P.J. Parrish’s Louis Kincaid Series

pjparrishauthorsAbout the Authors:

Kellie Nichols

Born: Detroit, MI

Education: Northern Michigan University

Kristy Montee

Born: Detroit, MI

Education: B.A.-Education-Eastern Michigan University

Website: http://www.pjparrish.com/

Publisher: Pocket Books

Thriller Sub-genre: Forensic/Crime Thriller

Future of the Series:  The latest in the series is entitled The Damage Done and was released on 9/8/18.

My Review of P.J. Parrish’s Latest Novel-The Damage Done

The Simon Review

Racial identity is a strong theme throughout PJ Parrish’s Louis Kincaid series. The sister coauthors created Louis Kincaid as being bi-racial, who was raised in a white world but as a result of his dark features he is identified more with his black heritage. His world is even more complicated by the fact that he was born in Mississippi with a white father that ran out on him when he was very young and his black mother who turned to drugs. He is bounced from one foster home to another until a Caucasian couple in Michigan adopts him. All of this creates an identity crisis for Louis and he struggles with relationships throughout the series.

As a cop, Kincaid has a very strong moral obligation to do the ‘right’ thing, even if the price is costly. This obligation has classified him as an outcast within the law enforcement agency, so for part of the series, he goes it alone and becomes a private investigator. However, he finds that he can’t do an effective job of solving a case without making alliances and at the same time developing deeper relationships. Kincaid’s relationships are as complicated as his problems with his identity. In the beginning of the series he develops an alliance and ultimately a friendship with a Sheriff Sam Dodie. Dodie is a product of the Deep South and is surrounded by all the prejudices that come with the territory. Dodie is torn by the pressures of complying with what is expected of him by his peers and doing what he feels is right. Ultimately, Dodie does what is right and, in turn, develops a lasting friendship with Kincaid.

During one of the investigations, Kincaid develops an unlikely friendship with Mel Landeta, an experienced cop that is going blind. When Kincaid and Landeta first meet they don’t hit it off well but eventually develop a mutual respect for each other. Landeta also introduces Kincaid to Joe Frye, a woman cop who eventually develops a romantic relationship with Louis. Frye becomes such an important character in the series that Parrish decides to make her the dominant character in the eighth book of the series, A Thousand Bones.

Another complication in Kincaid’s life is the fact that he got an ex-girlfriend pregnant when he was in college. He told her to get an abortion but left the relationship soon after, so he didn’t find out until later that his ex-girlfriend had the child. Once Louis finds out he must grapple with the idea that he is a father.

There are plenty of thrills in the series but the forensics is weak. Character development is fantastic which means that it is necessary to read the series in order. This is highly enjoyable series and I definitely recommend it. Kelly Nichols and Kristy Montee have written an excellent series and haven’t gotten as much recognition as they deserve.

Simon’s pick:

Most Favorite Novel in the Series Dead of Winter, because I enjoyed Kincaid’s interaction with his unusual new boss.

Least Favorite Novel in the SeriesThe Little Death, because the way that Kincaid deals with problems with Joe Frye. Frye wants some time to think about the future of their relationship and needs some space, so in retaliation, Kincaid jumps into bed with another women. Louis you seem better than that.

What about the science?

There isn’t really much in the way of science in the series. The series begins in 1983, when a lot of the forensic science that we are familiar with didn’t exist (e.g. DNA fingerprinting, no cell phones, limited computer usage). As the series progresses, Parrish does add more sophisticated forensics but it does not become the focus of the story.

I do want to point out, from a scientific standpoint, the color of Kincaid’s eyes which are gray. Blue or gray eyes are inherited as a recessive trait, meaning that both parents would have to carry that gene in order for Louis to have blue/gray eyes. If Louis’ mother was pure in African origin, then she would only be able to contribute the dominant trait of brown eyes which would supersede the recessive trait of blue/gray eyes from his father which means Louis should have brown eyes. In order for Louis to inherit the blue/gray eyes, his mother had to have some Caucasian blood in her family lineage. So this means his mother is bi-racial as well.

The Louis Kincaid Technical Word in Review: Retinitis pigmentosa, is a progressive genetic disorder that results in the destruction of light receptor cells of the retina. Usually the first symptoms are night blindness, followed by tunnel vision or peripheral vision. There is no known cure.

Landeta unwrapped his finger, looked at it, and wrapped it again. “You ever think how ironic that sounds? Going blind? Like it is a good thing, like you’re going somewhere you can look forward to?”

Louis came back to sit on the edge of the sofa. “How long?” he asked.

Landeta gave a small shrug. “About ten years now. Retinitis pigmentosa is a kind disease. Your eyes commit suicide, but it takes a long time.” He unwrapped his hand to stare at his finger again. “Gives you plenty of time to…adjust.” Island of Bones

Books in the Series by Order:

Most Favorite in the series: Heart of Ice with a score of 4.37

Least Favorite in the series: The Little Death with a score of 3.94

Based on overall ratings from Goodreads, Library Thing, and Amazon (US & UK)

Dark_of_the_Moon#1- Dark of the Moon- 2000

First Line:

The naked trees snaked upward, black capillaries against a bleached, predawn sky.


Louis Kincaid: A young cop with a white father and a black mother, adopted by white parents, and brought up in the state of Michigan. He wrestles with his bi-racial identity throughout the series.

Sheriff Sam Dodie: The sheriff of Blackpool, Mississippi. Born and raised in the Deep South he struggles between doing the right thing and pleasing his peers.

The Setting

Blackpool, Mississippi

When a hunter finds some old bones in the woods of Blackpool, Mississippi, the town’s citizens and police just want to see them reburied and forgotten. But when Louis arrives to the town of his birth to care for his dying mother, he becomes obsessed with finding the identity of the victim. His quest takes him into the dark heart of the small town and its past – and forces him to confront his own painful past as the son of a black woman and the white father who abandoned him at birth.

“He moved on up the slope and stopped again. He had not seen the headstone before now. It was a small, square piece of granite with a barren tree etched in the corner. He stared at the epitaph. He composed it while he still lay in the hospital, inspired by a poem he found during his days of research in the library. It wasn’t much, but he thought it was appropriate. Eugene Graham 1939-1955 “Died in the Dark of the Moon” Louis put flowers on the grave and stood up. A breeze chilled him and he shivered. He was about to turn away when he heard a voice.”

Looking for reviews on Dark of the Moon?  Check out:

A Bookaholic’s Review

Confessions of a Bibliophile

Arla’s World

Amazon Rating-US: 4.35 out of 5 stars based on 44 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.00 out of 5 stars based on 10 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 3.98 out of 5 stars based on 691 ratings

Library Thing Rating: 3.95 out of 5 stars based on 33 ratings

Total Score 4.00  (updated 10/31/17)




dead-winter2#2- Dead of Winter- 2001

First Line:

It was just a dull thud, a sound that drifted down to him as he lay in the deepest fathoms of his sleep.


Louis Kincaid

Brian Gibraltar: Chief of police for Loon Lake, Michigan

The Setting

Loon Lake, Michigan

In the quaint tourist town of Loon Lake, Michigan, a killer is taking his vengeance. One by one, the bodies are found, brutally executed, with mysteriously coded death cards placed beside each corpse — the signature of a psychopath. And the only sound louder than doors and windows being locked against evil is the sound of hearts beating in terror.

Detective Louis Kincaid had come north looking for a refuge, a place to forget the horrors of his past. But now he’s landed in the middle of an investigation that’s more than a mystery. It’s a warning of bad things to come…of a terrifying journey through a town’s fiercely protected heart of darkness…and into the dangerous world of a madman.

Looking for reviews on Dead of Winter?  Check out:

The Bookbag

Eve’s Alexandria

Our Book Reviews Online

Amazon Rating-US: 4.38 out of 5 stars based on 361 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.45 out of 5 stars based on 11 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 3.94 out of 5 stars based on 1,135 ratings

Library Thing Rating: 3.63 out of 5 stars based on 34 ratings

Total Score 4.04  (updated 10/31/17)




Paint_it_Black#3- Paint It Black- 2002

First Line:

The body lay faceup at the waterline, the skin dusted with sand that glistened in the slanting early morning sun.


Louis Kincaid, and Sam Dodie

Emily Farentino: An FBI profiler

Chief Dan Wainwright: Ex-FBI and chief of Sereno Key police department.

Sheriff Mobley: Sheriff of Lee County

The Setting

Sereno Key, Florida

In “Paint it Black,” Kincaid has landed on Florida’s Gulf Coast, where he’s drawn into an investigation of a series of grisly murders. The community of Sereno Key has been shaken to the core by a gruesome ritualistic murder. Detective Louis Kincaid is not convinced that the man the cops have arrested is, indeed, the perpetrator. His uncertainty is confirmed when two more bodies are discovered — each branded with the bizarre trademark of a serial killer. Now in a race against time, Kincaid will do whatever is necessary to stop the slaughter. Before he becomes the next victim of a predator more twisted than he ever imagined.

“Van Slate was suddenly interested in the conversation. “Well, it makes sense, don’t it?” I mean these dead guys are all black, right? Why would anyone paint them black? They’re already black.”

Looking for reviews on Paint It Black?  Check out:

Curl Up With A Good Book

The Bookbag

Amazon Rating-US: 4.56 out of 5 stars based on 45 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.57 out of 5 stars based on 7 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 4.00 out of 5 stars based on 476 ratings

Library Thing Rating: 3.93 out of 5 stars based on 20 ratings

Total Score 4.05 (updated 10/31/17)



Thicker_Than_Water#4- Thicker Than Water- 2003

First Line:

A sound out in the dark hallway made him look up.


Louis Kincaid, Sam Dodie, Chief Dan Wainwright, and Sheriff Mobley

Susan Outlaw: A young defense lawyer who is divorced with a young son. Potential love interest for Kincaid.

The Setting


On a hot summer night in Florida, a beautiful young woman is brutally raped and murdered. Twenty years later, the man convicted of her slaying is released from prison — only days before another horrific crime is committed. Now, Louis Kincaid must follow a trail of death that connects a decades-old case with a new murder, leading him into a web of secrets and lies surrounding a twisted killer. As one sweltering day melts into the next, the scent of blood hangs thick in the air.

“There was only one question left, the one Louis wanted to ask Cade from day one. “Why did you take the plea bargain?” Cade hesitated, standing in the center of the kitchen, his fingers on the beer pop-top. “Twenty years or the chair.” Cade looked over at Ronnie, who immediately averted his eyes. “Blood is thicker than water, man,” Cade said.”

Amazon Rating-US: 4.61 out of 5 stars based on 44 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.67 out of 5 stars based on 3 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 4.07 out of 5 stars based on 446 ratings

Library Thing Rating: 3.94 out of 5 stars based on 17 ratings

Total Score 4.12 (updated 10/31/17)



Island_of_Bones#5- Island of Bones- 2004

First Line:



Louis Kincaid

Mel Landeta: A friend and colleague of Louis and a former Miami cop that is losing his eyesight.

The Setting

Captiva Island, Florida

In the wake of a hurricane, a tiny beached skull washes up in front of Detective Louis Kincaid’s cottage. Days later, the bullet-ridden body of woman surfaces on a nearby beach. She has no identification…except for a unique ring carved out of bone on her finger. Sensing a connection between the dead woman and the skull he’s found, Louis starts investigating. His search for the truth will lead him down a trail hidden secrets and lies to face utter evil on a lonely island where treachery never dies…and the living never escape.

“Bosque was a Spanish name. Frank had that book on Asturias. Was he from the Island of Bones? Is that why he went back? Hic solutio est, Louis said under his breath.”

Amazon Rating-US: 4.38 out of 5 stars based on 109 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 5.00 out of 5 stars based on 6 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 4.01 out of 5 stars based on 720 ratings

Library Thing Rating: 3.55 out of 5 stars based on 32 ratings

Total Score 4.05  (updated 10/31/17)


killing-rain2#6- The Killing Rain- 2005

First Line:

The road in front of him was empty.


Louis Kincaid, Mel Landeta and Susan Outlaw

Joe Frye: A female Miami cop and Kincaid’s love interest.

The Setting

Captiva Island, Florida

A deep freeze is bearing down on the Florida Everglades, the kind of brutal storm the locals call a killing rain. For Detective Louis Kincaid, the coldest night of the year has brought a terrifying new chill- a grisly discovery that tightens his every nerve in warning……..

The body proves this is no routine case. It’s the start of a nightmare. When the killer chooses his next victim, there’s no doubt the detective is matching wits with a predator who is as ruthless as they come.

Now with time running out, Kincaid is on a desperate hunt of his own, tracking a twisted adversary one step away from committing the ultimate horror…….

