A review of Head Wounds by Michael McGarrity

Michael McGarrity wrote the first twelve books in his Kevin Kerney series quite some time ago, in the 1990s and 2000s, and has only recently returned with two new titles.  Head Wounds is the second of these.  I was a little surprised to find that Kerney’s late-found son, Clayton Istee, who appears part way through the earlier books, is the main protagonist in this one, rather than Kerney himself.   But as I thought about it, this makes sense – if characters are going to age normally in a long series, eventually they need to pass the torch to a new generation.   And Istee makes just as engaging of a lead character (although obviously somewhat different) as Kerney.

Head Wounds is a complex story that moves back and forth between a traditional police investigation and a drug-trafficking storyline with a lot of action.   I’m very much a fan of police procedurals and so I especially liked those parts of the book, but McGarrity does a nice job of keeping the various threads moving along and I found myself enjoying the whole thing.    I sympathized with Istee as he tried to balance his home and work lives, and I winced along with him when he ended up missing an important family event while working on this case.    I also very much liked the descriptions of the American southwest.   My dad’s family is from New Mexico and I enjoyed McGarrity’s elegant portrayals of the high desert landscape.    And I was even happier when, from time to time, I recognized some landmark from my personal experience there.

All-in-all, I very much enjoyed Head Wounds, and now I mean to go back and find the first of the two “new books” to read.  Please keep in mind that I try to fight star-flation a little bit, so my four-star rating is a solid favorable review, and means that I very much recommend this book to read.   And my thanks to WW Norton and Edelweiss for the review copy!

Buy at Kindle US  |  Kobo US

2 thoughts on “A review of Head Wounds by Michael McGarrity”

  1. Michael McGarrity’s Kevin Kerney books don’t go on sale very often, and are pretty expensive when not on sale. Which is a shame, because I really liked a lot of the earlier books when I read them back in real-paper-book days. So I’m happy to see Residue, which is the first of two series titles that McGarrity wrote after a hiatus of about a decade, go on sale for $2.99 in the US – and discountable at Kobo US. And, of course, Head Wounds is the first of those two, and you can see from my review in the OP just above that I liked that one a lot. So I’m hopeful for Residue too!

    Kindle US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BLKPQYV
    Kobo US: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/residue-a-kevin-kerney-novel-kevin-kerney-novels

  2. As I’ve complained about up above, Michael McGarrity’s books don’t often go on sale in the US, and when they do, the “sale price” is usually $4.99 or $5.99. That’s better than their non-sale prices, which are mostly $9.99 and up, but still not great. But now here’s Mexican Hat, which is the second Kevin Kerney book, on sale for $1.99 in the US. So grab it fast if you want it!.

    Kindle US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005KKB7E8
    Kobo US (discountable): https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/mexican-hat-a-kevin-kerney-novel-kevin-kerney-novels

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