The Kellerman father-son team produces a new crime thriller

Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman. Photo: Joan Allen

This review was originally published at Mal Warwick’s Blog on Books.

A Measure of Darkness (Clay Edison #2)  by Jonathan Kellerman and Jesse Kellerman (2018) 352 pages. (4 out of 5)

The Kellerman family is a writing phenomenon. Papa Jonathan has written 33 thrillers in his Alex Delaware series as well as at least 14 other novels and five nonfiction books. Mama Faye is the author of 25 Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus mysteries plus eight other novels. Their son, Jesse, who lives in Berkeley, has written a total of 12 novels, four of them collaborations with his father. The most recent production of the Kellerman father-son team is A Measure of Darkness, the second novel featuring Oakland Deputy Coroner Clay Edison.

A former beat cop, Edison can’t seem to reconcile himself to the fact that the coroner’s office doesn’t employ detectives. He has developed the habit of pursuing investigations far beyond the call of duty and often against orders. In A Measure of Darkness, he sticks so closely to the detective leading a murder investigation that she takes to calling him “Barnacle.” A Berkeley cop Edison once knew gave him that nickname. Somehow, it seems to have stuck. (Pun intended.)


This latest product of the Kellerman father-son team involves the investigations into the death of four bodies that turn up after a violent confrontation at a late-night West Oakland party. Shooting began when three young neighborhood men approached a large group of mostly white men and women to ask that they turn down the music. A white woman had recently bought the old property and renovated it. As Edison notes after reaching the scene, “The problem was gentrification and a shortage of affordable housing, when you started kicking people out of a neighborhood that had been theirs for decades.” Clearly, Edison is politically aware. He seems well suited for the Berkeley-Oakland area.

By the way, Edison was a star basketball player at UC Berkeley. In A Measure of Darkness, he demonstrates how he managed to do so well even though he is a little short at 6’3″ for a top college basketball player: in a competition with his brother, he sinks 47 straight shots from the foul line. If you don’t think that’s impressive, just try it sometime.

If you enjoy mysteries and thrillers in general and not just those from the Kellerman father-son team, you’ll find a lifetime of good reading on my posts. You can click below to go to my books blog: