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Saturday, November 6, 2021


The case escalates and the book gets more difficult to put down. You just have to keep on reading. (Review by Christine E Hann)

The Burning is written by father-son-duo Jonathon Kellerman and Jesse Kellerman who have now written six books together including their latest, The Burning, as well as The Golem of Hollywood, The Golem of Paris, Crime Scene, A Measure of Darkness and Half Moon Bay.

Jonathon Kellerman (born 1949) is an award-winning American novelist and a Clinical Professor of Paediatrics and Psychology at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. He is well-known for the popular mystery novels featuring Alex Delaware, a child psychologist for the Los Angeles Police Department. He has written over 40 crime / mystery novels, nonfiction works, children’s novels and graphic works as well. He is married to novelist Faye Kellerman. They have four children.

Jesse Oren Kellerman (born 1978) studied Psychology at Harvard and play writing at Brandeis University. He has written ten novels and one play. He lives in California with his wife and three children.

The Burning is the 4th book featuring Alameda County Deputy Coroner Clay Edison. The book is set as nearby wildfires and power outages turn Clay’s hometown of Oaklands into an unhealthy place to be. The air is foul, visibility is poor, is it really safe to be there at all? Our Deputy Coroner has sent his pregnant wife and young child to stay with family in Los Angeles, while he continues to live and work in these difficult conditions.

His new case is set to cause even greater upheaval in his life. A wealthy businessman and collector is gruesomely murdered. There is a second wife and an aggrieved son, and then it seems Clay’s own family may be involved. Can he manage this conflict of interest? How will it impact the case as other members of the force come into the picture? Does Clay then commit a crime(s) as well in trying to protect his brother? Has he lost his integrity, and how will this affect him and his family? Amongst the intrigue you find yourself wondering where Clay’s brother has vanished, is he the murderer or another victim in the case?

The case escalates and the book gets more difficult to put down. You just have to keep on reading. I enjoy a book that must be finished to work out who the culprit (s) are. There was some angst (did he do right or not, and how did I feel about this, as he should be an example of the law and its methods) and gentler touches included with his young family’s feelings and needs, making Deputy Coroner more human to the reader and harder to judge as a result.

The Burning can be read as a stand-alone novel but will have more impact if you read the books as a series, to view the growth and change in the main character. Either way, it’s a recommended read. - Christine E Hann

The Burning is published by Century, Penguin Random House UK – 2021. ISBN: 978-1-780-89910-7