Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Golem of Hollywood, by Jonathan & Jesse Kellerman. J.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2014

LAPD detective Jacob Lev, former Orthodox Jew and son of a rabbi, an alcoholic and a chronic relationship ruiner, has been demoted to traffic detail, so it’s a surprise when he’s suddenly assigned to a murder case- based on the fact that he is Jewish, and the Hebrew word for ‘justice’ was found burned into the granite countertop at the crime scene. It’s a hard crime to figure out; the ‘body’ is only a severed head found in an abandoned Hollywood house. He’s suddenly working for a division of the LAPD called ‘Special Projects’, which no one has ever heard of before. He’s working out of his apartment, with a computer that seems to have some kind of censoring software on it, and has been given a credit card with an amazingly high limit on it- that doesn’t work at the convenience store but will buy plane tickets.

Meanwhile, in the other story line, Cain and Abel are having problems: arguing over who gets to marry their sister Asham. She cannot make up her mind; her other two sisters are already married to the brothers but she remains single. After Cain kills Abel and flees with his wife, Ashem goes on a quest to find him. What happens to her eventually has everything to do with Lev’s murder case, in a roundabout way.

Everyone is keeping secrets from Lev, even his father. It’s an incredibly tangled tale, but it all sorts out in the end- well, mostly. It’s a combination police procedural, mythology, and fantasy, with some elements of horror thrown in for good measure. At first Lev seems like a pretty unlikable protagonist, but he grows on you, if only because pretty much everyone can identify with his frustration. I really enjoyed the book, and couldn’t wait to see what on earth would happen next. 

The above is an affiliate link. If you click through and buy something- anything- Amazon will give me a few cents. This in no way influenced my review. 

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