Mexican Hat (Kevin Kerney Series #2) share button
Michael McGarrity
Format Paperback
Dimensions 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)
Pages 320
Publisher Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication Date January 2009
ISBN 9780393333985
Book ISBN 10 0393333981
About Book

"Michael McGarrity is the real deal." —Boston Globe

With his dazzling debut, Tularosa, Michael McGarrity was hailed "a born storyteller" (Denver Post)—and introduced readers to a memorable new hero, ex-Santa Fe chief of detectives Kevin Kerney. Now, featuring his vivid feel for the southwest, McGarrity's second gripping novel hurls Kerney onto the toughest case of his life.

Taking a job as a seasonal forest ranger in New Mexico's Gila Wilderness, Kevin Kerney is looking forward to a quiet summer high in the mountains. But the murder of a Mexican tourist, and the discovery of a disoriented old man in the wild, thrust Kerney into an investigation that will carry him back in time to a sixty-year-old feud between two land-rich brothers, Edgar and Eugene Cox.

Enlisting young state game and fish officer Jim Stiles to help solve the crimes, Kerney slowly uncovers evidence connecting the ruthless Cox feud with another suspicious death—and the radical actions of New Mexico's present-day county militia. But new assistant district attorney Karen Cox—Edgar's alluring daughter—is torn between hiding her father's long-buried secret and helping Kerney find the truth. Now someone wants Kerney dead—and the deeper he investigates, the more he may be digging his own grave...


Albuquerque Journal

Mexican Hat has it all — cattle ranchers, the U.S. Forest Service, militia groups, poachers, land-grabbing murderers, Game and Fish Department investigators and locals who just want to be left alone.— Elizabeth Stanley

Chicago Tribune

Exciting ... McGarrity blew critical and commercial socks off ... with Tularosa ... now he goes for the boots.— Dick Adler

Publishers Weekly

McGarrity delivers on the promise of his accomplished debut in Tularosa (1996) with his second Kevin Kerney novel. A large cast of tough, believable characters brings life to a complex, action-filled plot that combines animal poaching, smuggling and the activities of present-day anti-environmentalists in the West with cattle theft and land-grabbing during the Depression. Kevin is working temporarily for the Forest Service in western New Mexico's Gila Wilderness. While tracing a missing tagged cougar with Fish and Game Department officer Jim Stiles, Kevin discovers a dying elderly Mexican tourist, Jose Padilla, and Jose's murdered grandson, Hector. The sheriff and Assistant DA Karen Cox ask Kevin to investigate. The physical attraction between Kevin and Karen is cooled by their discovery of an old relationship between the Padillas and Karen's father, Edgar, and his twin, her uncle Eugene, who have been feuding for 60 years. The plot intensifies: Jim is ambushed, Kevin's trailer is bombed, they jeopardize an FBI undercover operation while seeking an elusive wildlife smuggler. Luck and good police work, however, lead them to the links among the murders, missing animals and the Coxes. Although McGarrity sets up some eyebrow-raising coincidences (as a teenager, Kevin beat Karen's cousin in a rodeo competition), he ingeniously orchestrates character, place, action, history and relationships into another outstanding novel.

Library Journal

Kevin Kerney, a disabled policeman working as a forest ranger, discovers a poaching incident in the Gilla Wilderness of New Mexico. He than discovers is stranded tourist, Dr. Jose Padilla, who has returned to Catron County after 60 years to solve the mystery surrounding his father's murder. Tragically, Kerney next finds Padilla's grandson, Hector, murdereda case of history repeating itself. Karen Cox, a sexy assistant district attorney, appoints Kerney as special investigator. Kerney, who made his debut in Tularosa (Norton, 1996), successfully solves another series of crimes in this entertaining thriller. Like Tony Hillerman's Southwestern mysteries, this novel features authentic detail and realistic description. The dialog has an easy, natural flow. The characters may not have great depth, but this is an exciting, well-crafted story with a likable, sympathetic hero, appealing heroine and secondary characters, and appropriately vile villains. Recommended for all suspense collections.
— Jacqueline Seewald, Red Bank Regional High School, Little Silver, N.J.

Dick Adler

Exciting…McGarrity blew critical and commercial socks off last year with Tularosa…now he goes for the boots.
— Dick Adler,Chicago Tribune

Elizabeth Stanley

MEXICAN HAT has it all-cattle ranchers, U.S. Forest Service, militia groups, poachers, land-grabbing murderers, Game and Fish Department investigators and locals who just want to be left alone.
— Elizabeth Stanley,Albuquerque Journal

Kirkus Reviews

Retired Santa Fe cop Kevin Kerney (Tularosa, 1996) is working a temporary job as a Forest Service ranger when he looks inside a cave and finds a dazed old man whose ramblings lead him to the old man's grandson, evidently shot to death by a cougar poacher. But the news that Dr. José Padilla and his grandson Hector had called on ranching patriarch Edgar Cox earlier that day and left a letter Edgar doesn't want to discuss raises the stakes — as does the shooting of Kerney's old Police Academy student, Game and Fish warden Jim Stiles, left for dead when he goes out on his own to follow up a tip too good to be true. Suddenly Kerney's stuck in the middle of a gaggle of feuding Coxes: Edgar's paralyzed brother Eugene, Eugene's rancher son Phil, Edgar's daughter Karen —all warily circling the bones of José Padilla's father Luis, dead these 50 years. Even worse, Kerney's surrounded by dueling lawmen: the boss who deputizes him to the Catron County D.A.'s office, the big boss who wants him off the case, the dopey county sheriff whose press release got Jim Stiles shot, and Karen Cox, who just happens to be Catron County's newest prosecutor. It's a combination that might make his Forest Service job even more temporary than he thought — if a corps of demented militiamen or those poachers (even if they didn't kill Hector Padilla, they're still out there, armed and dangerous) don't retire him first.

A bulging taco of a novel, overstuffed with villains, old secrets, crooked cops, and bang bang bang — but still written with a chemistry and majesty that'll make it irresistible to Tony Hillerman fans.