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.