JA Kerley

Harper Collins 6.99pbk

Released: 14th October 2010

Reviewer: Keith Miles


Keith Miles is probably best recognised by readers under the pen name of Edward Marston. He writes several well-received historical mysteries spanning the 11th century through to the 19th century. His website is www.edwardmarston.com

This is a high-octane thriller that kicks off with a bang. Carson Ryder,a detective who specialises in cold cases, is summoned to the Alabama Institute for Aberrational Behaviour because psychopath Bobby Lee Crayline is about to be hypnotised at the request of his legal team. Ryder is against the idea ("Regressing Crayline could blow him off his hinges.") He rushes to the Institute in time to witness Crayline going berserk. Shortly afterwards, Crayline manages to escape.

When Ryder goes on vacation in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, it's meant to be a complete break from work but he's soon involved in the hunt for a serial killer with a love of the grotesque. One victim has a soldering iron inserted in his anus, another is drowned while dressed bizarrely as a hooker, a third is slowly crushed to death under a snack van and a fourth (are you still with me?) is sliced open, disembowelled and filled with horse manure before being sewn up again with bootlaces. This is not a book for the faint-hearted.

Crayline reappears and so does Ryder's crazed half-brother, Jeremy, who both helps and hinders Ryder. In the course of a headlong investigation, Ryder has a brief romance with Detective Donna Cherry until she's abducted. The vital clues lie buried in the past and Ryder has to unearth them before he can identify and catch the serial killer. Strong stuff with a complex plot, pulsating action and endless touches of the macabre.






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