Publisher Putnam, March 2019
Elmore Leonard’s staccato prose meets Greg Iles’ Southern settings in The Good Detective. In this swift and bruising debut crime novel, a police detective whose life has been shattered by tragedy and complicated by bad decisions is thrust into the darkest case of his career.
Detective P.T. Marsh is up against the toughest case of his career. And he’s pretty sure he killed the chief suspect.
P.T. was a rising star 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, Detective P.T. Marsh races headlong toward an incendiary and life-altering showdown.
START OF A SERIES: P.T. Marsh will return in future adventures.
“First fiction is dangerous business: many aspire, few succeed. Not so with John McMahon’s debut, THE GOOD DETECTIVE. Tight, fast and addictive I blistered this book in a single day. It has everything top drawer crime fiction demands: murder, conflict and a damaged, compelling hero, all delivered in prose so crisp and clean McMahon presents like an old pro. If he had a second novel on the shelves I’d be reading it right now.”
–John Hart, author of King of Lies, Redemption Road and The Hush
“In The Good Detective, McMahon skillfully blends the old and the new and weaves it into spun gold.”
–Reed Farrel Coleman, author of Robert B. Parker’s Colorblind
“The Good Detective is a debut with all of the ingredients: snappy procedural details, a sharp sense of place in the Deep South, and relentless momentum. John McMahon’s outstanding first in the series introduces a sardonic and sympathetic lead in P.T. Marsh, and launches both McMahon and Marsh into what promises to be a great career in crime fiction.”
–Glen Erik Hamilton, author of Past Crimes