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



Ballantine Books | 2018

Filed Under: Main characters that definitely used to be frat bros

I forgot there is a reason I haven’t read Kellerman in a long time. His writing doesn’t work for me. I find it formulaic and boring as hell. I know that’s sacrilegious for Alex Delaware fans, but whatever. I am who I am. You can’t change me!

Crime Scene was so boring to me that I read this book like a month ago and completely whiffed on writing a review. It just slipped from my mind, uneventful and easy to forget. It doesn’t really seem to me that anything happened in this book.

You have Clay Edison, a death investigator – or something – for the coroner’s office, who gets caught up in the death of a man who very clearly seems to have died of natural causes. But because Edison fucks the dead guy’s daughter, he becomes borderline obsessed with the idea that there is something more sinister that took place.

I mean, of course, he’s right about the sinister bad stuff (otherwise there would be no book,) but the fact that it took penis-in-vagina to get his interest piqued and the plot moving, had my eyes rolling so far back into my head that I think I sprained an optic muscle.

Sassy Red Wine GIF by Married At First Sight Australia

Edison’s “I just know something else is happening” shtick got real old, real fast. The procedural aspect of the novel started taking such nonsensical leaps based on his apparently super intense intuition, that even other characters were telling him to gather more compelling evidence the right way.

I don’t know if Edison’s whole “doing the right thing just because it’s right” vibe was supposed to be charming or what, but I found him to be a douchebag that needed to chill the fuck out. Like 100% he used to be a frat bro on a sports scholarship.

And the “being told not to investigate something, but doing it anyway,” thing is so cliche, let’s just agree to retire it already.

The plot took big leaps in order to solve the crime, and covered that silliness up with claims of justice, intuition and injecting the facade of logic by using the secondary characters’ warnings to Edison. It was…not the best.

step brothers do not want GIF

Moreover, it was was pretty predictable and probably could have been shaved down by 100 pages or so had the storyline not been interspersed with random side plots, scenes that didn’t further the plot and romance grossness that messed with the suspense and mystery. The pacing was just a tedious ride from point A to point B that lacked focus, even as it tried to tick off all the boxes it’s “supposed to” for the genre.

Perhaps part of the choice to create these plot sidebars really came down to the fact that working in a coroner’s office seems to actually be pretty boring? Coroner’s actually don’t get to be involved in any investigation, per se. The only reason Edison had a case to “investigate” is that he stepped out of line and wasn’t doing his job anymore. This left him with little authority to find out anything, seemingly road blocked or turned away on a constant basis.

But filling in that space with illogical plot jumps, personal life drama and excessive “thinking” didn’t work as a band-aid.

Seriously, the romance subplots can get fucked.

Edison is not charming and it was annoying.

Don’t @ me about it.

andre braugher brooklyn 99 GIF by Brooklyn Nine-Nine

This is kind of disappointing because most reviews are so full of praise, but this was just a big old “meh” for me.


Natural causes or foul play? That’s the question Clay Edison must answer each time he examines a body. Figuring out motives and chasing down suspects aren’t part of his beat—not until a seemingly open-and-shut case proves to be more than meets his highly trained eye.

Eccentric, reclusive Walter Rennert lies cold at the bottom of his stairs. At first glance the scene looks straightforward: a once-respected psychology professor, done in by booze and a bad heart. But his daughter Tatiana insists that her father has been murdered, and she persuades Clay to take a closer look at the grim facts of Rennert’s life.

What emerges is a history of scandal and violence, and an experiment gone horribly wrong that ended in the brutal murder of a coed. Walter Rennert, it appears, was a broken man—and maybe a marked one. And when Clay learns that a colleague of Rennert’s died in a nearly identical manner, he begins to question everything in the official record.

All the while, his relationship with Tatiana is evolving into something forbidden. The closer they grow, the more determined he becomes to catch her father’s killer—even if he has to overstep his bounds to do it.

The twisting trail Clay follows will lead him into the darkest corners of the human soul. It’s his job to listen to the tales the dead tell. But this time, he’s part of a story that makes his blood run cold.

2 thoughts on “Review: Crime Scene (Clay Edison, #1) by Jonathan Kellerman and Jesse Kellerman

  1. I just finished this and I don’t even know how any of these people died! All I know is Triplett didn’t do it. Did Linstad kill the Asian girl? Who killed Linstad? Who killed Rennert? Why did the daughter push to have this investigated and then get mad when he did?? The raping of the tree??!!
    Any chance you can help?


    1. Oh girl, you know I wish I could clear things up for you, but I read so many novels that the details of the forgetful ones that were just meh leave my brain space almost immediately lol.


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