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The Golem of Hollywood.

***1/2

The Golem of Hollywood

By Jonathan Kellerman and Jesse Kellerman

The Golem of Hollywood is the first collaboration between Jonathan Kellerman (author of the Alex Delaware crime series) and Jesse Kellerman (The Executor **** SELECTION July/Aug 2010 and other psychological thrillers). We interviewed the fatherson team in our Sept/Oct 2014 issue.

THE STORY: When a severed head is found in a remote home in the hills of Hollywood, Jacob Lev, 31, a lapsed Jew and washed-up detective who has been analyzing statistics for the LAPD's traffic department, is assigned to an obscure Special Projects squad. When he starts to investigate, Jacob soon realizes that this crime links to other killings attributed to a serial killer. But what he doesn't initially know is that the murders have awakened a mythic semihuman monster--the Golem of Prague, first created out of mud by a late 16th-century mystic rabbi to protect his community from persecution and then stored in the attic of Prague's Old-New Synagogue--bent on achieving justice. As his investigation takes him to Prague and Oxford, Jacob starts to connect the contemporary and historical dots. But making matters worse is a strange beetle that won't leave Jacob alone.

Putnam. 560 pages. $27.95. ISBN: 9780399162367

Kirkus ****

"In clammier hands, this mixture would come across as a goopy farrago. But this is a witty, propulsive and frequently chilling read; its phantasmagorical elements are blended seamlessly enough with its up-to-the-minute crime-genre trappings to give its imaginative speculations some eerie plausibility."

Read Me Deadly ****

"I suspect the authors are well versed in both classical literature and Judaic legend, and had a lot of fun weaving these disparate stories together. For me, as one unversed in this rich tradition, it was a bit like looking at a Chagall painting: brilliant and jeweled, but the deeper context may be out of my grasp." PERIPHERA

Doubleday Book Club ***1/2

"The Golem of Hollywood is a true testament to Jonathan Kellerman's talent for suspense.... This surprising mystery will keep you speeding through the pages."

Hadassah magazine ***1/2

"Many twists upend familiar stories--from Cain killing Abel to the midrash of Adam and Eve's sons and daughters born as twins and marrying each other.... Rich in detail, originality and depth, the book is a pleasure to read." ZELDA SHLUKER

Jewish Daily Forward ***

"Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman's father-and-son opus, The Golem of Hollywood, is as ambitious as it is completely ridiculous--and that's not altogether a bad thing.... This reader found it impossible not to admire the ambition of a novel that fuses Genesis with 16th-century Prague with modern-day California." LAURA MOSER

Charlotte Observer **

"The novel works best when Jonathan Kellerman's affinity for police procedures and Jesse Kellerman's use of unusual psychological suspense mesh organically in a hunt for a murderer linked to a Jewish legend.... While the police procedural aspect moves at a fast clip, the investigation is never as exciting as those that Alex Delaware encounters in Jonathan Kellerman's best-selling series nor as interesting as the unusual turn of events in Jesse Kellerman's stand-alone novels." OLINE H. COGDILL

Publishers Weekly **

"Both Kellermans ... have written better books than this muddled supernatural thriller, which may disappoint their fans as well as readers fond of paranormal mysteries.... Those looking for profound religious insights will have to seek elsewhere."

CRITICAL SUMMARY

An ambitious, gritty police procedural and thriller steeped in Old Testament stories and Jewish mysticism, a paranormal love story, and a horror saga, The Golem departs from Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman's usual fare. The authors are clearly well versed in Judaic history and lore, and their knowledge shows on every page. Still, the novel, which alternates between Jacob s modern-day murder investigation and the legacy of Cain and Abel and 16th-century Jewish mysticism, doesn't always cohere. When Jacob travels to Prague to investigate linked unsolved murders and learns about the Golem, "the improbabilities pile up" (Jewish Daily Forward). That's not a bad thing, as long as readers are willing to forgo depth and logic for entertaining, fast-paced story lines that do eventually converge. Those who can overlook implausibilities will find a compelling story "of love, of the bonds between father and son, of family secrets and mysteries" (Hadassah). Stay tuned for the follow-up, The Golem of Paris, due out in September 2015.

RATINGS

***** CLASSIC a timeless book to be read by all

**** EXCELLENT one of the best of its genre

*** GOOD enjoyable, particularly for fans of the genre

** FAIR some problems, approach with caution

* POOR not worth your time
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Publication:Bookmarks
Article Type:Book review
Date:Nov 1, 2014
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