First edition.
Publisher, Date:
New York : Ballantine Books, [2018]
335 pages ; 25 cm
"From the bestselling father-son team who write "brilliant, page-turning fiction" (Stephen King) comes the second installment in crime fiction's most intriguing new series. It's been a busy year for Alameda County Coroner's Deputy Clay Edison. He's solved a decades-old crime and redeemed an innocent man--earning himself a suspension in the process. Things are getting serious with his girlfriend. And his brother's fresh out of prison, bringing with him a great big basket of crazy. Then the call comes in the middle of the night. It's a bad one. A party in West Oakland. An argument with the neighbors. A crowd in the street. Two guns, firing at random, spreading chaos and death. Nobody knows the body count yet. What Clay does know is this: it's going to be a long, long night. Longer than he ever could have imagined. Because when the dust settles, there's an extra victim. One who can't be accounted for. A young woman, strangled instead of shot, without ID and a stranger to all. She is Jane Doe. She is the Unknown. Clay's journey to give her a name and bring her justice will lead him into the bizarre--a seductive world where innocence and perversity meet and mingle; where right and wrong begin to blur"-- Provided by publisher.
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9780399594632 (hardback)
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F Kel
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Author Notes
Jonathan Kellerman is one of the world's most popular authors. He has brought his expertise as a child psychologist to 16 consecutive bestselling novels of suspense, including The Butcher's Theater, Jerusalem, and Billy Straight and 32 previous Alex Delaware novels, translated into two dozen languages. He is also the author of numerous essays, short stories, and scientific articles, two children's books, and three volumes on psychology, including Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children. <p> (Publisher Provided) Jonathan Kellerman was born in New York City on August 9, 1949 and raised in Los Angeles. He received a B.A. in Psychology from UCLA and a Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Southern California. At the age of 22, he won the Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award for fiction. <p> He has served as Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Psychology at the School of Medicine at USC and as a consultant to the State of California, the U.S. Army and the Superior Court of Los Angeles. He is the founding director of the Psychosocial Program at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. The first books he published were medical texts: Psychological Aspects of Childhood Cancer (1980) and Helping the Fearful Child (1981). <p> His first novel, When the Bough Breaks (1985), was made into a television movie and received the Edgar Allan Poe and Anthony Boucher awards. He has also written many bestselling crime novels featuring the Alex Delaware series, children's books, and nonfiction works. His fiction book, co-authored with son Jesse Kellerman, The Golem of Hollywood, made the New York Times bestseller list in 2014. His recent books include The Murderer's Daughter, Breakdown, and The Wedding Guest. <p> (Bowker Author Biography)
First Chapter or Excerpt
CHAPTER 1 Friday, December 21 They were going to have a nice evening together. Hattie had been planning for a week, since Isaiah called to tell her he was home from school. He wanted to know was it okay for him to come by and pay her a visit. Okay? How could it not be? Hattie couldn't remember when she'd last seen her grandson. That distressed her, both the not-­seeing and the not-­remembering. A year? Maybe longer. Too long, at any rate. It got lonely. She didn't get many visitors. People had their own lives. Her children had gone and gotten children for themselves. They'd found places in the world. That alone was proof of a life well lived. It got lonely, though. Curtis--­Isaiah's father, her youngest--­made the drive down once a month or so. You'd think it was a thousand miles instead of forty. Hattie sometimes made up reasons to call him. The kitchen outlets did go bad a lot. Standing at the breaker box, he would remind her again in that weary patient way of his that the whole sub-­panel needed replacing. Her baby boy, graying. It must have happened at some point that she stopped scolding him and it started coming back the other way. There must have been a day. She couldn't remember that, either. The neighborhood's changing he said. She fixed coffee and let him make his case. They were fleeing the city, pouring over the bridge. Computer people. Couldn't be stopped. They wanted to be near the train. Ten minutes to downtown San Francisco. They paid cash. Did she know what she could get for this old place? He took after his own father. Unsentimental. It's too much house for one person he said. And where was she supposed to live, according to this plan? With us. Hattie snorted. I guess you didn't ask Tina how she feels about that. Mom, please. She'd love to have you. He was missing the point. Change was nothing new to her. All her life she'd lived in Oakland, half those years on Almond Street, and never could she remember the scenery standing still. Now he expected her to pick up and run? What from? White folks wielding new countertops? She'd weathered worse. Not to say she wasn't tempted. Most of her friends had left, passed on, or else lost their leases. Curtis wasn't the only one trying to show her the light. Real estate agents kept calling her up, knocking on her door, sliding their slick postcards into her mailbox. Please call me to discuss an exciting opportunity. Once she went to put out the trash, and a young fellow in a jacket and tie appeared at her side. Hattie thought he must have been sitting in his car, waiting for her. Like an eel, darting out from the rocks to snap. He offered to bring the can down to the curb for her. No, thank you, she could manage on her own. He left her with a card (sean godwin, licensed realtor) and a sheet of paper listing recent neighborhood sales. On Almond Street alone there