The Death File by J. A. Kerley


About the author:

John Albert Kerley is an American author. He spent 20 years in a successful advertising career before writing his first book, The Hundredth Man.

He currently lives in Newport, Kentucky, and is married with two children. He enjoys the outdoors, particularly fishing.

He is the author of the acclaimed Alabama-set series of Carson Ryder novels

About the book:

Detective Carson Ryder returns, on the trail of a brutal killer with mysterious motives.

Detective Carson Ryder returns with his most mind-bending case yet…

Two psychologists are murdered 2000 miles apart – one in Phoenix, Arizona, one in Miami, Florida.

Amazingly, both have noted down the name of Carson Ryder – a detective with the Florida Center for Law Enforcement who specializes in catching psychopathic killers.

Carson joins forces with troubled Phoenix Detective Tasha Novarro to trace a ruthless killer whose advantages include an uncanny talent for persuasion, an utter lack of remorse, and the horrifying ability to predict their every move. A killer even Carson might not be capable of stopping…

The Death File by J. A. Kerley

My thoughts:

I have been a fan of Jack Kerley’s books since I stumbled upon The Hundredth Man a few years ago. I promptly bought the following books in the Carson Ryder series, and I flew through them. I was delighted to see that number 13 in the series, The Death File, was being published in October and I hopped onto Netgalley to read an early copy.

Carson Ryder is one of my most favourite series leads. Along with Jack Reacher, Harry Bosch and Jefferson Winter, Ryder stands deservedly amongst these brilliant main characters and fits in perfectly. Honest, hard-working and dedicated, Ryder is a really excellent character to read about. Throw in his buddy, Harry Nautilus, and then it gets even better. Harry is his port in a storm, his true true north in terms of a partner. Harry is definitely the guy you want to have your back.

In The Death File, Ryder has relocated from Alabama to Florida. Called to investigate the murder of a psychologist, things turn weird for Ryder when another psychologist is murdered in Arizona. The weird thing is his name has been found in the vicinity of the both of the deceased, and everyone wants to know why.

The cases merge, drawing in some new and unsavoury characters into the mix. This leads to some scary situations for all concerned, and it ramps up the tension quite well. The plot is more intricate than I first assumed, and I found myself unable to weave the threads together until it was there on the page in front of me! Needless to say, I was well hooked at that stage!

The Death File is the thirteenth book in the series, and I think Jack Kerley has found a great way to keep the series current and relevant. Carson Ryder has definitely been keeping up with all of the advances in investigation and technology over the years.

Listen, without spoiling the plot, I can’t say much more. I will say that I would highly recommend this book, and the entire series too. You can read this one without reading the others though, it works fine. BUT I do think if you like great detective series, you’d do well to start with The Hundredth Man!

Highly recommended!

(I’m off to find my Carson Ryder books so I can add them to my shelves to re-read!)

Previous posts:

Mini Review: Jack Kerley No One Will Hear… Her Last Scream

The Apostle by JA Kerley

Author Q&A with Jack Kerley

Author Q&A with Jack Kerley

A couple of weeks ago I finally built up the nerve to ask one of my favourite authors if they would be willing to do a Q&A for my blog and I’m so excited because he said yes! 😊

Jack Kerley is the author of the Detective Carson Ryder crime series, one of my all time favourite series to read. I got the recommendation off Goodreads for his first book, The Hundredth Man, and as I’m a bookworm I went and bought the first four. I read and loved them all so needless to say I went and got the rest of them too! 😂

Here is my collection (any that aren’t there are on my kindle!) :

When I was reading up on the books, I found out that 3 of Jack’s novels are no longer available in the US as they didn’t sell hugely! The Hundredth Man, The Death Collectors and The Broken Souls, and I have all three so that instantly makes them more special to me!

I know I’m rambling on, but I can’t recommend these books highly enough. I would happily read the series again from the start, and you should know by now that I don’t usually re-read!!! 😉
Huge thanks to Jack for agreeing to this! 😊
Anyway, without any more fangirling from me, here is my Q&A……


When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?

In high school when I discovered I got better grades by writing in a more complex fashion; using larger words, basically. Teachers would often overlook the vapidity of my presentation in favor of its polish. That was a revelation.

How long does it take you to write a book?

I once figured that if I stacked my writing into traditional 40-hour weeks, a book averages about seven months.


What is your typical routine when writing like?
After a quarter-century as a adverting writer and producer, I tend to treat it like a standard job. I hit my desk in the morning and work until my head gives out. I work at home until I get bored with its urban surroundings (across the river from downtown Cincinnati), then go to our cabin in the Kentucky mountains for a change of venue, always a good thing for my work.


How did you create Carson Ryder?

Through a joke. When writing my first novel The Hundredth Man, I had no idea how to commence, so I had a character tell my favorite joke in a morgue. The joke-teller became Harry, the joke was used as a description for Carson and they both developed from there. The joke also gave me the title for the book, not bad for a clean joke.

And Harry Nautilus for that matter? Both are wonderful characters.

My characters tend to write themselves, thus I make no outline, since the stories could change on a line of dialogue, and frequently do.

Is there another book in the works?

A book is in the works, though I’m not sure it’s in the series. See what I mean about not being in charge?


How much research do you do for your books? Do some books require more research than others

A lot. Whether it’s a depiction of human trafficking, sociopathy, collecters serial-killer art—or many other diverse and disturbiing topics—I want verisimilude to guide the reader into an unfamiliar world. And yes, some topics take more research time than others.


How do you like to spend your down time? 

Outdoors. I hike, bike, canoe, build trails at our cabin. I also greatly enjoy cooking, brewing beer and woodworking.


Do you get writers block? If so, how do you break through the wall?

I’ve never had writers’ block, probably from my advertising days where, if you didn’t produce, you got fired.


What is the hardest thing about writing a series?

Keeping it fresh and offering new insights into familiar characters.

What is your favourite thing about Ryder? 

His basic goodness and belief in humanity, despite bouts of cynicism.

When it comes to publishing, do you proofread your book or do you ask someone else to do it? Do you have proofs done up for reviewers before the final book goes to print? Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers? How do you feel about positive/negative reviews and feedback? *I’ve grouped these questions together as they are all related!*

Authors shouldn’t proofread their books, at least not me. It should be someone new to the book who can divorce her- or himself from the story and see it on a word-by-word basis.

Proofreading is done by the publisher.

Again, mostly handled by the publisher, although I often answer writing-oriented blogs that question me directly. Every writer gets both positive and negative reviews, often of the same book. I absorb them all.


Do you read much? If so, what do you like to read?

I read anything and everything. My favorite mystery/suspense novelists would include James Lee Burke, Robert Crais and, as an early influence, John D. MacDonald. But I also enjoy non-fiction, particularly books on psychology and culture. I just finished a book titled The Comedians, a history of stand-up comedy; fascinating!
Finally, How can readers discover more about you and your work? 

I have a website, that I should update more often, but it provides a list of all books, brief synopsis, and chronology.

So, there you have it! 😊 I can highly recommend Jack’s website as all the information you need about him and the books can all be found there!


Amazon Author Page:

J. A. Kerley

Happy reading 😊 📖