In the first of a planned trilogy, McGarrity takes a break from his Kevin Kerney mysteries (Dead or Alive) to trace the long history of the Kerney family. In 1875, John Kerney settles on the west Texas plains with optimistic plans to build his Double K ranch brand. However, after the death of his wife during childbirth and the murder of his brother and nephew by thieves, John leaves the ranch and his child behind to hunt the murderers. Though this novel of the old West features cowboys, rustlers, expansive ranches, outlaws, and skirmishes with the Apache, its characters also deal with the shrinking of the frontier as the United States expands into their once-remote territory. VERDICT McGarrity took great care in reviving the old West with accuracy, citing works on cowboy daily life and important historical characters in his author's note. Any readers interested in the Western genre will be delighted by McGarrity's take on harsh frontier life, and loyal fans of detective Kevin Kerney will be excited to see this prequel. [See Prepub Alert, 11/21/11.]--Brooke Bolton, North Manchester P.L., IN[Page 72]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This sprawling western saga shakes trail dust through three generations of New Mexico ranchers carving out a place in the Tularosa Basin at the end of the frontier era. McGarrity, a former Santa Fe deputy sheriff and author of the long-running Kevin Kerney mystery series, gives his police chief protagonist a familiar family backstory, sending Civil War veteran John Kerney to the New Mexico territory to establish a ranch in an era when work was tough, cowboys were tougher, and daily life was an uncertain proposition. McGarrity knows and loves the harsh landscape, but his characters are sparely drawn, and the emotionally stunted, suspicious, and compulsively misanthropic Patrick Kerney makes for a difficult protagonist to carry the family saga element of this expansive novel. Insights are spelled out, rather than shown. "The forsaken, lost little boy who lived inside of Patrick made him who he was, but that didn't give him the right to bully her," and the frequent cowboy talk is laid on too thickly. But fans of McGarrity's modern police procedurals will appreciate his chronicle of a time and place that he obviously cares for. (May 10)[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC