SOME LIKE THEM DEAD by James Davidson II


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An Air Force investigator with heightened senses tracks a serial killer.


Elliot Turner has a premonition during an undercover narc operation. The resulting “incident” saves his life but gets him tucked away in an OSI (Office of Special Investigations) office in Colorado. When the mutilated body of a young boy is found, Elliot utilizes his uncharacteristically profound senses, along with a sixth one, to expose the work of a serial killer. It isn’t long before Elliot determines that the suspect is likely military personnel. Elliot is a curious, sometimes disagreeable protagonist. His view of women is superficial, as he’s more accustomed to recognizing physical traits, and he’s prone to incongruous behavior: he mockingly calls the pathologist a “genius” when he speaks in medical terminology and then mocks him further when the doctor tries to simplify his assessment. But Elliot displays qualities to which readers can relate, such as a fear of his mortality when he’s near a dead body. The most disarming aspect of the author’s debut novel is the treatment of Elliot’s apparent ESP as a characteristic, not a superpower. Elliot’s psychic facility is unreliable, and he makes mistakes, at one point voicing an intuition that he erroneously recalls as knowledge. Elliot occasionally acts erratically—zoning out during conversations—but, while it’s understandable that others would be wary of him, it’s peculiar when his sound, reasonable theory on the killer’s identity is initially not given much merit. The killer is given his own perspective, which is unsettling when recounting his crimes, particularly since many of his victims are very young. Lightweight banter often acts as relief from the more serious, intense moments, though it’s at times undue. Some of the supporting characters become interchangeable, with the exception of Elliot’s partner, Sally, and forensic consultant and friend, Drake. Sally and Drake’s checkered past, a relationship that ended badly, leads to amusing verbal brawls.


A methodical story that warrants attention, bolstered by a refreshingly imperfect hero and a killer who may take a midnight stroll through a reader’s retention.

Pub Date: July 21st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1456763084
Page count: 363pp
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Program: Kirkus Indie
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