Crime Scene by Jonathan & Jesse Kellermen
Natural causes or foul play? That’s the question deputy coroner Clay Edison must answer each time he examines a body. Figuring out motives and chasing down suspects aren’t part of his beat – until a seemingly open-and-shut case proves to be more than meets his highly trained eye.
Eccentric, reclusive Walter Rennert lies cold at the bottom of his stairs. At first glance the scene looks straightforward: a once-respected psychology professor done in by booze and a bad heart. But his daughter Tatiana insists that he has been murdered, and she persuades Clay to take a closer look at the grim facts of Rennert’s life.
When Clay learns that Rennert’s colleague died in a nearly identical manner, he becomes even more determined to discover the truth behind the man’s death. The twisting trail Clay follows will lead him into the darkest corners of the human soul.
It’s his job to listen to the tales told by the dead. But this time, he’s part of a story that makes his blood run cold.
I really enjoyed this novel focused around a deputy coroner. It reminded me of my teens watching episodes of Quincy. I think the angle of the protagonist being a coroner, worked incredibly well. Although there are multiple references of death and methods of dying obviously.
‘When I meet new people, they’re usually dead’
The novel opens with Deputy Coroner Clay Edison called to the scene of a dead body. The victim is 18yr old Seth Lindley Powell, it is unclear at first how he died, and this gives you a whole new respect for coroners and pathologists. The work they do, to get results for the family.
‘There are an infinite number of ways to die but only five manners of death. Homicide, suicide, natural, accidental and undetermined’
Seth’s death involved multiple factors, was he drinking? Did he fall? Was he pushed? Eventually it is ruled an accident. But it is still on Edison’s mind 5yrs later when he is called back to the same town.
‘My job begins with the dead but continues with the living’
Edison is called to the residence of Dr Walter Rennert a 75yr old retired psychologist. His daughter Tatiana is at the scene and found the body. She is adamant it is not an accident and a case of murder. Edison gives her time, respect and most importantly listens to her story. He then continues to evaluate the scene.
The scene suggests an accidental fall, but on further search the team discover a bottle of Risperidone (anti-psychotic) only 5 days old and prescribed by a different doctor to Rennert’s usual physician. Why is a psychologist administering anti-psychotics to himself, when he knows the impact of the medication with his heart problems? Something about the medications presence unnerves Edison and leads him to investigate further. . .
‘A lying doctor; the echo of a fall; a murderer walking the streets’
The case of Walter Rennert’s death is extremely complex and goes deep into his past and career. Specifically, a study the doctor organised on the theme of media violence on the developing brain. Which led to the murder of a young student Donna Zhao.
The young man convicted of the murder seemed to fit the ‘perfect’ police profile.
‘Most mentally ill people – the vast statistical majority – weren’t violent’
How does Walter’s fall down the stairs relate to the conviction of Julian E Triplett? Where is Julian? Why are the doctors involved in the study so secretive?
The novel covers the theme of redemption and a person’s moral obligation to right their wrongs. It is a stark insight into the American justice system. 4*