Head Wounds: A Kevin Kerney Novel (Kevin Kerney Novels)
Clayton Istee, son of retired police chief Kevin Kerney, goes up against an elusive Mexican hitman in a mesmerizing story of murder, revenge, and redemption.
Given a chance to salvage his law enforcement career, Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Detective Clayton Istee catches a bizarre late-night double homicide at a Las Cruces hotel. Both victims, a man and a woman, have been scalped with their throats cut.
The murders show all the signs of a signature hit, but national and state crime databases reveal no similar profiles. Digging into the victims’ backgrounds, Clayton discovers that six months prior the couple had walked out of a nearby casino with $200,000 of a high-stakes gambler’s money.
He also learns the crime had been hushed up by an undercover federal DEA agent, who resurfaces and recruits Clayton for a dangerous mission to seize the Mexican drug lord responsible for the killings.
Thrust into the nightmare world of borderland drug wars and corrupt cops, Clayton duels with a cunning assassin poised to kill him and his family in a ferocious climax to the Kevin Kerney series that is sure to stun.
Bestseller McGarrity's exceptional 14th Kevin Kerney novel (after 2018's Residue) focuses on the retired police chief's son, Clayton Istee, a sheriff's detective in Do a Ana County, N.Mex. Clayton, who's dispatched to a hotel where someone scalped a man and woman after slitting their throats, recognizes the victims as Lucy Nautzile, a mother of two he'd known for all of her life, and her companion, James Goggin. Two years earlier, the pair went on the run after embezzling $200,000 from a casino on a Native American reservation. Clayton learns that the money was actually stolen from a casino patron, making revenge for the theft a probable motive. The plot thickens when an undercover DEA agent meets Clayton and reveals that the m.o. of the killings matches that of a Mexican freelance assassin known as El Jefe. Superior prose ("the spires of the Organ Mountains tinged gold from the sun low on the western horizon"), expert plotting, and believable characters make this a standout. Fans of gritty crime novels will be rewarded.
Had hoped for a little better. Still OK if you’ve followed the series.
A Kearney Novel in Name Only
Plot holes, grammatical and writing errors, and very little of either main character - Kearney or Istee. Wish I could return it.
Not McGarrity’s usual quality
This is titled a “Kearny” book but there wasn’t enough involvement of the Kearny family in this book for me.