The Golem of Hollywood

By Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman

            Father and son, the best-selling author Jonathan Kellerman and his son Jesse Kellerman composed this unusual, clever, insightful, and engaging mystical thriller involving a burnt-out, alcoholic, Jewish detective, his righteous rabbi father, the discovery of the head of a criminal who was mysteriously murdered with a single Hebrew word burnt into a kitchen counter near the body meaning “justice,” the mysterious and secretive Special Projects squad, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, the Tower of Babel, Maharal, the Golem, and much more.

No one can find the body of the victim, a surveillance camera covering the area does not reveal anyone coming to the house where the head is found, the Hebrew word burned into the kitchen counter disappears, and despite it having been burned into the counter, there is no indication it was ever there. The neck of the head is sealed by an unknown substance. Detective Jacob Lev, who had been assigned to traffic when it was clear he was burnt-out, is reassigned to the Special Projects squad to unravel the mystery. But the Special Projects squad is itself a mystery. It has no office that Lev ever sees, its commander is an angry man; Lev is given a discovery card to cover expenses that does not work, but he is also given a year’s salary in advance.

Two stories intersect. In addition to the murder investigation, we read about Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel and their three twin sisters, and how and why Cain killed his brother Abel, and how one of the sisters, Asham, seeks revenge for her brother’s murder. Soon this tale morphs into the legend of the Maharal building a golem, a man made magically out of mud, to protect his sixteenth century Jewish community in Prague against people determined to kill Jews. Maharal’s wife has her own ideas that affect the golem’s future.

I read all of the some three dozen novels written by Jonathan Kellerman and all five written by his son Jesse and enjoyed every one of them. This one reminds me of Jonathan Kellerman’s first 1985 detective thriller “When the Bough Breaks,” about an Israeli detective, which is my favorite Kellerman novel. I recommend this Golem book. I am convinced that readers will enjoy it. The authors’ interpretation of the Cain and Abel story is imaginative and fills in gaps that the Bible left to our imagination. Their interpretation of the golem legend is also interesting. And the main plot, who killed the man whose head was left in a house with the Hebrew word meaning “justice,” is riveting.

The book will be on sale on September 16, 2014.