cover image Crime Scene

Crime Scene

Jonathan Kellerman and Jesse Kellerman. Ballantine, $28.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-399-59460-1

Clay Edison, the hero of this disappointing series launch from bestseller Kellerman and son Jesse (The Golem of Paris), was a promising college basketball player until a devastating injury ended any hopes of a professional sports career. Years later, Clay works as a deputy for the Alameda County, Calif., coroner’s bureau. A routine call ends up involving him in a complicated investigation. Walter Rennert, a retired psychology professor, apparently died from falling down the stairs at his Berkeley home, but his daughter, Tatiana Rennert-Delavigne, suspects murder. Tatiana’s father and a graduate student, Nicholas Linstad, ran a study that ended violently when one of their subjects murdered a girl. That subject, a minor, was released from prison about a decade earlier, shortly before Linstad took a similar fatal tumble. Clay’s attraction to Tatiana sways him to dig deeper into her father’s death. The familiar story line isn’t enhanced by pretentious prose. When Clay shoots a basketball, he “felt the weightless instant, when gravity releases its stranglehold, and you float, and the ball becomes vapor, pebbled breath rolling back against the tips of your fingers.” Fans of the senior Kellerman’s long-running Alex Delaware series will enjoy seeing Alex make a cameo appearance. [em]Agent: Barney Karpfinger, Karpfinger Agency. (Aug.) [/em]