The Apostle by J A Kerley (Carson Ryder #12)

J A Kerley The Memory KillerSynopsis: The Reverend Honus Schrum, a nationally renowned minister and owner of a broadcasting empire, tells the media he has come home to Key West to die. Meanwhile, Detective Carson Ryder is investigating the ritualistic murders of young women with chequered pasts, discovering the killings have religious overtones.

Simultaneously, a newly retired Harry Nautilus takes a job as a driver/bodyguard for Richard Owsley, an ambitious pastor in Mobile. They come to Florida, where Owsley meets with Schrum and is enlisted to complete a special and mysterious ‘project’ Schrum has promised a billionaire benefactor.

As Carson digs deeper into the murders, Harry, interest piqued by all the hush-hush goings-on of his new employer, begins to covertly investigate the strange project. Their independent investigations begin to converge, and Carson and Harry uncover a horrifying connection between the cases.

Kat’s Rating: 4/5

Kat’s Review: I really do like this series by Jack Kerley and was pleased to have caught up so I can go straight onto the newest release and Book number 13 entitled The Death File. In this latest release Carson is faced with a murder investigation that features some weird religious overtones. The absolute BEST part about this book is that we see the return of Harry Nautilus. Harry was Carson’s old partner but has now retired and has taken a job working as a driver to TV pastor Richard Owsley and his family.

Carson’s help this book comes in the form of Holly Belafonte, a young female originally from Bermuda. I really liked her and think she made a great team member along with Carson. I also love the fact that we see the return of Carson’s brother Jeremy. I have to be honest and say that as much as I really enjoyed this latest book the religious stuff really irritated after a while, but that’s just a personal thing I think.

What Carson and Harry soon realise is that there is a definite overlap with their jobs and before you know it they are both back side by side trying to layer back the secrets that form part of this weird circle of religious personalities. I really liked the daughter of pastor Richard Owsley, Rebecca. She and Harry made a prety good partnership! Overall a good read but frankly that was more down to the characters. I’m now really looking forward to the next book!

The Memory Killer by J A Kerley (Carson Ryder #11)

Synospsis: Detective Carson Ryder faces a cunning and inventive adversary in this terrifying thriller from the bestselling author of Her Last Scream.

Young men in Miami are being abducted and tortured after their drinks are spiked with a cocktail of drugs that leaves them unable to recall their ordeal. Despite this, Detective Carson Ryder knows the predator’s name, height, age, colouring … everything. It’s impossible for the perpetrator to avoid detection. Yet he does.

When Carson seeks answers from his brother, a wanted criminal intimate with twisted minds, Jeremy’s odd behaviour sparks even more questions. With each abduction, the violence becomes more horrific, and it’s only a short time until torture turns to murder.

But how do you catch an invisible man?

Kat’s Review: 4/5

Kat’s Review: The reason for stepping back from so many Blog Tours were books like these! I am a big Carson Ryder fan and I discovered it had been 3 years since I read one in this series and I was now 3 books behind so I got back in the saddle with book 11, determined to be caught up this year! Carson has moved areas and is now based in Miami Keys and works alongside Ziggy his colleague. I remembered quickly how much I liked Ziggy and how well he and Ryder go together, although he is certainly not as good as Harry (Carson’s old partner).

This latest installment sees young gay men in Miami being adbucted and tortured and it’s far from pretty. Jack Kerly has an incrediibly descriptive manner and this book’s descriptions of these men had my skin literally crawling. The story had me guessing at who the killer was which I alwasy love and I was so thrilled to see a little more of Carson’s personal life taking a turn for the better. It was fabulous to get back into this series and I realised that I had left it far too long. The other element of this story which has always made it that little bit more special is the addition of Carson’s brother Jeremy and yes, he is back (Thank GOD!).

I absolutely loved getting back in touch with Carson and Ziggy and the rest of the characters in this series. This is a great series of books and I just know that reading this one has put me back on track and I will soon be back to read book 12 in the series named The Apostle.

The Death Box by J A Kerley (Carson Ryder #10)

My rating: 5/5

 Synopsis: Carson Ryder thought he’d seen everything …

A specialist in twisted crimes, Detective Carson Ryder thought he’d seen the lowest depths of human depravity. But he’s barely started his new job in Miami when called to a horrific scene: a concrete pillar built of human remains, their agony forever frozen in stone.

Finding the secret of the pillar drags him into the sordid world of human trafficking, where one terrified girl holds the key to unravelling a web of pain, prostitution and murder. 

There’s just one problem: Ryder’s not the only one chasing the girl. And the others will kill to keep the secret safe.

