The Judas Judge

The Judas Judge 2000


 There are some devious minds at work in THE JUDAS JUDGE, the fifth police procedural in Michael McGarrity's robust regional series set in New Mexico's Tularosa Basin. One twisted brain belongs to the coldblooded monster who murders six people in six hours to give a false impression that a spree killer is on the loose in local campgrounds. Another shrewd thinker is Kevin Kerney, a deputy chief with the state police who sees through this cruel ruse and identifies the killer's real target as his final victim, a retired judge whose wife and son also died violently.

It's a thrill to watch these subtle brains negotiate this convoluted plot, which loops with separate serpentine grace through ranches, railroad towns, Indian reservations and open spaces of the territory.

McGarrity is no nature writer, and his sketches of dusty desert towns like Alamogordo and Ruidoso are as blunt as his unsentimental character studies. Still, his portrait of the region is a strong one, built on meticulously detailed intelligence gathered, sifted and analyzed for unspoken secrets and lies by the author's own deeply cunning mind. ©2000 The New York Times all rights reserved.