The Hundredth Man (2005) by Jack Kerley

And so on to the letter K in the Alphabet of Crime Fiction. I had a difficult time finding a K, so I resorted to another trip to the charity shop. I came up with The Hundredth Man by Jack Kerley. I always planned this blog as a way of introducing myself to new writers, and I rarely read books of this ilk, so it seemed an excellent choice. And then I read it. And then I remembered why I rarely read books like this.

The basic plot – Carson Ryder is a serial killer chasing cop, riding high on the success of his one case. When a headless corpse turns up with small cryptic writing on his… erm… just above his groin, Ryder investigates. But Ryder has a secret – his brother is a locked-up serial killer whose advice solved his first case and is desperate to help with this one. Honest.

I finished reading this a day ago and it’s already fading from my memory. I sort of feel bad reviewing it, to be honest, as it’s hard to distinguish between my general distaste for this sort of thing and the book itself. It’s hardly a work of fine art but even with my blinkers on, I really didn’t enjoy this book at all. It’s obviously a fine line between fiction and realism in these books, but the idea of a serial killer brother seemed suitably bonkers. Bet he escapes in a future book…

The serial killer bits are appropriately unpleasant, but the brother character I found pretty ludicrous. Similarly the identity of the murderer, despite my general lack of attention towards the end, seemed glaringly obvious to me.

On the plus side, there is a fairly touching subplot concerning an alcoholic pathologist love interest, which, although deeply predictable, is rather well done. Any guesses who gets menaced by the killer in the final section? Yup.

Anyway, I’m not spending more time on this review – clearly people who like the genre like the book – the ratings on Amazon are roughly 4/5, but it wasn’t my cup of tea at all.


  1. Say no more, I’m convinced – no Jack Kerleys shall darken my shelves – ever! I have to admit to having really enjoyed the first two of the Thomas Harris Hannibal Lecter books when they came out but that was a long time ago and I couldn’t get any enthusiasm for the two subsequent sequels. Do you like the Kay Scarpetta books at all or the Alex Cross books by James Patterson? I read a couple and was a little underwhelmed but I tend to lump these together a bit, which is probably not quite fair.


    • I read an early Scarpetta or two – something about fingerprints found at a crime scene belonging to an executed criminal. I remember being very disappointed at the solution (he wasn’t dead!) and haven’t been back. Don’t think I’ve read any Cross, at least not all the way through.

      I do enjoy the thriller genre, but I think I’ll be steering clear of the serial killer books for a while.


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