Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dead or Alive (Kevin Kerney, #12)” as Want to Read:
Dead or Alive (Kevin Kerney, #12)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Dead or Alive (Kevin Kerney #12)

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  337 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Fans of Cormac MaCarthy’s No Country for Old Men and Tony Hillerman’s Navajo County mysteries will find Michael McGarrity’s Dead or Alive a powerful story of the manhunt for a deranged killer in the American Southwest.

Living in London while his wife serves as a military attaché at the American Embassy, recently retired Santa Fe Police Chief Kevin Kerney gets an early morn
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published December 26th 2008 by Dutton Adult (first published December 24th 2008)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dead or Alive, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Dead or Alive

North and South by Elizabeth GaskellMoll Flanders by Daniel DefoeLittle Men / Little Women Boxed Set by Louisa May AlcottWar and Peace by Leo TolstoyThe Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Polar Opposites
71st out of 100 books — 15 voters
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. RowlingRosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom StoppardDeath on the Nile by Agatha ChristieThe Dead by James JoyceAngel of Death by Karen Dales
Wanted Dead or Alive
261st out of 272 books — 23 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 529)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
#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
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"
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
William Smith
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 3 of 5 stars
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
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
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.
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.
Bonnye Reed
As usual, this was an excellent book. Michael McGarrity knows and loves the landscape and people of New Mexico with the same passion as we other New Mexicans, and his words bring me back to the land that I love.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
I usually enjoy Michael McGarrity's books, and was glad to see a new one out. However, it seems like the murders in this book went beyond what was needed for a good story. I get that the villian was really a very, very bad man, but---it's like the different murders are just put in to extend the book...hope his next one is back on track with the rest of the series.
Although I typically thoroughly enjoy this series, I must say I was disappointed with this book. Too much senseless killing by the bad guy. The author was undoubtedly trying to establish Larson as a psychopath and narcissist, but I thought it was clumsily done and gratuitous.
Hopefully this was a one-off poor effort and not a trend in the series.
Fredrick Danysh
While being transported to a new prison, Craig Larson escapes and starts a killing spree. When Police Chief Paul Hewett is ambushed and crippled and former chief Kevin Kerney partner is murdered, Kerney and his Apache son join the hunt. Political infighting takes place among the varipus agengies involved in the hunt.
Great book but very, very graphic scenes of violence and sexual violence that will be upsetting for some readers.
Vickie T
A killer escapes from prison and goes on a killing spree in New Mexico, which brings Kearny home from London to investigate with his son Clayton Istee. I really didn't care for this one as much as the other Kearny books. The story is partially told from the killers point of view which I did not enjoy.
It is the continuing story of retired Santa Fe Police Chief Kevin Kerney. If you have read the series you know Kevin has had many traumas and like changing experiences in his life, including finding a son he never knew about, who as fate may have it is a policeman at the Reservation.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 17 18 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Compare villan in Dead or Alive to Lonesome Dove 1 6 Mar 29, 2009 05:37PM  
  • Blue Rodeo
  • Bad Medicine (Ella Clah, #3)
  • Little Saigon
  • The Laws of Harmony
  • Biting the Moon (Andi Oliver, #1)
  • Double Prey (Posadas County Mystery, #8)
  • The Night Visitor (Charlie Moon, #5)
  • Vengeance (Lew Fonesca, #1)
  • The Ninth Clan (Migration Trilogy #1)
  • Living Witness (Gregor Demarkian, #24)
  • Concrete Desert
  • Mending the Moon

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)
Tularosa (Kevin Kerney, #1) Mexican Hat (Kevin Kerney, #2) Serpent Gate (Kevin Kerney, #3) Hermit's Peak (Kevin Kerney, #4) Hard Country (Kerney Family, #1)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »