Inspiration for The Apostle- J. A. Kerley

Category: Uncategorized

God Translators: Inspiration for The Apostle

The apostle packshot

It was 1978. I was down with the flu, sneezing into tissues and – my brain liquified by viral entities – watching daytime soaps. A news bulletin arrived, saying California Congressman Leo Ryan had just been viciously murdered in Jonestown, Guyana, there to investigate human-rights abuses at ‘The People’s Temple’, the home of a religious sect headed by the Reverend Jim Jones.

After his special squad of enforcers – the ‘Red Brigade’ – killed Ryan and four others, Reverend Jones convinced over 900 loyal followers to commit suicide by drinking cyanide, over 300 of them children. Those demurring were forced to drink the poison.

Homebound, I had little to do but fixate on the unfolding story over the next few days, fascinated that so many human beings had traded their freedom – and ultimately their lives – for  a self-professed ‘Man of God’ who was clearly unbalanced, paranoiac and violent, particularly toward the final days of his tragic journey.

Fast-forward to 2005: I’m pulling out of Jackson, Mississippi, and heading home to Kentucky. It’s Sunday morning in the Deep South and a cultural requisite to tune to hellfire-and-brimstone fundamentalist radio. I happened upon a preacher adamant about a passage in the Bible ‘that God wants you to understand, needs you to understand.’ It’s further explained that the true meaning of God’s crucial communiqué is available from the preacher for ‘only forty dollars’.

The salesman of this revelation was the infamous Reverend Jimmy Swaggart, a pentecostal preacher and televangelist disgraced by sex-related scandals in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It seemed that the omnipotent creator of time and space and vast whirling galaxies couldn’t communicate in plain language and had to rely on translation by a defrocked minister.

It’s religibiquitous: Jim Bakker’s sexual and financial pecadilloes paved the way for his fall from grace, yet he’s currently begging for money in the name of The Almighty. Benny Hinn has been exposed for false healings and a lavish lifestyle, yet retains a broad following and reaps millions annually. And let’s not forget Oral Roberts, who blubbered to his tele-congregation that unless they donated a fast eight million bills to his ministry, God would kill him.

The money poured in.

The newest wrinkle in religio-fundraising is the’“Prosperity Gospel’, a premise holding that Jesus’s caring for the poor was overblown and what Christ truly wanted was everyone materially rich beyond measure. You board this high-yield glory train by giving money that will – through faith – return a hundredfold.

But, of course, the prosperity preacher gets his palm fed first.

The above events and ideas share a commonality: Their practitioners misinterpret religious texts and dogma to benefit their causes, then convince others to buy into the lies. It’s con artistry, pure and simple. And sometimes with disastrous consequences.

These concepts and consequences have been tumbling in my head since I was captive to the flu and beholding the Jonestown horror, finally emerging as The Apostle. The story details grim happenings and heroic ones, and – as in any enterprise where larcenous religionists necessarily lie to themselves – some amusing ones.

The Apostle is not anti-religion. It’s anti-hypocrite, anti-charlatan, anti-lunatic. And to help lead the charge against false idols, Harry Nautilus has returned to the fold, Carson’s right-hand, left-hand, hand-you-never-knew-you-had-nor-needed man.

Brother Harry’s singing in the choir once again.


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An audience with J. A. Kerley

Category: News

Picture1Howdy folks, and thanks for letting me take the dais. The topic is Carson Ryder’s recent move from Mobile, Alabama, to South Florida.

Because I can’t speak into microphones without them squealing like a kicked pig, I’m gonna take my beer to the edge of the stage, sit down, and we’ll start the session… First question to the lady in the fuzzy red hat. Ma’am?

‘Did Carson finally make Mobile’s Chief of Police so angry that Carson got fired?’

Thankfully, the Florida Center for Law Enforcement offered to make Carson a major investigator.

‘Wasn’t Carson a major investigator in Alabama?’

Only in the city of Mobile. As a specialist for the FCLE, Carson now has an entire state under his jurisdiction, 58,000 square miles of general weirdness.

Next question to the gent in the bowler hat. Sir?

‘In Mobile, Carson headed the Psychopathological and Sociopathological Investigative Team. Will he still go after the nastiest, most deranged criminals?’

It’s Florida, sir. He’ll have a wider variety to choose from.

Question to the lady in the blue bathrobe …

‘Does Carson have a new partner?’

He often pairs with Ignacio Ruben Manolo Gershwin, ‘Ziggy’ for short, thankfully.

‘What about Harry Nautilus?’

I have seen the future, ma’am, and it is sometimes dressed in neon-orange Aloha shirts, lime-green shorts and sky-blue sneakers.

‘Non-readers won’t understand that, will they?’

Not a word.

Next question to the fellow crouching behind the potted plant …

‘I- I liked Carson’s house on Dauphin Island. Wh-why would he leave such a peachy place?’

He found an even, uh, peachier place in the Florida Keys.

Next question to the woman atop the pony, but only if you don’t use the word ‘peachy.’

‘The house on Dauphin Island, Mr Kerley. Might I purchase it?’

Carson decided to keep the house, ma’am, and lease it to vacationers.

‘So he’ll still visit South Alabama?’

I’ll just say that all things are possible.

Next question to the young lady eating from the bag of chips …

‘How about Carson’s brother, Jeremy? I probably shouldn’t say this, but he’s my favorite character.’

I expect Jeremy to continue affecting events in his own special ways, ma’am.

‘Is Jeremy still hiding in Kentucky?’

Not presently. Rumour has it he’s off looking for that one special lady.

‘My goodness! Are you saying—’

Time for one final question. The fellow in the cream linen jacket who just came in the door. Do you have a … Wait, what are you doing here? Look at the sign: It’s the J. A. Kerley session.

‘So why are the questions about me and not you?’

‘I, uh …’

Kerley moves his mouth but no sounds emerge. The newcomer puts his hands in his pockets and rocks on his heels in amusement. The red-hatted woman tugs at his sleeve.

‘I don’t understand,’ she says. ‘Do you write him or does he write you?’

Carson Ryder thinks a moment. ‘It depends on the story, ma’am.’

The woman watches as Ryder turns and exits. Outside, under a floating blue sky, a large black man with a bulldozer-blade mustache is sitting in a vintage Volvo and whistling a tune by Louis Armstrong. Ryder laughs and jumps into the car.
Off they go.


The Death Box, the latest novel in the nail-biting Carson Ryder series by J. A. Kerley is out tomorrow! Pre-order your copy today!


January's Killer Review title is: The Hundredth Man

Category: News

thehundredthmanA body is found in the sweating heat of an Alabama night; headless, words inked on the skin. Detective Carson Ryder is good at this sort of thing – crazies and freaks. To his eyes it is no crime of passion, and when another mutilated victim turns up his suspicions are confirmed. This is not the work of a ‘normal’ murderer, but that of a serial killer, a psychopath.Famous for solving a series of crimes the year before, Carson Ryder has experience with psychopaths. But he had help with that case – strange help, from a past Ryder is trying to forget.

Now he needs it again.

When the truth finally begins to dawn, it shines on an evil so twisted, so dangerous, it could destroy everything that he cares about…

A Sunday Times Top 10 Hardback bestseller, The Hundredth Man is a brilliant page-turner that will keep you hooked from the very first page. To be in with a chance to review it, simply email