Jack. The Hundredth Man. Dutton. June 2004. c.320p. ISBN 0-525-94821-X.
debut introduces Carson Ryder, a homicide detective
in Mobile, AL. He and his partner, Harry Nautilus,
a black man with a “rhyming affliction,” are
assigned to a unit that investigates murders
displaying psychopathological tendencies. They
are quickly put to the test when several decapitated
victims turn up with cryptic messages written
on their bodies. An alcoholic female pathologist
and an obstructive police captain bucking to
become a deputy chief complicate the proceedings.
What no one knows is that Carson had help solving
the case that got him his job. His intuitive
brilliance is derived, in part, from the insights
of his deranged older brother, who has been
locked up for killing their abusive father
and the five women who raised them [RT: an
editorial change here resulted in an egregious
error; the original read: five women, stand-ins
for the mother who failed to protect the boys].
This is a pitch-perfect psychological thriller,
notable for its wit, depth of characterization,
gripping plot, highly effective back-stories,
and the richness of the world portrayed. Highly
recommended for all public libraries.