The good detective

John McMahon, 1970-

Book - 2019

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 were killed in an accident. Since that night, caught in a spiral of grief and booze, he's lost the ability to see the line between smart moves and disastrous decisions.... Such as when he decides to 'help out' an exotic dancer 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 a dead man, 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 he does know is that his fingerprints are all over the crime scene. But the trouble is only beginning. P.T. and his partner Remy begin to suspect the murder is connected to a local arson and lynching; two days earlier, the dead body of a black teenager was found in a burned-out field, a portion of a blackened rope around his neck--and P.T. realizes he might have killed the #1 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 off his own personal demons, P.T. races headlong toward an incendiary and life-altering showdown.

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Series
McMahon, John, 1970- Detective P.T. Marsh ; 1.
Subjects
Genres
Detective and mystery fiction
Mystery fiction
Published
New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons [2019]
Language
English
Physical Description
308 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN
9780525535539
0525535535
Main Author
John McMahon, 1970- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* P. T. Marsh, of Mason Falls, Georgia, was a good detective—at least until his wife and son died in a car accident less than a year before, leading him to drink too much and make bad decisions, one of which is to teach the abusive boyfriend of a hooker a lesson. So he beats Virgil Rowe one night, only to be called to Rowe's murder scene the next morning, leaving him unsure about whether he, in a drunken stupor, might have killed the man himself. It gets worse when Marsh and his partner, Remy Morgan, a strong young black woman, find the partially burned body of black, 15-year-old Kendrick Webster with a noose around his neck in a torched farmer's field. Suspicion points to white-supremacist Rowe as responsible. But arson-murder seems to Marsh an unlikely combination, even with the racial overtones (not publicly revealed) of Kendrick's death. Marsh, however, looks for similar crimes in the area and uncovers something even worse than a serial killer, presenting him with the dilemma of how to achieve justice. This unusually accomplished debut is the first in a projected series; with Marsh still having demons to deal with, the table is set for much more compelling, character-centric stories to come. Crime-fiction fans are advised to get in at the start. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

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. Agent: Marly Rusoff, Marly Rusoff & Assoc. (Mar.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Struggling with his professional detachment after the death of his wife and son, once-promising detective P. T. Marsh is implicated in the death of an abusive man who is subsequently linked to a hate killing. A first novel.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

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 ReviewIntroducing 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.