Crime Scene (Clay Edison #1), by Jonathan Kellerman and Jesse Kellerman

Eight stars

In another joint effort, Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman seek to hit the reset button after a miserable writing venture about monsters and other such inane topics. After taking a breather, this piece allows their true colours to shine through, crafting a superior series debut novel. Clay Edison has quite the life as a deputy sheriff with the county coroner’s office. Edison attends crime scenes to help move along the manner of death and working to notify families of loss, when appropriate. While the job has its macabre side, Edison can find small crumbs of interest, especially when a case takes on an unexpected twist. Attending the scene of an apparent fall, Edison encounters a distraught Tatiana Rennert-Delavigne, daughter of the victim, one Walter Rennert. Edison must calm Tatiana, who is sure that her father’s death was anything but accidental, citing an old murder from 1993 that bore similarities. Unable to provide any concrete answers at the scene, Edison assures the distraught woman that he will be in touch, his brain curious about the aforementioned murder from the nineties. The autopsy seems to back up the suspected accidental death from a fall, showing heart issues, but that only piques Edison’s curiosity even more. Medication prescribed to Rennert seems to have come from an unlikely source and Edison runs a little longer with this 1993 murder to see if there are truly parallels. There appears to be something, as Rennert was a psychology professor running an interesting study in years past, seeking to find a parallel between violent video games and the behaviour that came from it. When one of the test subjects, Julian Triplett, was charged and convicted with the murder of Rennert’s student assistance on the study, the academic exploration’s relevance seems to heighten. Now, all these years later, Edison must try to determine if Triplett could have something to do with Rennert’s death, while not being completely convinced that there was foul play at all. With a handful of cases cluttering up his desk and the desire not to get too involved with Tatiana, Clay Edison must remember the limits to his job and let those in a position of authority crack the case, if there is one at all. The Kellermans prove that they can work together to create a wonderful story and thriller, given the proper tools. I had written them off as a team, but must now rethink my critique, as long as they stick to series like this. Surely, crime thriller lovers will want to test the waters with this piece, which has all the ingredients for a successful novel.

I will admit to being a long-time Jesse Kellerman fan and have heard much about his father. Excitement spilt over when I heard they penned a novel together, but that turned to disappointment when I read the poorly crafted piece that significant undershorts the NYT Bestselling Author moniker both have procured. Slowly, I thawed to the idea of returning to one of their novels, seeing others praise this collaboration, and am now glad that I gave them the chance. Clay Edison proves to be an interesting character, packed full with a backstory that will lure the reader in a little further. A college basketball star who remained local, allowing is past glory envelop him for those who remember his court antics. Now, working in that job that straddles the coroner with police authority, Edison’s work pushes him to the limits and allows him a little chance to sleuth around, without the gun or cuffs. Pairing him with a few strong secondary characters, the Kellermans allow Edison’s various character flaws to come through, as well as the strength of his determination. The attentive reader will even see one of Jonathan Kellerman’s protagonists play a cameo role in part of the story, which seems to enrich at least that portion of the tale. The story itself is intriguing, though one cannot call it entirely unique. A killer potentially on the loose and seeking some form of retribution for his crime. It does have aspects of a beaten, dead horse, but it is the way the Kellermans present it that keeps the reader wanting to know more. I am curious, I will admit that, though I am still not sure how deep this series can go. I would like to see more before diving head-long into complete praise, but have seen a great deal of potential here.

Kudos, Messrs. Kellerman, as you embark on what I can only hope is a more successful and less asinine journey than Golem work. I am intrigued and hope the literary vapours that seep from your family will create more successful novels soon.

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