Billy Straight was the first Jonathan Kellerman book I bought and read, and it only took that one book to hook me and make me a life-long fan. I love the way Kellerman writes, and he involves the reader so you feel like you are right there with the main character, whether it is Alex Delaware or one of the many other characters he has created. The setting itself becomes an integral part of his books, and it is no different in True Detectives. Kellerman once again creates an action-filled conflict with the emotional details that make the twists and the turns in the dramatic narrative something that could be believable - and exciting.
Originally seen in Bones, Kellermanís marvelous characters Aaron Fox and Moses (Moe) Reed share the same mother but different fathers. These two have chosen similar paths in life, yet they are as different as night and day, salt and pepper, private eye and LAPD detective. While Aaron remains the typical GQ man even in his work, Moses is a what-you-see-is-what-you-get guy. Normally these half-brothers donít work as a team. Here, a certain young lady brings them together - but not in the way you might think.
When seemingly perfect 20-year-old coed Caitlin Frostig disappears, her father hires Fox to find her. To Aaron, that not only means solving a case but also a lucrative paycheck. For Detective Reed, itís his job, but still a mystery that calls for help from fellow detective Milo Sturgis and the psychological training of the famous Alex Delaware, although we donít see as much of these two as we would like in this mystery. Despite an absence of leads, both men are determined to find this young model student in whose life just two men play important roles. One is her father, and the other is her apparently decent, upstanding boyfriend, Rory Stoltz. While Dad would seem to be more of a suspect, as the single father with a brooding character and surly attitude, the boyfriend for some reason more strongly draws their attention.
The cast of characters Aaron and Moses encounter reads like a whoís-who of the seedier side of Hollywood. With the likes of filmmaker Len Dement (come on now, is that a real name?) and namedropping - especially of designer everything - Hollywood is what everyone who doesnít live there thinks it really is. Moe and Aaron learn that Rory Stoltz was actually a personal assistant for an actor named Mason Book (I SAID, is that a real name?) who is rumored to have attempted suicide just after Caitlin Frostig went missing. One would think that with Kellermanís expert writing and this background for a mystery that True Detectives would finally bring these half-brothers together with some great chemistry to solve this crime.
However, that isnít the case, at least for those who follow Kellerman regularly and know how well his characters - examples: Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis - can be in sync with one another. A good deal of the story is hard to believe, and the characters donít quite gel for the reader like Kellerman characters normally do. Still, I wanted to finish to see how True Detectives turned out but, even at the end, was disappointed in the conclusion. Hereís to admitting that even the best of us can have a not-so-brilliant day and that there will be better things to come. With Jonathan Kellerman, that is a given.