cover image Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay

Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman. Ballantine, $28.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-525620-08-2

In bestseller Kellerman and son Jesse’s middling third mystery featuring deputy coroner Clay Edison (after 2018’s A Measure of Darkness), Edison is called in after a construction project in a Berkeley, Calif., park unearths the remains of an infant. The location of the find leads activists opposing the construction to suggest that the bones belong to a Native American child and that the development be halted until the site is checked for other remains. Meanwhile, wealthy software designer Peter Franchette wants Edison to determine whether the skeleton is that of his missing sister, about whom he knows almost nothing, not even her name. Though Edison is able to rule out that possibility after concluding that the bones are male, he somewhat implausibly pursues evidence to see if he can give Franchette any answers. Ponderous prose is a minus (“I engraved their image in my mind, an icon to clutch close as I left them behind and descended to the realm of the dead”). The plotline and characters aren’t indicative of either author’s best work. (July)