were three, including the big wreck across the street. A ruined beauty, with a cratered roof, blank window frames, walls spray-­painted in wrathful scrawls. Hattie's eyes nearly fell out of her head when she saw the price. She counted the string of zeros and expected bulldozers any day. The buyer was a white lady, with other ideas. Plank by plank, dab by dab, the skeleton knit itself back together, grew flesh, skin, acquired a healthful glow. Hattie monitored the process through her curtains. A crew of Spanish men did the heavy work. Often, though, she saw the lady herself out there, her and her husband, or boyfriend more likely, smoking and laughing as they rolled paint, drove out a horde of raccoons. Or the lady alone, wearing overalls to hang wire for a chicken coop. Planting bamboo that rose to shut out the world. Everything changes, nothing remains. Hattie knew that. She accepted it. Truth be told it excited her a little--­the unexpected. Her husband, God rest him, called her a dreamer. She used to hide her mystery novels under the kitchen sink so he wouldn't lecture her. For this reason, perhaps, she harbored a particular closeness to Isaiah: he was a dreamer, too. I might come by and see you, Grandma. Is that okay? Was it okay. Hattie baked a coconut cake. Isaiah clocked her disappointment as soon as she opened the door. She'd begun moving in for a kiss, freezing as her eye picked out the metal bead snugged in the crease beneath his lower lip, as though it might sting her. He was going to have to take the initiative. He brought her into his arms and held her against him, smelling her scalp, the floral bite of her hairspray. She felt like straw. "Good to see you, Grandma." "You too, honey." She didn't say a word about the stud. He did catch her staring over dinner, or maybe that was him being paranoid. On the train down, he'd thought about taking it out, but he wasn't supposed to do that for a month or the hole could close up. He was aware of gumming up consonants--­F, V, P, B--­the backing clicking against his teeth. Certain foods presented a challenge. Hattie had prepared enough for ten. Chicken, beans, yams. He didn't dare refuse. He chewed with purpose, seated beneath the portrait of Grandpa William in his starched Navy uniform. "How are your parents?" she said. "Fine." His mother had seen the piercing and sighed. Isaiah. ­Really. "They say hi." "Tell me about school. What classes are you taking?" Structure of the Family, Imagining Ethnography, Comp 2, American Cultural Methodologies. He'd settled on sociology as a major. "Next semester I have a class on interviewing," he said. "I'm gonna call you up." "Me?" She waved him away. "What for?" But he could tell she was pleased. "You've seen some things," he said. "I'm old, you mean." "Grandma." "It's all right," she said. "I am old." She carried his empty plate into the kitchen, returning with a high cake smothered in coconut flakes and thick buttercream frosting. She fetched clean plates and a knife and bent to cut him a huge slice. He was trying to figure out how to decline when from out in the street came a deafening belch of static. "Shit," he said, twisting in his seat. Hattie clucked her tongue at him. He spread his palms on the vinyl tablecloth. His heart was going. "What was that?" She shook her head. He pushed back his chair, went over to the bay window, parted the curtains. The side gate of the mansion across the street was propped, and a portly, bearded white man was unloading a van, dollying a keg up a path toward the backyard. "Someone lives there?" he said. "A lady bought it," Hattie said. "What lady?" "She calls herself an artist." Isaiah studied the house, its windows warm, multicolored lights outlining the eaves. As long as he could remember, the place had served as a lair for junkies and squatters. Growing up--­before his parents dragged him and his sister out to the suburbs--­he had been forbidden from going anywhere near it. A second blast of static made him jump. "She's probably having one of her parties," Hattie said. She tapped the plate with the back of the knife. "Eat up, honey." In the time it took him to consume his dessert there were four more eruptions of noise, a man's amplified voice: Testing, one two, one two. House music boomed. Isaiah set down his fork. "Don't they have any respect?" "It's not that bad," Hattie said. "Are you kidding? It's like a bomb going off." "Since when did you ever hear a bomb?" "You can't sleep with that," he said. "It'll be over by midnight." He goggled at her. "Midnight?" She shrugged. The music cut out a few minutes later, as he was setting his backpack down on the guest room bed. The silence was as startling as the noise, causing him to tense all over, and then to flood with hot relief. He dug out his phone. Tuan had texted him an address. Isaiah replied he'd be there in thirty and went back downstairs, calling, "Yo Grandma." He found her hunched over the sink, skinny arms inside floppy yellow dish gloves. "Yes, honey?" "Hey," he said. Faltering, because she looked so frail. "Why don't I do that for you?" "Guests don't do the dishes." She gestured toward the living room, flinging soapy droplets. "Make yourself comfortable. Jeopardy!'s on. I'll come join you when I'm done." "Yeah, okay. Just," he said, scratching at his neck, "I kind of told some friends I might meet up with them." In the brief interval that followed he watched an unspoken hope of hers crumble. "But I can stay," he said. "Don't be silly. You go have fun. Which friends?" "Jalen." "That's Gladys Coombs's boy." He nodded. He didn't mention Tuan, she wouldn't approve. "It's nice you two keep in touch," Hattie said. "Yeah, for sure." She stripped off the dish gloves and went over to the kitchen table. Taking her pocketbook from her purse, she extracted a ten-­dollar bill. "Here." "That's okay, I'm fine." "Go on. Make an old lady happy." He accepted the money. "Thanks, Grandma." "You're welcome. Get the key off the hook before you go." She presented her cheek. He pursed his lips out far to kiss her, so that she wouldn't feel metal. Excerpted from A Measure of Darkness by Jonathan Kellerman, Jesse Kellerman All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.
Fiction/Biography Profile
Clay Edison (Male), Deputy coroner, Brother is out of prison; things get serious with his girlfriend;
Fathers and sons
Search for truth
Supernatural beings
New York - Mid-Atlantic States (U.S.)
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Trade Reviews

  Publishers Weekly Review

In bestseller Kellerman and son Jesse's plodding sequel to 2017's Crime Scene, Oakland, Calif., coroner's deputy Clay Edison responds to a multiple shooting, apparently sparked by a dispute about noise from a large party. The victims include a six-year-old boy, who was struck by a stray bullet while sleeping in his bed, and a female pedestrian, seemingly accidentally dragged to her death by a car. Edison diligently reviews the evidence and interviews witnesses as he tries to reconstruct what led to the gunfire and the vehicular homicide, but the complexity of the case confuses more than it intrigues. The plot, unlike in the senior Kellerman's best Alex Delaware books, never gathers much steam, and the characterizations, including Clay's relationship with his troubled brother, fall short of the standard set in Edgar-finalist Jesse's better work. Staccato prose doesn't help ("A bicycle, I'd lose him. I walked faster. The phone shook"). Few readers will welcome a third outing from Clay. Agent: Barney Karpfinger, Karpfinger Agency. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

  Booklist Review

It's nice to see Jonathan Kellerman, who's had a long career as a best-selling novelist, teaming up with his son, Jesse. Their novels are different from Jonathan's solo efforts: there's a different flavor, a different style of characterization. In their new collaboration, a follow-up to Crime Scene (2017), Deputy Coroner Clay Edison is determined to discover the identity of a woman whose body was found at a chaotic crime scene involving multiple shooting victims. The woman doesn't appear to have belonged at the party that led to the shootings, and she died by strangulation, not gunshot. Who is Jane Doe, and why was she killed? Edison is an interesting protagonist, a good man for whom finding the truth is more important than anything else, including his own safety. He's gentle and strong, compassionate and ruthless, methodical and impulsive. A strong sequel to Crime Scene that will leave readers wanting to see more of Edison.--David Pitt Copyright 2018 Booklist
Deputy coroner Clay Edison goes to extreme lengths for a forgotten Jane Doe in the new thriller from a father-son team of bestselling authors who write "brilliant, page-turning fiction" (Stephen King).<br> <br> "As for the keen sense of drama, it must be a genetic trait. . . . The Kellermans show compassion for the survivors, including conscientious officials like Edison."-- The New York Times Book Review <br> <br> Former star basketball player Clay Edison is busy. He's solved a decades-old crime and redeemed an innocent man, earning himself a suspension in the process. Things are getting serious with his girlfriend. Plus his brother's fresh out of prison, bringing with him a whole new set of complications.<br> <br> Then the phone rings in the dead of night.<br> <br> A wild party in a gentrifying East Bay neighborhood. A heated argument that spills into the street. Gunshots. Chaos.<br> <br> For Clay and his fellow coroners, it's the start of a long night and the first of many to come. The victims keep piling up. What begins as a community tragedy soon becomes lurid fodder for social media.<br> <br> Then the smoke clears and the real mystery emerges--one victim's death doesn't match the others. Brutalized and abandoned, stripped of ID, and left to die: She is Jane Doe, a human question mark. And it falls to Clay to give her a name and a voice.<br> <br> Haunted by the cruelty of her death, he embarks upon a journey into the bizarre, entering a hidden world where innocence and perversity meet and mingle. There, his relentless pursuit of the truth opens the gateway to a dark and baffling past--and brings him right into the line of fire.<br> <br> Praise for A Measure of Darkness<br> <br> "Edison is an interesting protagonist, a good man for whom finding the truth is more important than anything else, including his own safety. He's gentle and strong, compassionate and ruthless, methodical and impulsive. A strong sequel to Crime Scene that will leave readers wanting to see more of Edison." -- Booklist
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