HAMMERHEAD
Ken McCoy

 


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Allison & Busby, this edition published March, 2007
Reviewed by Sunnie Gill

Sam Carew is an ex-copper. When he was kicked off the force he turned his hand to building after inheriting his father's business. But Sam misses the mental stimulation of an unsolved crime, so he moonlights part-time as a private investigator.

Sometimes the past comes back to haunt Sam. While he is having a drink in a pub one evening, the barmaid informs Sam that he arrested her father who was subsequently charged with murder. Sam remembers that there was something decidedly odd about the man's confession to two murders. Even the judge had doubts. But when a man pleads guilty, you don't question things too much. Sam knows he shouldn't touch this case with a barge-pole but when a beautiful young woman asks you to investigate, you can't say no, can you? At least Sam can't.

The method of one of the murders was very distinctive, involving the use of a ball-pein hammer. When he starts digging with the help of his mate, Detective Owen Price, Sam discovers that this wasn't the only death in this manner. There have been several others. It can't have been the man who confessed. He was locked up. So the question is, is there a serial killer out there, a copy-cat, or something else? Finding the answers to these questions leads Sam into trouble and danger as he finds himself confronting one of the nastiest crime families you're ever likely to meet.

Ken McCoy started his writing career with sagas, mostly historical in nature, about young people overcoming hardships. Somewhere along the line he changed tack and created Sam “Mad” Carew. Sam is intelligent and mouthy, two traits that haven't exactly endeared him to the local constabulary. Too often Sam has made them look silly with his wise-cracking and his ability to solve cases that have left them flummoxed. Sam's nickname is well-earned too, plunging in where lesser mortals (i.e. those with a strong survival instinct) fear to go.

HAMMERHEAD is the third in the Sam Carew series and I found something very endearing about him. He inspires loyalty in the few friends he has and never hesitates to do what he thinks is right. I liked his friends, too: his girlfriend Sally, recovering from being shot; his best mate, Owen Price, a womanising Police Constable who benefits from Sam's intellect; and his business partner, Andrew. There is violence in HAMMERHEAD, but it is counteracted by Sam's witty and irreverent banter which I found hugely entertaining.

I enjoyed every page of HAMMERHEAD. So much so that I have sought out and purchased the other two Sam Carew books McCoy has written and I am eagerly awaiting a fourth installment.

June 2007 review originally published on Murder & Mayhem

 

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