Review of Keith McCarthy’s Latest Novel, A Kiss Before Killing

The focus of my blog is to review book series and not individual novels. But writers are going to continue writing novels within a series even after I have done my review, so I plan on reviewing the individual novels as they come into circulation.  Keith McCarthy has recently added book #11, A Kiss Before Killing to the John Eisenmenger series.


A body is found in an empty house.

A body without its limbs. And head.

This is from the synopsis of A Kiss Before Killing, throw in some torture, some good forensic snooping, and you have yourself an exciting forensic thriller. Besides being a first rate author, Keith McCarthy is a pathologist, which means he is the fellow who really does the autopsies. So as you can imagine, McCarthy doesn’t hold back when he writes about the darkest part of his job. A Kiss Before Killing is not for those that have a weak stomach.

Like McCarthy, the main character, John Eisenmenger, is also a pathologist who has his fair share of grisly autopsies. For those who are not familiar with the series, Eisenmenger has been a somber but inquisitive figure throughout the series. More often his curiosities get him into a considerable amount of trouble which happens to be true in the case for A Kiss Before Killing.

The Eisenmenger series is the darkest forensic thriller series that I have read and I have read a lot of forensic thrillers. Though most of the books within this series can be read as standalones, it is really beneficial to read the whole series just to understand the two main characters, John Eisenmenger and especially Beverly Wharton. Wharton, a rather stunning cop, started the series as a really despicable person. She was looking to advance her career by any means possible and I emphasize by any means. But Eisenmenger put a stop to that after the first book in the series, A Feast of Carrion, by solving the murder case that Wharton was leading and then making her look really bad. I thought Wharton was a goner after the first book, but she ended up being the only other character besides Eisenmenger to remain throughout the series. As the series continues, the reader gets to see a more vulnerable side to this women and one of them is John Eisenmenger. Even though Eisenmenger almost destroyed her career, she has always been fascinated with him. They are complete opposites of each other which makes it difficult for them to get together, yet at the same time they can’t seem to totally break away. In A Kiss Before Killing Wharton realizes that she cares for more for Eisenmenger than she realizes.

A Kiss Before Killing is a must read for the forensic thriller junkie.

To learn more about the series check out the Dr. John Eisenmenger series.

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