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Death Song    by Michael McGarrity order for
Death Song
by Michael McGarrity
Order:  USA  Can
Dutton, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

In Lincoln County, New Mexico, a recently hired sheriff's deputy is ambushed and killed by a shotgun wielding murderer. At about the same time, in Santa Fe County, the deputy's wife is brutally murdered and her body is hidden in a horse-trailer. Early evidence points to the fact that the couple's eighteen year old son - missing and nowhere to be found - might be either involved in, or have important information related to the homicides.

Now, police forces from two counties must begin working together in an attempt to solve the apparently related crimes. In one county, Santa Fe Police Chief Kevin Kerney is only a few weeks away from retirement, but he will not even think about retirement while an unsolved murder remains in his jurisdiction. In Lincoln County, Sergeant Clayton Istee - Kerney's Mescalero Apache son - will reluctantly join the task force. The two-county task force is determined to find and arrest whoever was responsible for killing the deputy and his wife.

Kerney and Istee, though, realize that all the odds are against them. There are few clues, no apparent motives, and no identifiable (or locatable) suspects - other than perhaps the missing eighteen year old son. The investigation soon leads to drug dealers, more murders, something that may have been hidden at the remote cabin where the murdered sheriff's deputy had been staying, and a race against the clock to catch a cold-blooded killer who seems unstoppable.

The gripping and well-crafted Death Song, author Michael McGarrity's eleventh novel, confirms his critical reputation as a superb writer of police procedural mysteries with a singular gift for 'artful, intelligent, and well-paced' plots. Former deputy sheriff McGarrity's complex characterizations and atmospheric settings combine with his richly detailed knowledge of police work, and the result - in this his latest and perhaps best Kevin Kerney novel - is top-notch entertainment.

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