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Jack McMorrow Books In Order

Publication Order of Jack McMorrow Books

Deadline (1993) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Bloodline (1995) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Lifeline (1996) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Potshot (1997) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Borderline (1998) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Cover Story (2000) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Pretty Dead (2003) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Home Body (2004) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Damaged Goods (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Once Burned (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Straw Man (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

The Jack McMorrow Mysteries are a series of novels by popular journalist turned author, American Gerry Boyle. While he has written several detective crime novels, the Jack McMorrow Mystery novels are among Boyle’s most popular. The first published work in the series was the highly acclaimed book, Deadline published in 1993, which introduced the McMorrow character to readers. He continued publishing intermittently over the years, and by 2015, the series had 10 titles. In a recent interview, the author asserted that he has a love for the chivalric in protagonists and this is embodied in the characterization of his main character Jack. As to writing style, the series is similar to that of the Continental Op Stories by Dashiell Hammett being in the first person and containing sparse and tough dialogue. While the series is similar to many mystery novels, it is not a whodunit in the conventional sense of the word. It is written in the first person and hence it is not narrated according to the point of view of someone else. In an unconventional approach to the noir whodunit, Boyle makes it such that the reader is able to discern or infer some theories from the dialogue and actions of the protagonist. Nonetheless, the reader and the lead character cannot tell what is happening in the mind of another person, and have to wait until the author spells it out.

Similar to Gerry Boyle, Jack McMorrow is a journalist with the New York Times. At the beginning of the series, McMorrow has just left his comfortable New York Times job and moved with his girlfriend Roxanne, to the small town of Androscoggin in rural Maine. He is now working as an investigative journalist for a small weekly in the small town. The fictional town is loosely based on the real life town of Rumford, Maine. Jack can be best described as a fiercely independent man who does not take orders from anyone and often plays by his own rules. He has a sardonic sense of humor particularly in his asides, which are just hilarious. While he comes across as an easygoing person, he is a competent and morally upright investigator even when he bends the rules in the interests of cracking a tough case. Quite simply, he is a tenacious operator in an imperfect world though he always does his best to get the work done, succeeding most of the time. He works by a work ethic and a moral code of honor and relentless pursuit of justice above all. Over the course of the series, Jack McMorrow’s character grows a lot, as he meets people both good and bad all over the rural Maine countryside who provide a variety of experiences. For instance, while the series begins with the protagonist only having a girlfriend, in the latter series, he has a wife and child, is wiser to the ways of the world, and has been involved in many fights that show from the physical and emotional scars he bears.

Coming from a background in news reporting, Boyle asserts that he draws most of the stories in the Jack McMorrow Mystery series from things he saw in courtrooms, police stations, and the cities and towns of Maine. Boyle expertly creates memorable characters such as McMorrow’s girlfriends Roxanne and the enigmatic Lasha Cabral, the reclusive sculptor with a penchant for dysfunctional relationships and a love for the bottle. What makes the novels so fascinating and lifelike is the fact that most of them are drawn from real life research or cases that have happened. In addition to secondary sources, Gerry also interviews county sheriff deputies, state police detectives, Fire Marshall Investigators, and newspaper reporters. Unlike the Brandon Blake series, the McMorrow series is written for the younger generation of readers; readers used to the fast pacing of films which the series aptly provides. The expert writing of the series has over the years earned the books spectacular praise from sources as varied as the Washington Post Book World and the New York Times Book Review. Expertly weaving into the Jack McMorrow story extortion, intrigue, skullduggery, and mayhem, this is one of the best investigative crime fiction series in the genre.

In the first novel of the series, Deadline, Boyle takes the protagonist Jack McMorrow from the streets of New York and transplants him to Androscoggin, a rural town in Maine. He soon finds out that life in the small town is not as idyllic as expected, as a body of a freelance photographer is found floating in the river a few days after his arrival. In an intriguing turn of events he is beaten, kidnapped, and threatened by death after he stumbles on a massive scandal and subsequent cover up. McMorrow who has taken over as editor of the Androscoggin Review after working for years with the more prestigious New York Times is the perfect portrayal of a cynic who has been forced to eat his pride, which strikes just the right tone. The novel offers an insider’s look into the inner working of the media business while also providing redolent descriptions of rural Maine, interesting subplots, and realistic characterization. Newspaperman that he is, Gerry takes the story to a scary yet powerful finish, which is sure to shock readers. In the end, the novel asserts that life, subtle as it is will time and again be a contradiction.

The sequel to the first novel of the Jack McMorrow series is the highly popular, Bloodline. Jack McMorrow is now living in the quaint little town of Prosperity, Maine where he keeps on getting into trouble. He is currently working for the New England Look magazine, where he has landed a high paying assignment of writing an article about Kids Having Kids. His investigations lead him to a local school where he finds a girl that gave away her child to be adopted, Missy Hewett. She is now living in Prosperity from where she hopes she can complete her schooling. But there is someone who is not happy that he is questioning teenagers. He comes home one day to his truck on fire and an unknown attacker who shoots at his house. He soon finds himself a prime suspect after Missy the girl he had interviewed turns up dead. Meanwhile his girlfriend who had left him following his reckless ways in Deadline is beginning to mellow. In an expertly written novel, Gerry Boyle skillfully defines the characters, establishes setting and mood, and provides some deep reflective insights from McMorrow. The skillful narration makes for a great intimate small town mystery that only Boyle knows how to pull off.

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