*Kerley, Jack. The Hundredth Man. Dutton. June 2004. c.320p. ISBN 0-525-94821-X. $23.95. Fiction.

Kerley’s sterling 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.

LJ, 129, no. 7 (April 15, 2004), 124.

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