My Review:  I’ve been reading about Carson Ryder since around the halfway mark with book 5 (this is book 10 in the series). Carson Ryder books are incredibly readable (if you know what I mean). They may not be books that have a major impact at the time, but there is something about this series which keeps me (and plenty of others) coming back for more.  This book however is by far my favourite and was an absolutely fantastic read. Carson is a pretty cool character and his old partner Harry was also a favourite of mine. However, Carson has moved on and is now in a new town down in the Florida Keys. It almost has a ‘fresh start’ feel to it, which certainly makes the book seem fresh even though this is now the tenth book in the series.

With Harry no longer by his side, I wondered whether anybody else would make an appearance. Sure enough when Carson gets drafted into a new Specialist team he is paired up with the least likely of people. Ziggy Gershwin appears to be a nerdy college type of kid that initially seems fresh out of nappies. Thankfully the pairing worked brilliantly and I found myself hoping this is the start of a new pairing. Carson and Ziggy end up getting drafter into a case that takes them into the very dark world of human trafficking. The bad guys were suitably bad, the storyline twisted enough to keep you turning the pages, and the characters are now so real to me I feel like I need to meet them!!!

Something seems to have shifted with this latest book and it’s all good. If you haven’t read any of the previous books, although not necessary I think it helps give you the background of Carson and his brother Jeremy. I can’t say too much (for fear of spoilers), but for those who have kept up with the series, we only see Jeremy for the briefest time. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that Jack Kerley has special things planned for book 11! I find it hard to believe that many people haven’t heard of J A Kerley, and if you are one of those people, yu may want to take notice. Kerley is a very talented author who has created a fantastic series that keeps you interested. The storylines are all great and there is no ‘padding things out’ just for the sake of word count. I am so pleased that I am up to date with the series and cannot wait to get my hands on the next book. A brilliant read that I didn’t want to put down.

The Killing Game by J A Kerley (Carson Ryder #9)

My Rating: 3/5

 So it’s been two years since the last JA Kerley release of a Carson Ryder Book. For those that don’t know, or have never read a JA Kerley book before, the books feature Police Detectives Carson Ryder and his partner Harry Nautilus. I haven’t read the early books from the series but picked it up from book 3 I think. In one sense, each book can be read as a standalone but I much prefer to have the history of characters from as early on as possible.

After a humiliating encounter with a cop, Romanian immigrant Gregory Nieves launches a vendetta against the Mobile Police Department, Alabama. Nieves can’t fight a department, so he selects one man who symbolizes all men in blue: Carson Ryder, the MPD’s specialist in bizarre and twisted crimes. From early on the reader knows who the killer is, but in a bizarre shift in books, it seems that it takes the majority of the book for Carson and Harry to figure it out. I would almost go as far as saying they seemed rather secondary to the main character; the killer!

I am really a fan of Kerley and this series, but couldn’t help feeling that we see less of Carson and Harry and too much insight into a sociopath! Don’t get me wrong, I am as interested as the next reader into how these people have no conscience and why, but this time around I felt like it was overdone. Also, there was only fleeting mentions of both Jeremy, Carson’s wacko but shockingly intelligent brother; and Harry’s niece Rein. Both of these characters’, I feel have earned places in the books and I kind of missed them both in equal measures.

Overall, the story was a decent enough one, but I missed the camaraderie between Harry and Carson, I missed other characters and felt like this time around the book was lacking its normal ‘oomph’. The ending gave way to a nice little opener for the tenth book in the series due in December 2013. I will as always really look forward to the next instalment. I just wish this latest book would have given me a little more than it did.

Her Last Scream by J A Kerley (Carson Ryder #8)

My Rating: 4/5

This book is the 8th release from jack Kerley in the Carson/Ryder Series. His last two books I really enjoyed but this one for me was better because I loved the story but not quite as good as others and I can’t even say why?!?

Detectives Carson Ryder and Harry Nautilus are not only partners but friends. They have been through a lot and soon become aware that this case is going to be maybe worse than previous ones. When women start turning up dead, there appears to be no connection. Before long it becomes clear that women who are in hiding from abusive partners enter a supposed safe route out, only to wind up in even more danger than when they left their partners.

Early on in the book we see first hand one of the women who is on the end of an abusive relationship and you almost wonder how long it’s going to be before the woman winds up dead. Although the subject matter was really unpleasant, Jack Kerley has written a corker of a story using this terrible crime as the basis for the book.

Harry and Carson are easy characters to like, even if you haven’t read any others in the series. I prefer to get to know the characters and their history which is why I tend to be a fan of series of books, but you can still read this as a stand alone book. Harry’s niece Reinetta Early has actually joined the force and to Harry’s dismay she wants to get involved in the case by going undercover as a woman on the run. I really liked Reinetta as she was feisty and young and seemingly up for doing anything needed to catch a killer. Of course it sets the scene for some extremely dangerous things happening. I think the pace was as usual kept quick the whole way through the book and as usual when reading Kerley’s books, you are in for some twists and turns. The one thing I really liked about this book was that I was convinced I had it all planned out as to who the killer was, only to be proved completely wrong!

