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Dead Or Alive (Kevin Kerney, #12)
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Dead Or Alive (Kevin Kerney #12)

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  413 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
"A taut and tidy thriller"("San Diego Union-Tribune") focusing on a manhunt for a deranged killer--from the nationally bestselling author who "gets better and better."("Tony Hillerman ")
Living in London while his wife serves as a military attache at the American Embassy, recently retired Santa Fe police chief Kevin Kerney gets an early morning phone call that changes ever
ebook, 304 pages
Published December 26th 2008 by New American Library (first published December 24th 2008)
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Jan 31, 2015 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#12 in the Kevin Kerney series. Kerney has retired as police chief in Santa Fe, NM and is living in London with his Army officer wife. I assume that this is the end of the series. After this 2009 series entry, Author McGarrity has turned his sights on the American West Trilogy of which the second volume was published in 2014.

Kevin Kerney is living in London while Sara is the Army military attache. He returns to New Mexico when Riley Burke, his partner in a horse breeding venture, is gunned down
Tom Gorski
Nov 05, 2014 Tom Gorski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While the subject matter was rather gruesome throughout the story (psychopath serial killer)the book as a whole was simply another fine Michael McGarrity novel. I enjoyed the process of Kerney and his son Clayton coming to know and respect one another. This was a 2009 publication and currently marks the end of the series even though the book itself closes with connections for a further novel. After this book McGarrity embarked on a trilogy covering the history of the Kerney family and the first ...more
Pamela Pickering
McGarrity's Kevin Kerney series is a nice "go to" for an easy, quick read. Mystery/detective novels aren't my preferred genre but occasionally I need what they have to offer. I've enjoyed several in the Kevin Kerney series--have experienced most of them on audio--and this is my first actual "read".

I think this series appeals to me because it is in my home state. It's so nice to have a detective series set somewhere other than LA or NYC so more of the nation can identify with it. "Dead or Alive"
Sep 07, 2015 Ed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Modern Western crime fans
This, the 12th novel in the Kevin Kearney series, while not the best, is a riveting story of a serial killer gone crazy and the efforts to bring him to justice.

Kerney returns to New Mexico from London where he and his wife Army Major Patricia and their son Patrick are living as the major finishes up her military career as a liaison to the British in the U.S embassy. He returns because a psychopath, Craig Larson, is mistakenly sent to a minimum security prison. On the way there, Larson escapes a
Jun 14, 2009 Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2009
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
William Smith
Apr 25, 2010 William Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished reading Dead or Alive in paperback by Michael McGarrity, the 12th in The Kevin Kerney Novel series. I've read them all, over the years. As Tony Hillerman, since deceased, is quoted on the back cover, "How good it is to follow a detective created by a man who has been there and done that." Over the years, Kerney, the lead character has held numerous New Mexico law enforcement positions, which has made the series especially interesting. He is now in semi-retirement (my description) ...more
Doug Clark
Dead or Alive by Michael McGarrity is the 12th novel in his series about New Mexican law officer, Kevin Kearney. I was first told of these novels by a friend who knew I liked the Navajo mysteries of Tony Hillerman. I stared reading the series in the late 1990s. The first of the series, Tularosa, was published in 1996, and I liked it quite a bit, so I’ve been along for the ride. Dead or Alive was published originally in late 2008 and I just now read it. First, the bad news is that Kevin Kerney is ...more
Feb 23, 2009 Michael rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of western mysteries
Recommended to Michael by: I am a fan of this author from earlier work.
Readers who enjoyed Gunsmoke or Bonanza in the early days of TV will enjoy this plot driven novel. "Dead or Alive" is an exciting adventure of the west with a modern setting.

Craig Larson is one of the truly villanous characters in recent times. His killing spree is reminiscent of the legendary villain Blue Duck from the wonderful "Lonesome Dove."

At one point in the story when Larson decides that he wants to kill cops, he reminded me of Blue Duck who came upon Gus McCrae at a stream, while McC
Gloria Bernal
This is the last to date (2009) in the series on Kevin Kerney, retired police chief of Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is in London with his wife Sarah, an Army Officer stationed there, when the murder of his partner at his ranch in New Mexico draws Kerney back home to see to things, and he predictably gets involved in the hunt for the murderer, along with his half-native son Officer Clayton Istee. This could have been so much more... a chance for more character development between father/son Kerney an ...more
Ryan Mishap
Jul 15, 2009 Ryan Mishap rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-crime
Long time mystery writers seem to trend towards writing thrillers as their series continue. This is the worst thing a mystery writer can do. Knowing the bad guy right away takes the "whodunit" fun out of the genre--most mystery/crime books aren't trying to say anything important or be great literature so the most important aspect is the mystery. Take that away and all you have is an adventure or suspense book.
This one has little suspense. A convicted embezzler escapes and then goes on a killing
Jan 16, 2016 Franny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
McGarrity's Kevin Kearney and Clayton Istee make a good team, once again, as they chase an escaped convict on a killing spree all over New Mexico. The plot is a little overwrought and Clayton's tracking skills somewhat overdone in this latest of the series. Also, you'll need a scorecard to keep track of the murders - I lost count a couple of times.
Mark Edlund
Mystery series

Not as good as his previous books with the Kerney character. Dialogue with the villain bordered on elementary school. And for a retired cop, Kerney is still quite involved.
Canadian reference - Bad guy heads for Canadian border
Pharmacy reference - Bad guy goes into pharmacy for some supplies; Kerney gets a prescription filled at the hospital pharmacy.
Apr 07, 2014 Gay rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A decent tale for driving a long distance, but not a great book. The killer is unforgiving and goes on a rampage across state lines. Not that memorable of a book, but it is placed in New Mexico and the tracking of the killer by a former Santa Fe police chief and his half-Apache son makes for some exciting moments.
Sep 21, 2014 Swanbender2001 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I discovered two things while reading this book; I really like George Guidall as a narrator and I really want more of this series. McGarrity does a fine job creating characters with a sense of dignity, humor and morality that ring as very important for us to be exposed to.
Jan 17, 2009 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
I've been reading this series from (almost) the beginning, so I can't trust myself to be objective about it; these characters are almost like friends by now. But I can tell you that the author never resorts to stale storylines, and his police methodology is flawless (he has a respectable law enforcement background). Kevin Kerney is a fascinating (if cantankerous) main character, and the author's descriptions of the New Mexico wilderness areas will make you feel as if you are there. There's somet ...more
Jan 17, 2015 Lynn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A serial killer is plaguing several small communities in New Mexico. It's pretty gory and not very suspenseful. I thought it was just kind of flat.
May 15, 2014 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book I have read by this author. I am going to need to go back and read the first in this series, I found him very enjoyable.
Oct 20, 2014 Dennis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book by this author that I have read. I expect him to soon be one of my favorites as I expect to be reading more of his work.
Didn't realize this was part of a series until i started reading this book which is number 12 the series which probably diminshed my appreciation of the story.

A violent killer is released to a minimum security prison due to a case of mistaken identity. While in transit he dupes the guard into pulling over and uncuffing him which leads to the guard's death and the killers escape. Instead of slipping into oblivion the killer goes on an increasingly violent murder spree bringing Kevin Kerney and hi
One of the more gritty books in the Kevin Kerney series.
Aug 10, 2015 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sad that this is the end of the series, so far.
Barefoot Danger
Nov 09, 2015 Barefoot Danger rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ugh, this isn't a murder mystery. This is a sadistic book written by a sadistic author about some sadistic creep shooting and raping his way across new mexico. You can practically hear McGarrity's sick hard-on straining his Wrangler jeans with each horribly written chapter ughgurhggbgbg
This was my least favorite McGarrity book so far. I like a good mystery (murder or otherwise) but this was over the top. Plus, it felt too coincidental that it started with Clayton's family.
A little more gory that his others. I can't wait for the next one
Viann Beadle
Mar 09, 2013 Viann Beadle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the most suspenseful and bloodiest book in the Kevin Kerney series. But, if you haven't read the earlier ones, hold off because they really need to be read in order. I love the fact that McGarrity has set each book in a different part of New Mexico because it is a very diverse state.

Now that McGarrity has turned to historical fiction I don't know whether he will return to Kerney series but I hope he does. Maybe something set in Little Texas?
Mary Sue
Nov 16, 2010 Mary Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A change of pace for a Kevin Kerney novel. We know the murderer right away. He is a serial killer, who enjoys the thrill of the kill and it doesn't matter who it is. Kerney flys back to New Mexico from London to deal with the murder of his ranch foreman. As the murders pile up Kerney's Apache son also gets involved as sheriff's deputy in Lincoln County. Very little of Kerney's wife in this book and I say Yipee! I think he deserves much better.
Vannessagrace Vannessagrace
Retired Police Chief Kevin Kerney and his son Lieutenant Clayton Istee have their hands full trying to track a psychotic murderer. This one is personal for Kerney and Istee. The killer killed Kerney’s friend and business partner and Istee’s friend and police partner. The father and son police team track the killer from state to state and through mountain terrain.

Michael McGarrity takes us on an edge of your seat chase.
Oct 08, 2015 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took a long time to get to a predictable ending.
Edna Little Fish In Running Waters Spring
Another fantastic mystery I couldn't lay down by Michael Mc Garrity.
I think they are so interesting is because he was a was a Deputy Sheriff, taught at the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy and was an Investigator in the New Mexico Public Defender's Office.
There were at least three stories running through the book, One re: Craig Larson, One his Twin Kerry and the other was the chief investigators.
Jan 24, 2009 Barbara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Not one of McGarrity's best. The plot is a manhunt story. You know from the beginning who the bad guy is. McGarrity spends a lot of ink showing us just how bad a baddie he is--rather too much ink, I thought. And the baddie is not very clever--the police are always nipping at his heels. The excitement doesn't really kick in until the baddie and the cops are stalking each other through the wilderness.
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Other Books in the Series

Kevin Kerney (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Tularosa (Kevin Kerney, #1)
  • Mexican Hat (Kevin Kerney, #2)
  • Serpent Gate (Kevin Kerney, #3)
  • Hermit's Peak (Kevin Kerney, #4)
  • The Judas Judge (Kevin Kerney, #5)
  • Under the Color of Law (Kevin Kerney, #6)
  • The Big Gamble (Kevin Kerney, #7)
  • Everyone Dies (Kevin Kerney, #8)
  • Slow Kill (Kevin Kerney, #9)
  • Nothing But Trouble (Kevin Kerney, #10)

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