Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

TRUE DETECTIVES by Jonathan Kellerman

Jonathan Kellerman True Detectives

First seen in Jonathan Kellerman’s novel, Bones, Private Investigator Aaron Fox and LAPD Detective Moses Reed take center stage in this new book from the prolific novelist. Normally Kellerman writes about his series regulars, Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis, with occasional forays into standalone thrillers and other characters. In True Detectives, Kellerman manages to bring a little from all his worlds into a familiar concoction of murder and psychology.

I really liked the characters in this one and I hated to see them go when I was finished. Hopefully Kellerman will bring them back, because even he didn’t seem quite finished with them.

Aaron Fox is half-black. Moses Reed is white. They share the same mother, and that’s about all. Except for a keen interest in murder investigations. Fox makes six figures a year as a private investigator working for high roller clients on sensitive matters. He’d been an LAPD policeman and hadn’t cared for the restraint offered by the job. The pay also couldn’t afford the luxuries he want, designer clothing and style of living to which he’s become accustomed.

Moses Reed has always carried a chip on his shoulder, always never sure if he was quite good enough to get everything right. He struggles every day for perfection, in mind and body, and hangs on every word from Detective Milo Sturgis.

For years, the two brothers have managed to keep their worlds mostly apart, despite the attempts of their mother. Even though the murder investigations overlap conveniently, because of Fox’s best client and because of a cold case Reed works, I went along with it. Something needed to bring the brothers together, and the kinks in the two investigations really worked for me.

Overall, Kellerman keeps the pacing up and the scenes flowing. The characterization seemed a little thin at times as he worked back and forth between the brothers and the ancillary characters, but they serve the needs of the plot and kept things moving. The action also tended to be a little introverted instead of on the page, and I would have liked a smidgen more bang with the ending.

The dialogue is really good, and there’s a lot of it, which keeps the pages turning quickly. I also liked the way Kellerman worked in his series characters (Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis) and even brought in Petra Connor, who starred in a couple novels of her own. The mix is well done overall, and it reminds regular readers that Kellerman’s worlds all have their own internal logic.

However, the ending was so convoluted that it requires a long confession from the killer to put everything to rights. That was disappointing but I understood why it was necessary because the investigation sprawled all over the place before all the final truths were out.

True Detectives is a good beach read or suited for a rainy weekend, and Kellerman has created a couple of characters I’d really like to see again.


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