Excerpt from The Hundredth Man by Jack Kerley, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Hundredth Man

By Jack Kerley

The Hundredth Man
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Jun 2004,
    320 pages.
    Paperback: Jun 2005,
    416 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Prologue

Seconds before one of the most long-awaited events of Alexander Caulfield's adult life, an event he'd spent years planning and pursuing, an event marking his ascension into professionalism, a decent salary, and the respect of his peers, his left eye started winking like a gigolo in a third-rate Italian film.

tic

Caulfield cursed beneath his breath. A physician, he recognized a manifestation of transient hemifacial spasms: eye tics or flutters in response to events sparking anxiety or posing a threat.

tic

Anxiety was ludicrous, he lectured himself, squeezing the offending eye shut; he'd performed or assisted with hundreds of autopsies during his internship. The only difference was this was his first professional autopsy. She was sitting twenty feet away.

tic

Caulfield slowly opened his eye . . .

tic

He angled a glance at Dr. Clair Peltier. She was opening a letter in the autopsy suite's utility office, apparently absorbed in correspondence. Caulfield felt blindsided, unprepared, fumble fingered: today had been scheduled for procedural reviews and meeting new colleagues at the Mobile office of the Alabama Forensics Bureau.

tic

Then she'd casually suggested he take her place during a procedure.

Caulfield refocused the ceiling-mounted surgical lamp over the body of the middle-aged white male on the table. Water rinsed beneath the corpse, sounding like a small brook playing over metal. He glanced at Dr. Peltier again: still studying her mail. He mopped his sweating brow, adjusted his mask for the third time, and studied the body. Would his incision be perfectly midline? Would it be straight? Smooth? Would it meet her standards?

He drank in a deep breath, told his hands, Now. The blue-white belly opened like a curtain between pubis and sternum. Clean and straight, a textbook opening.

Caulfield slipped another glance at Dr. Peltier. She was watching him.

tic

Dr. Peltier smiled and returned to her correspondence. Caulfield pushed his fear to a far corner of his mind and focused on inspecting and weighing organs. He spoke his findings aloud, the tape recorder capturing them for later transcription to print.

"On gross examination the myocardial tissue appears normal in size and wall thickness. Areas of myocardium in the left ventricle are suggestive of past myocardial infarction. . . ."

The familiar sights and words steered Caulfield onto a trusted path; he didn't notice when the spasms melted away.

". . . liver mottled, early indication of cirrhosis . . . kidneys unremarkable . . ."

The man had been found sprawled in his front yard after a 911 call. The EMTs followed aggressive resuscitation procedures for a heart attack, but the man entered University Hospital as a DOA. Caulfield's initial findings supported a massive cardiac event, though the nondamaged tissue appeared healthy and free of epicarditis or atherosclerosis. Caulfield moved lower in the cavity.

"An obstruction is noted in the descending colon. . . ."

Caulfield pinched the lump in the bowel. Hard and regular in shape, a man-made object. It wasn't uncommon, emergency-room physicians were forever sending patients to the ER to extract vibrators, candles, vegetables, and suchnot; people were inventive in their quest for erotic sensation.

"Using a number-ten blade, a ten-centimeter vertical incision was made through the anterior wall of the descending colon. . . ."

Caulfield retracted the bowel to reveal the source of the obstruction.

Reprinted from The Hundredth Man by Jack Kerley by permission of Dutton, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc. Copyright © Jack Kerley, 2004. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced without permission.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Promise
    The Promise
    by Ann Weisgarber
    Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery of Anne of Green Gables fame, once wrote that "...all things ...
  • Book Jacket: Black Moon
    Black Moon
    by Kenneth Calhoun
    The popularity of book-turned-movie World War Z and television series The Walking Dead points to a ...
  • Book Jacket: Hyde
    Hyde
    by Daniel Levine
    In Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story ends ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Sailor Twain
by Mark Siegel

Published Mar. 2014

Join the discussion!

Win this book!
Win The Steady Running of the Hour

The Steady Running of the Hour

"Exciting, emotionally engaging and ambitious. I loved it!" - Kate Mosse

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I T T O A Eye

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.