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by Jack Kerley
HarperCollins UK, May 2006
528 pages
6.99 GBP
ISBN: 0007180616

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Detectives Carson Ryder and Harry Nautilus are called to a crime scene at the Cozy Cabins motel in Mobile, Alabama, where a woman has been brutally murdered and that there are candles all over suggesting a ritualistic crime.

Ryder and Nautilus are members of the psychopathological and sociopathological investigative two-man team. It was all a publicity stunt that stuck and these are the two detectives whom they call when it comes to the woo-woo stuff.

There is something that is not quite right about the crime scene, but they manage to trudge right along. It is not until they receive a tip from a retired cop that starts putting things into motion and leading them to a former Charlie Manson-type killer named Marsden Hexcamp.

Thirty years ago Hexcamp was going to be convicted for being the mastermind in a series of murders in which he and his followers would kill women and create 'art' from the victims. Hexcamp was shot inside a courthouse by one of his followers and his 'art' has disappeared, creating some sort of urban legend in which collectors of serial killer memorabilia are looking for it as sort of a Holy Grail.

These missing art pieces are at the source of the investigation forcing Carson to go to where he does not want to go. He needs to get close to these 'death collectors' in order to get clues to the recent murders, but for that he needs to come with a treasure and only one person can help him, his brother Jeremy.

If he has to go to him, he has to be desperate. After all, his brother is quite insane and a murderer. He is currently at a mental institution just dying to get out and hoping to create some mayhem to get back at his brother. Still, Jeremy is delighted that his brother has come to him looking for some unique memorabilia to bring to the death collectors.

THE DEATH COLLECTORS is a fast-paced read that brings some elements of dark humor and is a good suspense novel. There are plenty of surprises inside this book and few, if any, are predictable. This book is tidings for great things to come. Both Carson and Jeremy are two engaging characters and their dynamics are unique in mystery fiction today. One of these days there will be a showdown and it will be good. However if Kerley manages to create good suspenseful novels such as this one, it will be worth the wait. If you enjoy a good serial killer book, you need look no further. This book delivers.

Reviewed by Angel L. Soto, July 2006

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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