Jack Kerley - The Hundredth Man

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From Booklist

Carson Ryder is a Mobile, Alabama, police detective whose key role in solving a serial-killer case landed him a place on a special unit devoted to psycho crimes. Like almost all the characters in this narrative locomotive of a first novel, Carson has a secret: his ability to crack the serial-killer case had a lot to do with advice he got from his brother, who has reason to know how psychos think. Now another serial killer is at work, beheading his (or her) male victims and leaving cryptic messages carved on their bodies. As Carson and his partner (perhaps the most appealing character in the book), veteran cop Harry Nautilus, investigate the murders, they quickly become ensnared both in department politics and in a quagmire of secrets involving the medical staff at the morgue. Kerley jacks up the tension effectively with nicely placed jumps between Carson's narration and the tortured thoughts of the killer, building to an all-stops-out climax involving a raging river and a supremely horrific home movie. There are moments where the book nearly zooms out of control--especially during the over-the-top climax--but, finally, the powerful forward motion of the narrative and the compelling forensic and psychological detail more than compensate for the heroine-tied-to-the-tracks melodrama. The finale aside, Kerley's plot is a treasure chest of interlocked pieces, each holding a secret, a link in the chain connecting the novel's characters to the demons in their various closets. Kerley isn't the new Ridley Pearson quite yet, but don't bet against him. Bill Ott Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved