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A New York Times Book Review Top 10 Crime Novel for the Year
"John McMahon is one of those rare writers who seem to have sprung out of nowhere. His first novel, The Good Detective, which is pretty much perfect, features a decent if flawed hero battling personal troubles while occupied with a murder case of great consequence to his community."--New York Times Book Review
Introducing Detective P.T. Marsh in a swift and bruising debut where Elmore Leonard's staccato prose meets Greg Iles' Southern settings.
How can you solve a crime if you've killed the prime suspect?
Detective P.T. Marsh was a rising star on the police force of Mason Falls, Georgia--until his wife and young son died in an accident. Since that night, he's lost the ability to see the line between smart moves and disastrous decisions. Such as when he agrees to help out a woman by confronting her abusive boyfriend. When the next morning he gets called to the scene of his newest murder case, he is stunned to arrive at the house of the very man he beat up the night before. He could swear the guy was alive when he left, but can he be sure? What's certain is that his fingerprints are all over the crime scene.
The trouble is only beginning. When the dead body of a black teenager is found in a burned-out field with a portion of a blackened rope around his neck, P.T. realizes he might have killed the number-one suspect of this horrific crime.
Amid rising racial tension and media scrutiny, P.T. uncovers something sinister at the heart of the boy's murder--a conspiracy leading all the way back to the time of the Civil War. Risking everything to unravel the puzzle even as he fights his own personal demons, P.T. races headlong toward an incendiary and life-altering showdown.
Det. P.T. Marsh, the narrator of McMahon's ambitious if flawed first novel, set in rural Mason Falls, Ga., has promised to help Crimson, a stripper he met at a strip club, whose boyfriend has physically abused her. One evening, he drives over to Crimson's house, where he punches and threatens the boyfriend. When the boyfriend is strangled that same night, Marsh who's struggling with alcoholism and still reeling from an accident that killed his family wonders whether in a drunken stupor he might have murdered the guy. Later, when a 15-year-old African-American boy, a Baptist preacher's son, is lynched, the chief suspect turns out to be the man Marsh may have strangled. Investigating the boy's lynching takes Marsh into an intricate, decades-old conspiracy. McMahon tends to explain too much, and this debut reads at times like an earnest message novel wrapped in the guise of an action-packed Hollywood thriller. Still, he's a talented writer with a good sense of place, and readers are sure to look forward to Marsh's next outing.)\n