Looking for reviews on The Killing Rain?  Check out:


Amazon Rating-US: 4.36 out of 5 stars based on 87 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 5.00 out of 5 stars based on 7 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 4.02 out of 5 stars based on 533 ratings

Library Thing Rating: 3.77 out of 5 stars based on 22 ratings

Total Score 4.07  (updated 10/31/17)



Unquiet_Grave#7- An Unquiet Grave- 2006

Winner of the 2007 Thriller Award for Best Paperback Original
Winner of the 2007 Shamus Award for Best PI Paperback Original

First Line:

The Christmas lights were already up.


Louis Kincaid

The Setting


When the body of a stranger is found in the grave of a woman in the forgotten cemetery of an abandoned, notorious sanitarium in Michigan, Louis Kincaid investigates. On his darkest journey yet, Kincaid is led to the long, dark tunnels below the asylum, where he unearths crimes of unimaginable depravity.

Amazon Rating-US: 4.60 out of 5 stars based on 75 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.67 out of 5 stars based on 9 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 4.11 out of 5 stars based on 632 ratings

Library Thing Rating: 3.74 out of 5 stars based on 26 ratings

Total Score 4.15 (updated 10/31/17)



Thousand_Bones#8- A Thousand Bones- 2007

Winner of the 2008 Anthony Award for Best Paperback Original

First Line:

“I’m guessing this is an arm bone and maybe a rib.”


Louis Kincaid, and Joe Frye

Detective Norm Rafsky: Michigan State police investigator

The Setting

Echo Bay, Michigan

The only female detective in the Miami PD’s Homicide division, Joe Frye has memories that haunt her, and a past that not even her lover, detective Louis Kincaid, truly knows. It began when Joe was an ambitious rookie cop in a small Michigan town called Echo Bay….

The bones found in the woods were the first clue in a string of unimaginably brutal murders of young women. Plunged into a heated investigation — and caught between the dictates of a reluctant local sheriff and the state police — Joe soon uncovers the chilling truth: In the dead of winter in the Michigan woods, she must face down a predator that has chosen her as a worthy opponent — or become his next victim.

Amazon Rating-US: 4.52 out of 5 stars based on 67 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.00 out of 5 stars based on 8 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 4.01 out of 5 stars based on 777 ratings

Library Thing Rating: 3.70 out of 5 stars based on 32 ratings

Total Score 4.04 (updated 10/31/17)



South_of_Hell#9- South of Hell- 2008

First Line:

It was just south of Hell.


Louis Kincaid, Mel Landeta, and Joe Frye

Kyla Marie Brown: Kincaid’s ex-girlfriend from college

Lily: Kincaid’s illegitimate daughter

Jake Shockey: Homicide detective for the Ann Arbor police department

The Setting

Ann Arbor and Hell, Michigan

With one phone call from a man he barely recalls meeting years ago, South Florida detective Louis Kincaid heads to the Michigan town of his college days to reopen a disturbing cold case — and finds himself confronting his own painful past secrets…secrets that risk his future with the woman he loves, detective Joe Frye.

Ann Arbor police detective Jake Shockey wants Kincaid’s help in the case of Jean Brandt, who went missing nine years ago — and whose husband, Owen, has since been paroled. Now, Owen Brandt’s girlfriend appears to be at risk, and Shockey is desperate to get involved. Kincaid soon unearths the deeply personal reasons why…and with Joe Frye assisting, Kincaid links yesterday’s jealousies with today’s potentially lethal vengeance. It’s only a matter of time before one will win out over the other — and before Kincaid’s own shattering revelations will be forced out into the light of day.

“It was just south of Hell. But if you missed the road leading in, you ended up down in Bliss. And there was nothing to do but go back to Hell and start all over again.”

Amazon Rating-US: 4.54 out of 5 stars based on 50 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.50 out of 5 stars based on 4 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 3.94 out of 5 stars based on 506 ratings

Library Thing Rating: 3.78 out of 5 stars based on 18 ratings

Total Score 3.99 (updated 10/31/17)



little-death2#10- The Little Death-2010

First Line:

Something wasn’t right.


Louis Kincaid, Mel Landeta, and Joe Frye

The Setting

Palm Beach, Florida

When the headless corpse of a young man is discovered in glamorous Palm Beach, Louis sets his sights on his most likely suspect—a prominent female U.S. Senator with a history of scandal and a known penchant for sadistic and dangerous sex. Then a second headless body turns up and the trail runs cold, allowing the real killer to slip in dangerously close, intent on making Louis’s best friend the next victim.

“It happened to me once. It’s called la petit mort.” Louis shook his head. “The little death”, Mel said. “That’s what the French call an orgasm.”

