The Burning (Clay Edison #4), by Jonathan Kellerman and Jesse Kellerman

Eight stars

Always eager when the father-son collaborative duo of Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman publish, I was happy to see the latest in the Clay Edison series. While his job may seem simple enough, Clay Edison always look for new challenges in the workplace. His latest case has a personal spin that he cannot shake, turning his world upside down as he seeks answers before his family learns what may be a bitter truth. Another winner in this series that keeps getting better.

While wildfires burn across California, some areas have taken to turning off power in order to conserve it. Such is the case where Clay Edison and his family live. After sending his pregnant wife and daughter away, both because of smoke and a lack of power, Edison forges ahead with his job as Deputy Coroner.

When attending the crime scene of a wealthy man who was shot and killed in his home, Edison makes a startling discovery in the victim’s garage. It would appear that Clay’s brother, Luke, has left his flash vehicle there, which is soon substantiated when running the tags. Hoping to make sense of it all, Deputy Coroner does what he does best and investigates, but Luke has gone missing and no one seems to know what’s happened.

At first glance, it is likely only a coincidence, but things begin to get even more troubling when Edison finds the bloody murder weapon at a gas station on the outskirts of town. Could Luke be guilty of a crime, just as he’s getting his life back together?

Leaving no stone unturned, Edison looks for Luke and tries to keep it from the family, but must soon admit what could be a horrible truth. Luke Edison might be guilty of another murder, this time by his own hand. Still, something does not seem right and Clay will stop at nothing until he vindicates the only sibling he’s ever known.

While I have never read any of the Jonathan Kellerman novels, I did take a great interest in Jesse’s solo work years ago. After a few collaborative flops, these two created the Clay Edison series and I could not get enough of the books. Filled with great stories and wonderfully dry wit, these were a refreshing perspective in a genre that is supersaturated with books. Unique angles and strong character development help the Kellermans develop something many reader can enjoy for years to come.

Clay Edison is a wonderful protagonist and keeps things working well throughout. His attention to detail and meticulous investigative skills are matched by a personal side that makes him approachable. This novel saw some great backstory development for Clay, permitting the reader a deeper gander in a life of sports, love, and sibling rivalry. Clay Edison connects well to the attentive reader, perhaps like no other book in the series to date.

The Kellermans have a great writing style and can create a powerful story with their collaborate efforts. The narrative clips along, creating strong scenes and wonderful descriptions for the reader, mixing crime and familial connections when they are both suitable. A handful of strong characters combine with plot twists that keep the reader guessing, this is another example of how established writers can use what they do best and make it even better. I can only hope that there is more to the series and that these two remain a strong team.

Kudos, Messrs. Kellerman, for another great novel. I am spoiled by you both and cannot wait for what’s next!

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: