Sully Carter #3
By: Neely Tucker
Publisher: Viking Books
Publication Date: 8/30/2016
My Rating: 5 Stars
Top Books of 2016
The riveting third novel in the Sully Carter series finds the gutsy reporter investigating a shooting at the Capitol and the violent world of D.C.’s most corrupt mental institution.
In the doldrums of a broiling Washington summer, a madman goes on a shooting rampage in the Capitol building. Sully Carter is at the scene and witnesses the carnage firsthand and files the first and most detailed account of the massacre.
The shooter, Terry Waters, is still on the loose and becomes obsessed with Sully, luring the reporter into the streets of D.C. during the manhunt. Not much is known about Waters when he is finally caught, except that he hails from the Indian reservations of Oklahoma. His rants in the courtroom quickly earn him a stay at Saint Elizabeth’s mental hospital, and the paper sends Sully out west to find out what has led a man to such a horrific act of violence.
As Sully hits the road to see what he can dig up on Waters back in Oklahoma, he leaves his friend Alexis to watch over his nephew, Josh, who is visiting DC for the summer. Traversing central Oklahoma, Sully discovers that a shadow lurks behind the Waters family history and that the ghosts of the past have pursued the shooter for far longer than Sully could have known. When a local sheriff reveals the Waterses’ deep connection with Saint Elizabeth’s, Sully realizes he must find a way to gain access to the asylum, no matter the consequences.
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"Neely Tucker’s ‘Only the Hunted Run’ starts with a bang and never lets up."
The Washingon Post. Read More
A special thank you to Viking Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Enthralling! Movie-Worthy. Please, please - small or big screen.Another great Harry Bosch character . . I love "edgy" Sully Carter!
In talented, Neely Tuckers’ highly anticipated follow-up to The Ways of the Dead (Sully Carter #1) 2014 and Murder, D.C. (Sully Carter #2) 2015 with:
Sully Carter’s third and most intense case ONLY THE HUNTED RUN —a brilliant blending of historical, fact and fiction-taking him from the US Capitol, to the rural areas of Oklahoma.
Age old dark secrets, abuse, corruption, and violence of St. Elizabeth’s federal psychiatric hospital—for a complex, multi-layered "gritty" page-turner psychological crime thriller (literary fiction).
Landing on my Top Books of 2016 - a flawed, driven, razor-sharp and witty investigative reporter who never lets up, in this action-packed suspense adventure.
For fans of Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch), John Hart, John Grisham, Greg Iles, Lisa Scottoline, and David Baldacci.
Bourbon lover, reporter, Sully had been assigned a bullshit story about environmental regulations governing oil drilling in the Gulf. Then in the sagging hours of this afternoon errand, there had come the burst of automatic weapons fire, the bleeding and screaming, everything going out of focus and off kilter—the modern American nightmare.
The US Capitol --Sully alone in the core of the building that symbolized America’s allegedly invincible power. And his isolation telling him with every step that something had gone terribly wrong. Shooting, screaming, dead bodies, blown open – one gunman. An attack unlike any other in the nation’s history. Sully is in the center of the investigation.
Sully stumbles on the body of Barry Edmonds, an Oklahoma representative with stainless steel ice picks driven though each eye, plus he had been shot.
What the heck? Terry Waters the gunman, is calling it in, personally-- to 911 stating he had to kill him. It had gotten messy. The man was now gone.
"And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing in back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create . . .
--TS. Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Purfrock"
When later running the guy, through the system, he had been certifiable since high school at the local Native American reservation, which appears to be the Sac and Fox. He dropped out in 1982. As a junior, in and out of wards and the local jailhouse for a year of two, then apparently kept at home. Also a suspect in some animal mutilations. No one has seen him in years. Why now?
A manhunt. The gunman had killed US Rep. Barry Edmonds and eight others (turns out to be ten in the end). Sully did not let him into the Capital or did he let him get out. He had gotten within ten feet of him without a gun, pistol, or badge.
Waters later becomes obsessed with Carter, and calls him directly, to commiserate about the fact that both their mothers were murdered years earlier, after reading his story in the paper or online. (at first I was thinking similar to Bosch’s mom connection); however, goes much, much deeper, and sinister.
Waters: “You’ve got to understand this. It’s key. Only the hunted run. I, me. I’m not the hunted. I’m not running. I hunt. I am the hunter.”
The most hunted man in American thinks he’s the predator? How did he know about his mom? Now this guy has his own reporter at his disposal.
Sully’s mom was shot to death in Tulsa, Louisiana. In her hair salon. Cash was left in the register. No apparent motive, no suspects. Three shots, two to the head. A pistol, not a shotgun. His girlfriend was also killed by shrapnel to the head in Bosnia. More to be uncovered here.
Grief, shrinks, doctors, counselors. The guy was a sad story, by nightfall he’s a monster. A thin line.
“Grief is a patient bastard. It’ll take its time, twist you into something you never were.”
The guy had to get attention. He was scattered and he stuttered. What is his story, and is this guy who he claims to be? When searching the history of Waters in Oklahoma, he uncovers danger, eccentric characters, horrors, abuse, and violence. A family of mental illness. The Thing in the Dark.
The great dream of peace, corrupted by the American nightmare of murder and blood. Who can he trust?
"Millions of lives teeming on the head of a pin, the universe neither concerned nor vindictive nor compassionate. People-they were just one little self-regarding species on one planet. They died and the universe was indifferent. It didn’t mean anything. It was like drowning in the ocean. The ocean wasn’t trying to drown you. It was just being the ocean. You got out of the water, fine; you got eaten by sharks, fine; you drowned, fine. It didn’t matter as far as the ocean went. That was life on Earth. It killed you without thinking."
If we are all so insignificant, why did settling the accounts of the dead matter so much?
A possibly mentally disturbed Native American, lightly educated and living in rural squalor, and yet he’s broken into the Capital, killed his target, escaped, and now he’s calling reporters and chatting about dead moms and obscure poetry.The FBI want to know from Carter, how he explains this?
Once Waters is apprehended in yet another shoot-out, Carter travels to the Oklahoma Indian reservation where Waters claims to hail from, hoping to learn what has driven the man to kill.
What Carter finds is a shocker, leading him on another dangerous mission. The man is charged with killing ten people in the US Capitol, four of them officers, one of them a woman. Meanwhile, Waters is being held at St. Elizabeths, a real-life mental hospital in southeast D.C., with which he’s obsessed.
Sully is on deadline, and his trip to Oklahoma really drives the story, when he learns Waters has been dead for nearly eight years, or so some say. . So who is the guy in St. Elizabeths? That means someone is locked up in DC who has assumed his identify—what do they have in common? This complicates their story.
"People did not walk off the face of the Earth. They left traces, fingerprints, property, financial transactions. What had Faulkner called it? A scratch mark on the face of oblivion?"
What is the link to the killing?
From friends, neighbors, father’s, mother’s, grandparents, the boy is being held in the heavily secured grounds of one of the most notorious mental hospitals in the US. Furthermore, in the most secured building on the godforsaken campus, on the lockdown ward of the hall for the criminally insane. How are they going to get to this guy (the ice-picker) to get their answers?
Ghosts and lunatics, the long halls of madness. Sully was the perfect witness. Who better to tell the tale?
Lobotomies. Walter Jackson Freeman. An insane asylum. Before Thorazine. Schizophrenics. Violence. Mental illness in America. Brains destroyed. Suicide. St. Elizabeths. Children caught up in the history.
One of Washington’s toughest, sexy, edgy and gutsy reporters – (and witty), Sully Carter, a seasoned foreign correspondent, gets in and out of jams while covering local D.C. – the fictional brainchild of one of D.C.’s most versatile reporters, Neely Tucker (man, can he write, and have never laughed so hard at his best one-liners).
Impressive! An excellent writer- At the Washington Post,Tucker has worked a lot of beats, writing everything from presidential profiles to poignant glimpses into lives touched by crime. He also writes fiction that is very much of this region and of this cultural moment, exploring themes of race, mental health care, crime and history through his Sully Carter series.
Wow, ONLY THE HUNTED RUN -is mind-blowing! His best yet. From twists and turns you do not see coming, and the personal and professional life of Sully, keeps readers glued to the pages.
Not for the faint of heart, Tucker explores the darkest evil places. History and legal buffs will enjoy the factual events inspired by the 1998 Russell Weston story, and the history of St Es. Loved the relationship with Sully, Alexis, and nephew Josh on a personal level.
In addition to the hardcover supplied by the publisher (bookmarked so many pages)—"Thank you so much"- read in one sitting; I also purchased the audiobook, narrated by Scott Sowers (sexy, bold, powerful), a perfect match for Neely’s Sully.
