Thursday, March 26, 2009

TRUE DETECTIVES by JONATHAN KELLERMAN

Detective Moses Reed was introduced in Jonathan Kellerman's last novel, Bones. In that novel, Moe was an eager rookie learning at the feet of the great Milo Sturgis. He was a fairly minor character, the most interesting thing about him being the seething antipathy that surfaced when he came into contact with his half brother, Aaron Fox, former LAPD turned private investigator. In True Detectives, Moe Reed and Aaron Fox are at center stage, with Sturgis and Alex Delaware being relegated to walk-on parts.

Moe is already on the case of Caitlin Frostig, a young woman missing and presumed dead, when his brother is hired by a third party to look into her disappearance. Their working methods are as different as their life-styles, appearances, and even races (the sons of the same white mother, Aaron's father was Darius Fox, an African-American police officer killed in the line of duty, Moses's father was Darius's white partner, who later married his widow).


The investigation into the disappearance of Caitlin Frostig leads to a cold case, the unsolved murder of a young mother and the disappearance of her months old baby. From there, the involvement of a junkie movie star, the wanna-be rock star spawn of a Michael Moore-esque filmmaker, and assorted low life pimps and hookers drags the investigation in directions no one would have imagined at the outset.


The dynamic between the brothers, each an interesting, well-rounded character in his own right, is what truly drives True Detectives. It's nice to view Alex Delaware, usually front and center and narrating the action in his own voice, from another perspective, and Milo Sturgis is, of course, a big, growly, charming bear.


Kellerman's writing and plotting seems invigorated by the introduction of some fresh perspectives. True Detectives is his best novel in several years.

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