Early-thirties private detective Aaron Fox, son of Darius Fox a black LAPD policeman gunned down years ago, and the younger Moe Reed, son of Darius’ white patrol partner, and, strangely enough, Aaron’s mother, also white, making Aaron and Moe half-brothers, have never been able to overcome their rivalries towards each other. But it is precisely these highly unusual, if not confusing, family dynamics that are brought to the fore when Moe, a LAPD homicide detective, and Aaron, hired by a well-to-do Russian employer who is curious about the distress of one of his employees, are coincidentally both tasked to find a young college student Caitlin Frostig, now missing for 15 months.
The case at first seems to involve little more than rechecking facts and again shelving it. There were no apparent complications in Caitlin’s life: she was a homebody and good student with an equally mild-mannered boyfriend. But the two brothers, operating mostly independently, start finding cracks in this wholesome scenario. From the boyfriend’s drug-dealing the case expands with ties to fading and flailing Hollywood types, prostitution, street lowlifes, Christian fundamentalism, abusive relationships, and even the staged and brutal death of a good looking hooker.
The contrast between the brothers is a constant backdrop. Some may disagree, but Aaron with his GQ mentality and ambition is the more appealing character; gauged by success, there is no debate. However, there is little attempt to understand the interplay among the brothers; little more than convenient tolerance is evidenced when required. Likewise for the remaining characters: all are minimally sketched with no particular appeal. The plot has more busyness than complexity. Perhaps the rule that one has to follow all the leads as they unfold is legitimate, but the brothers got seriously sidetracked from their original mission, which was one interview away from being solved quickly.
The cameo appearances of the author’s stalwarts don’t rescue this book. The story line, the characters, and the intangibles never rise beyond the mediocre. In addition, the fairly evident effort to be politically correct along racial lines seems forced and clumsy.
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mgdallas, April 17, 2009 (view all comments by mgdallas)
Two brothers. Multiple mysteries, not all murder. A fresh approach for Kellerman, which is refreshing for a big name author who could just coast on his reputation.
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"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"PI Aaron Fox and L.A. cop Moe Reed, interracial half-brothers who played minor roles in 2008's Bones, take center stage in bestseller Kellerman's routine 24th Alex Delaware novel. When Fox, who used to work for the LAPD, looks into the missing-persons case of 20-year-old Caitlin Frostig, he runs into conflict with Reed. The brothers end up pursuing some predictable lines of inquiry, checking out Rory Stoltz, Frostig's college boyfriend, as well as links to a filmmaker, Lem Dement, who's suspected of domestic abuse. More A-list connections surface after the investigators learn Stoltz was the personal assistant for actor Mason Book, whose rumored suicide attempt came shortly after Frostig's disappearance. The strains between Fox and Reed don't generate much heat, while the pacing and writing aren't up to Kellerman's best. Hopefully, Delaware and detective Milo Sturgis, relegated to cameos, will be back in their usual starring positions next time." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"True Detectives" follows Moe Reed and Aaron Fox on the twisted trail of a missing girl. This dark, baffling whodunit forces the brothers to put aside their mutual animus and to confront the unresolved family mystery that turned them into enemies.
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