Cannot wait to continue the journey with Sully Carter! Will Sully be able to let go of the voices, murder, violence, and horror? Highly recommend the author and this extraordinary "must read"series!
Having read the other books in the Sully Carter series (highly recommend), I realized I had not read Neely Tucker’s Love in the Driest Season (read by the author)- his award-winning memoir. Immediately, purchased the audiobook, currently listening. Am mesmerized by his inspirational story!
Aug JDC Top Reads
“Fast-paced . . . Enthralling . . . Mesmerizingly sinister . . . Dazzling.”
—The Washington Post
“Tucker’s Sully Carter novels have quickly sneaked up on me as one of my favorite new series. . . . Strong, tight writing, a good sense of story and a main character who fights the good fight in journalism and in life. . . . Here Carter’s on the case of a deadly shooting at Capitol Hill -- the kind of occurrence that seems all too possible now -- that transforms into a larger look at mental institutions in a way that is both authentic to the plot and to its greater theme.”
—Sarah Weinman, “The Crime Lady”
“Tucker raises the stakes and ramps up the darkness in this series and makes you wonder, and even worry a little about, what’s coming next.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Provocative. . . . Tucker realistically depicts the newspaper industry in this terrifying thriller.”
“A book yearning to be a movie, with plenty of clever jabbering, smart wisecracks and newsroom jargon between action scenes. . . . A worthy end-of-summer distraction from the heat and summer storms.”
—Wicked Local Gloucester
“Long live Sully Carter, reporter, detective and all around shrewd guy. Another of Neely Tucker's brilliant tight thrillers, Only the Hunted Run finds Sully, having survived a capitol building massacre, looking into the shooter's history and motivations. The trail goes into the past and the future and Sully's the only one who can stope further carnage. Great fun!”
—New York Times bestselling author Stephen Hunter
Praise for the Sully Carter series
“The test of a crime series is its main character, and Sully is someone we’ll want to read about again and again.”
—Lisa Scottoline, The Washington Post
“Tucker at his best recalls the work of Richard Price. . . . Terrific summer reading. With his second success, Tucker has proven that his series is one to follow.”
—The Miami Herald
“[An] invigorating series . . . The traits that will make this (one hopes) a long and strong series are evident in both books: the realistic dialogue, the vivid characters, and the portrayal of our nation’s capital as a city with many facets other than the one tourists see.”
—The Cleveland Plain Dealer
Sully Carter is an alcoholic veteran journalist injured during his time as a correspondent on the war in Bosnia and is now working as a Washington DC Metro reporter who always searches for the truth, no matter what the cost. The books take place in the late 90's - early 2000's, during the final years of real newspaper reporting.
Only the Hunted Run #3
Murder DC #2
The Ways of the Dead #1
About the Author
Neely Tucker writes nonfiction by day at the The Washington Post, where he has been a staff writer for sixteen years, and is currently assigned to cover the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign.
He writes fiction by night at his house, where it isn’t frowned upon to have a friendly glass of bourbon by the keyboard.
A seventh-generation Mississippian, he was born in Holmes County, then the poorest county in the poorest state in America. The first newspaper to hire him was the Oxford Eagle, the smallest daily in the state (and possibly the universe). They gave him the much envied job title of “Yalobusha County Correspondent.” He has since worked in more than sixty countries or territories, covering civil wars or violent uprisings in Bosnia, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Uganda, Sierra Leone and Liberia, as well as the U.S. Embassy bombing in Kenya. This work inspired crime novelist Elmore Leonard, a longtime friend, to use him as the basis and namesake for a foreign correspondent in “Cuba Libre.”
His memoir, Love in the Driest Season, was named one of the best 25 Books of 2004 by Publisher’s Weekly, the American Bookseller’s Association, the New York City Library and won numerous other awards. “Life After Death,” a story about his wife’s seven-year odyssey to help convict her daughter’s killer, was nominated by the Post for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize.
“The Ways of the Dead,” “Murder, D.C.,” and “Only the Hunted Run,” the first novels in the Sully Carter series, have earned glowing praise, with Kirkus saying that “There’s no more satisfying sight than a writer who knows exactly what he’s doing — and only gets better at what he does.”
He lives with his wife, three children and one Rottweiler just outside Washington. When not writing, Neely is usually on his motorcycle, out for a long run or sipping some of the aforementioned bourbon on the back porch, wishing that Mississippi State and the New Orleans Saints would win more football games than they actually do. Read More