The Death Collectors Summary
by Jack Kerley

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The Death Collectors

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Set in Mobile Alabama, The Death Collectors, follow homicide detectives Carson Ryder and Harry Nautilus as they stumble upon a bizarre murder that reopens a case thought to have been closed thirty years ago. A middle aged woman is found murdered in a sleazy motel room surrounded by candles and wilting flowers. Through their investigation, Ryder and Nautilus discover she was a member of a homicidal 1970's art cult that emigrated from Paris. As other former cult members begin turning up dead, it appears as if the leader Marsden Hexcamp has regained power and reassembled his murderous band, except for the fact that he was shot dead in a court room thirty years prior.

The detectives delve into Hexcamp's cult, and travel to Paris to discover Hexcamp was an art student who valued his art above life. He and his cult worshiped his painting The Final Moment, which now appears to be sending lethal instructions from beyond the grave. The detectives also discover that there are many who agree with the importance of Hexcamp's art, the secretive “Death Collectors,” who will pay top dollar for The Final Moment, or any other piece of art or artifact associated with infamous murders.

Ryder and Nautilus, with the help of an eager reporter DeeDee Danbury and retired detective Willow who originally placed Hexcamp behind bars, must infiltrate these Death Collectors in hopes of unraveling the mysteries of Hexcamp's collection, finding the killer, and preventing more deaths.

Jack Kerley has mixed beauty and art with the gruesome and insane to produce a riveting thriller that is entertaining, disturbing, and all engrossing.