Looking for reviews on The Little Death?  Check out:

Mysterious Reviews

Amazon Rating-US: 4.46 out of 5 stars based on 41 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 5.00 out of 5 stars based on 2 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 3.88 out of 5 stars based on 374 ratings

Library Thing Rating: 3.85 out of 5 stars based on 10 ratings

Total Score 3.94  (updated 10/31/17)



claw-back2#10.5- Claw Back-2012 (A novella-available only on Kindle)

First Line:

He hadn’t been inside in a long time.

Her name is Grace. She’s eight years old. And she’s missing in the Florida Everglades. Can Louis Kincaid find her in time to save her — and himself?

Louis is desperate to wear a badge again and redeem himself in the eyes of his lover Joe Frye. He’s cleaning up his credit and getting in shape. But there’s one big obstacle in his way—his old nemesis Sheriff Lance Mobley. He’s willing to give Louis a shot but only if he proves himself on one of the weirdest cases Louis has ever worked. If he can find a missing endangered Florida panther in the steamy Everglades maybe he can claw his way back to his dream and his identity as a man.

Amazon Rating-US: 4.27 out of 5 stars based on 79 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.67 out of 5 stars based on 6 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 3.85 out of 5 stars based on 194 ratings

Library Thing Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars based on 6 ratings

Total Score 3.98 (updated 10/31/17)



Heart_of_Ice#11- Heart of Ice-2013

Listed #58 out of 121 on Goodreads Forensic Fiction Book List

First Line:

He was staring at the frozen lake and thinking about his mother lying on a table somewhere, screaming in pain.


Louis Kincaid, Mel Landeta, Joe Frye, Norm Rafsky, Kyla Marie Brown, and Lily

The Setting

Mackinac Island, Michigan

Florida PI Louis Kincaid wants to wear a badge again. But before he can, he must return home to Michigan and some unfinished business. He hopes to bond with ten-year-old Lily, the daughter he only recently learned existed, and reunite with girlfriend Joe Frye. But new clues to an unsolved murder put his plans on ice. A trip with Lily to enchanting Mackinac Island turns grim when the child falls on a pile of old bones; the dangerous discovery reopens the cold case of Julie Chapman, a teenager from one of the wealthy summer families, who vanished two decades ago. And when Louis is forced to cooperate with a tough state investigator who once worked with Joe, tensions skyrocket. Now, what was supposed to be a time of building lasting ties splinters into disturbing fragments, personally and professionally, as Louis pursues a mystery entangled in dark family secrets and twists even he can’t predict.

“Louis started to put the photograph away, then stopped. He stared at Rhonda Grasso, thinking about Danny Dancer’s description of her -eyes like ice, heart like ice– and he had a feeling that he was looking at a killer.”

Looking for reviews on Heart of Ice?  Check out:

Aunt Agatha’s

The Reading Cafe

Killer Nashville


Amazon Rating-US: 4.71 out of 5 stars based on 91 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 5.00 out of 5 stars based on 6 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 4.29 out of 5 stars based on 345 ratings

Library Thing Rating: 3.85 out of 5 stars based on 13 ratings

Total Score 4.37  (updated 10/31/17)

#12- The Damage Done-2018

My Review of The Damage Done

First Line:

Something was wrong.


Louis Kincaid, and Joe Frye

Mark Steele: Kincaid’s new boss who had previously had tried to destroy him

The Setting


Louis Kincaid, once exiled from Michigan’s law enforcement community, gets an unexpected offer to wear a badge again, as part of an elite homicide squad for the Michigan State Police. But his return to his home comes at the bidding of the man, Mark Steele, who once set out to destroy him. With mistrust still simmering, Louis takes on the ice-cold murder case of two small boys left in a wooden box in Michigan’s remote Upper Peninsula over two decades earlier. But when the white-hot recent murder of a mega-church minister forces the team in another direction, Louis finds himself on the hunt for two killers, at odds again with Captain Steele and haunted by memories of his own damaged childhood.

His thoughts turned to the mind game Steele was playing, the game with the cracked jugs that formed his team, setting them up to face head-on the damage done to them as children. What kind of man–what kind of leader–did something like that? 


2 thoughts on “P.J. Parrish’s Louis Kincaid Series

  1. Clawless—Loved the books with his daughter and with Joe more than when he is alone. But all of the books are good enough to read more than once.

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