The only thing I thought was lacking was anything major happening with Carson/Nautilus. I found that there was no `extra’ sparkle regarding wither of them. On reflection, maybe this is because Kerley wanted to make a platform for Reinetta to feature in follow up books, which I think would be a great move. Overall highly recommended!

Buried Alive by J A Kerley (Carson Ryder #7)

My Rating: 4/5

Jack Kerley has now written 7 of these books in the series featuring Detective Carson Ryder. I have not read the earlier books in the series but did read the last book entitled `Little Girls Lost’.

After Ryder witnesses the escape of the violent psychopath Bobby Crayline from prison, he decides a holiday is in order. He takes a rare break in the mountains with his faithful dog named Mix-Up (GREAT name for a dog by the way!). As usual, Carson’s break is interrupted, as any good fictional Detective should expect! He gets called to a grisly murder scene by an anonymous phone call.

His unexpected presence at the crime scene doesn’t go down well with local Detective Donna Cherry, but before long there are too many bodies to be fighting between themselves. Unwittingly Carson gets dragged into the murders and tries to help Cherry get to the bottom of it.

With the arrival of the FBI, things certainly don’t go smoothly and before long Carson realises there is a lot more at stake that a serial killer, as things and people from his past begin to emerge.

I enjoyed the last Kerley book I read and was looking forward to the next instalment. This didn’t disappoint in terms of Carson and the storyline. When I saw other reviews of the book, a couple of people complained there was a major plot spoiler quite early on that looked like an editorial mistake. Thankfully, I am not that bright and was so engrossed in the book I must have missed it!

Ryder is a great character and again is written well with all his baggage too. It’s nice to see him in an area that is not his local stomping ground and the character Donna Cherry made for a good match up as she is certainly not a pushover. The story itself starts with the escape of convict Bobby Crayline, and before long I forgot all about him while the other murders were taking place. This meant that there were two major plots running through the story which made it quite interesting.

The murder scenes were as usual very grisly and descriptive, but I must point out that Jack Kerley actually made me wince whilst reading one particular section of the book. I actually had to stop reading one scene involving a dead corpse laid out for viewing as it had my stomach turning! Either I have a very active imagination, or he is a great writer. I think it may be a combination of the two, but it makes for great reading.

The introduction of Carson’s brother was very interesting and although I don’t want to introduce a plot spoiler, I am glad the story panned out the way it did giving the story more room to grow in future books. The book was paced very well and towards the end we see it reach its climax and wrap things up nicely. All in all, once again a thoroughly enjoyable read, although not one for the weak stomached!

Little Girls Lost by J A Kerley (Carson Ryder #6)

My Rating: 4/5

 I confess that I have never read any work by J A Kerley but the jacket info was enough to convince me it was worth a try. It comes under the Thriller/Suspense category and is justified to be there I can assure you. I picked the book up with absolutely no expectations and was really pleased that I made the choice to read this.

This is apparently the 4th book in the Carson Ryder Series however I can only judge based on this book which can quite easily be read as a stand alone novel. Carson Ryder is a Homicide Detective in Alabama and he is called in to help with a case where young girls are disappearing. The only problem is that so far there are multiple girls going missing, but no bodies, no clues and nothing to even indicate what on earth is going on. Unfortunately for Ryder his partner Harry Nautilus is in hospital after being mysteriously attacked and left for dead.

Connor Sandhill is an ex cop who now runs a restaurant and is know as the `Gumbo King’. Connor left the police force under circumstances that seemed highly suspicious although he has never confirmed or denied any of the rumours. With no leads and being on his own Ryder decides to enlist the help of Connor as he has a reputation at solving very difficult cases.

At the same time Connor finds himself in the unfortunate position of being a babysitter for his ex-girlfriends sister. Little Jacy is only 9 and when Connor finally agrees to watch her he finds juggling that with working on the case. The nightmares he has regarding the missing children become an awful reality when he realises Jacy is missing. Both he and Ryder now have to face the fact that there is a good chance that these little girls will never be seen again. The question is can they wade through the murky waters of bent cops, angry citizens and the mayor to find the person responsible.

I must say that the first 3 or 4 chapters were a little on the slow side but by chapter 5 I realised that I needn’t have worried as the story flowed and I didn’t want to put the book down. The story itself was good but the characters weren’t as good as they could have been in my opinion. I absolutely adored Connor Sandhill as a cop that played the rules his own way to get the desired results. Carson Ryder was another story. He lacked something (which I can’t put my finger on). It seemed like he never really came into his own and that was a little disappointing but didn’t lessen the enjoyment for me. Overall I thought it was a great read and I would definitely recommend and certainly would read other books in the follow up series.