A Measure of Darkness (Clay Edison #2), by Jonathan Kellerman and Jesse Kellerman

Eight stars

Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman return with another successful collaborative effort as they continue their new series. This comes after a disastrous effort that many readers still remember. A late-night shooting outside an Oakland home brings Clay Edison to the scene. An investigator for the Coroner’s Office, Edison spends much of his time trying to locate the next of kin while also working to better understand the rationale, paralleling some of the work undertaken by the police. While the deaths took place at a single location, bullets were not the only weapon of choice. Adding to the complications, Edison must try to identify the bodies, which proves harder than it might seem. The case branches out and forces Edison into the world of the transgender community, who protect themselves, erecting walls of privacy they feel prevents societal shaming. While Edison must walk on eggshells in this regard, it pales in comparison to some of the other mysteries of the case surrounding an alternative school with a history of bucking the mainstream. The further Edison digs, the more complicated things became. If this were not enough, Clay’s brother appears after a stint in jail with news of his own, enough to topple the apple cart for Clay and those close to him. The Kellerman men provide a fast-paced and highly entertaining piece that explores the criminal process from a unique perspective. Recommended for fans of both authors and their collaborative efforts, as well as readers who love a good police procedural.

I have read most of what Jesse Kellerman has written, though I soured on him after reading the aforementioned literary disaster. However, when I saw such rave reviews for the series debut novel, I took the plunge and was pleased with the outcome. The Kellerman men have a great grasp of writing that puts the reader at ease and keeps them connection to the cases at hand. Clay Edison, a college basketball phenom whose career abruptly ended, has adapted to life as a coroner’s investigator. He’s a great character whose off-hand approach to life and work keeps the story moving along well. He has a way about him that has the reader wondering where his mind is going and what he is thinking, keeping the narrative twisting in numerous directions. The reader sees much of his backstory emerging with the arrival of his brother on the scene. Bringing up memories of their youth and the different paths they chose at an important fork in the road helps the reader to relate a little better with him. Adding a collection of characters who differ greatly from one another, the authors inject an interesting flavour to the story, such that the reader will not likely become tired as the narrative progresses. Tackling a few poignant societal issues, the authors provide an interesting—and I would venture to say, ‘healthy’—discussion of the issues, choosing to offer a perspective that is respectful without being soap box-esque. This provides the reader with some insight that may not have been at their disposal before, perhaps opening the minds or sparking an ongoing debate. The story certainly flows well and reads like a police procedural, though without much of the gritty banter between authorities and witnesses. The seamless writing style of these two established authors is reflected in the ease with which the reader can progress in short order. I am definitely looking forward for more in this series, though understand personal commitments of both Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman may make another novel a distant dream.

Kudos, Messrs. Kellerman, for another stellar piece. You have great fan bases and I hope you’ll continue to cater to them for the foreseeable future.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons