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    Review of THE HUNDREDTH MAN by Jack Kerley

    Dutton, June 2004

    Carson Ryder single-handedly solved a complex serial-killer case as a patrolman and now is something of a wunderkind in the Mobile, Alabama, Police Department. He and his partner, Detective Harry Nautilus, head up the PSIT Squad-- psychopathological and Sociopathological Investigative Team, and they are supposed to have authority over any murders that show signs of, well, craziness. Unfortunately he has powerful enemies who see him as a threat and will do anything to undermine his success. So when another serial killer--one who beheads his male victims--comes on the scene, his worst enemy, the ambitious Captain Terrence Squill, does everything he can to prevent Ryder from solving the case or even having any authority to investigate it. But Ryder feels so strongly that he can solve it--and that Squill is on the wrong track, that he risks his career and his life to do so.

    The fascinating, three-dimensional characters, the twists and turns of an authentically portrayed murder investigation, and the raw beauty of the Alabama landscape and coastal areas mix into a rich stew of a novel that is, at times, quite terrifying. Told in first person, we occasionally get to dip into the killer's mind. And while I've seen this technique used in many, many novels, seldom have I seen it used to such good effect. This is easily the best mystery-suspense novel I've read so far this year--and it's a first novel. I look forward to more.

    Five Stars

    Note: gives out only one 5 Star rating each year in any given category. THE HUNDREDTH MAN is that book for 2004. Congratulations to Jack Kerley for his win.

    Reviewed 7/11/04

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