Dead or Alive
Dutton, Jan 2009, $25.95
Escaped psychopathic convict Craig Larson goes on a killing rampage murdering everyone it seems in his path. Among the victims is Riley Burke, business partner to former Santa Fe police chief Kevin Kerney.
Outraged by the Burke death and just back from London where his spouse works in the American embassy, Kerney vows to bring the maniac to justice. However that pledge is easier said than done, as Larson leaves corpses in several southwest states. Working as a temporary New Mexico State Police special investigator, Kerney and his son Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant Clayton Istee lead a state wide manhunt.
The keys to this wild manhunt are the relationship between the father and son law enforcement pair who only recently learned of their DNA connection and the deep look at multi-jurisdiction police investigations. The story line is fast-paced and filled with much more blood than the usual Kerney whodunit (see NOTHING BUT TROUBLE) and a strong sense of locale that would have pleased the late Tony Hillerman. In some macabre ways Larson steals the show as he makes the plot with his murderous spree that turns what looks like a blue state red.