (Kevin Kerney Series #12)

Dead or Alive (Kevin Kerney Series #12)

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by Michael McGarrity

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Lawman turned best-selling author Michael McGarrity presents this thrilling Kevin Kerney novel—packed with gritty action—that "series fans will relish" (Publishers Weekly). Called out of retirement, Kerney must take up the hunt for a psychotic killer who's been blazing a path of carnage from Texas to Colorado. Fortunately he'll have help from his


Lawman turned best-selling author Michael McGarrity presents this thrilling Kevin Kerney novel—packed with gritty action—that "series fans will relish" (Publishers Weekly). Called out of retirement, Kerney must take up the hunt for a psychotic killer who's been blazing a path of carnage from Texas to Colorado. Fortunately he'll have help from his half-Indian son, Sgt. Clayton Istee.

Editorial Reviews

Marilyn Stasio
In the iconography of thrillers, a serial killer can be psychologically complex as well as gruesomely entertaining. But you can't beat a spree killer for raw action, and in Dead or Alive, Michael McGarrity has produced a true monster in Craig Larson…McGarrity, a former deputy sheriff, knows the drill. He also knows the territory, which he portrays in a blunt, invigorating style that, even after a dozen books, still feels fresh.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

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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Library Journal

McGarrity has a long list of solid mysteries in his Kevin Kerney series. Unfortunately, the 12th (after Death Song) is not up to the same standard. Like all the Kerney books, it is set in New Mexico, peopled with a cast of likable characters, and features McGarrity's crisp and colorful writing. However, readers familiar with Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men(2005) or the Coen brothers' 2007 movie version will recognize the plot of the madman roaming the countryside and ruthlessly killing anyone who gets in his way. McGarrity's latest is as well done as McCarthy's so that those who haven't read No Country may be satisfied with the story of ex-sheriff Kerney, his army wife, and their family. Yet even McGarrity's knack for using the intriguing New Mexico setting as an integral aspect of the plot cannot redeem this relentless bloodbath of a novel. Coming so soon after No Country, it just seems derivative. Buy only where the series is popular.
—Ann Forister

Kirkus Reviews
Ex-Santa Fe Police Chief Kevin Kerney comes out of retirement to track a monster. Craig Larson is a psychopath's psychopath. Remorseless and relentless, he'll kill anything that moves. Or not. And whether he does or doesn't in any given situation is both unpredictable and inexplicable, since he himself has no clue. On his way to prison, Larson overpowers a guard, steals his weapon, stabs him in the eye-a deliberately selected target-and launches a one-man guerrilla attack on much of New Mexico. Early in this maniacal murder spree, he blows away young Riley Burke, a partner in Kevin Kerney's ranching operation. At the time, Santa Fe's former chief of police, famous in law-enforcement circles as a fearsome combination of bloodhound, bulldog and elephant, is living in London with his wife Sara, Army colonel and military attache to the American embassy. Learning of Riley's death, Kerney returns at once to New Mexico, where he joins Lieutenant Clayton Istee and just about every other police officer in the state in a manhunt that has "dead or alive" written all over it. By this time, Larson's homicidal rampage has developed a much sharper focus. He wants to kill cops. Cops want to kill him. It doesn't get any more basic than that. McGarrity (Death Song, 2008, etc.) plays to one of his core strengths-the police procedural-but the human drama, another of his usual strengths, is muted here. Fans will miss it.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Kevin Kerney Series , #12
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
18 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Michael McGarrity is author of the Anthony Award-nominated Tularosa, Mexican Hat, Serpent Gate, Hermit's Peak, The Judas Judge, Under the Color of Law, and The Big Gamble. A former deputy sheriff for Santa Fe County, he established the first Sex Crimes Unit. He has also served as an instructor at the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy and as an investigator for the New Mexico Public Defender's Office.

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Dead or Alive (Kevin Kerney Series #12) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Escaped psychopathic convict Craig Larson goes on a killing rampage murdering everyone it seems in his path. Among the victims is Riley Burke, business partner to former Santa Fe police chief Kevin Kerney.

Outraged by the Burke death and just back from London where his spouse works in the American embassy, Kerney vows to bring the maniac to justice. However that pledge is easier said than done, as Larson leaves corpses in several southwest states. Working as a temporary New Mexico State Police special investigator, Kerney and his son Lincoln County Sheriff¿s Department Lieutenant Clayton Istee lead a state wide manhunt.

The keys to this wild manhunt are the relationship between the father and son law enforcement pair who only recently learned of their DNA connection and the deep look at multi-jurisdiction police investigations. The story line is fast-paced and filled with much more blood than the usual Kerney whodunit (see NOTHING BUT TROUBLE) and a strong sense of locale that would have pleased the late Tony Hillerman. In some macabre ways Larson steals the show as he makes the plot with his murderous spree that turns what looks like a blue state red.

Harriet Klausner
brf1948 More than 1 year ago
As usual, this was an excellent book. Michael McGarrity knows and loves the landscape and people of New Mexico with the same passion as we other New Mexicans, and his words bring me back to the land that I love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
could not put it down.had to take it to work and read it on breaks.The story puts you right in the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a stunning book. If you like comedy yet something that isa mystery and a suspense, you will like reading this book. Michael McGarrity is a very descriptive author. He uses lots of examples and must really like to write. He uses great word choice and is very talented in his writing. Michael McGarrity has written many books. All in the series are very heart-throbbing. He will turn all eyes & ears towards his books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Always enjoy reading this author, and he is up to his ususal high standard of writing, plotting, and drama. Story, and adversary's character are (hopefully) a bit over drawn, and profligate of lives taken, but all in all, a good read. Excitement never stops.
ellie75 More than 1 year ago
this is one of the best thrilling books McGarrity has written so far. It keeps you anxious till the ending. Very well written.
dimps More than 1 year ago
This was Michael McGarrity's very best Kevin Kerney novel! He has been building toward this story for some time and it was extremely satisfying. It is so refreshing to have an honest, moral man carry the day in this amoral world we life in. Keep up the good work, Mr. McGarrity!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
CraftNKats More than 1 year ago
Have added this latest addition to the Kevin Kerney series to my bookshelves. He is a good character, one you would like to know in real life. A real page turner, I could not put it down until it was finished. Michael McGarrity keeps Kevin fresh and ever-evolving. If this is the first in the series you have read, please go back and read the whole series... you will love the growth of the character not to mention each mystery getting solved.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoy reading "on location" and this book describes the New Mexico (Santa Fe and East)area very nicely. The continuity of characters from the first book makes this worthwhile, but the attention to the villain's criminal mind struck me as overdone. The author is still working on such aspects as he did in earlier works where undue attention to violence was present, again unnecessarily in my opinion. Overall, the relationships and the details of life as a police officer make these books fun to read. I want more of them.
RJ951 More than 1 year ago
McGarrity starting to show the strain of pumping out books too frequently. This one appears to be pumped out with much less plot development and character analysis than previous works. Too predictable.