DEAD OR ALIVE by Michael McGarrity


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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 attaché 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.

Pub Date: Jan. 6th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-525-95081-3
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2008


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