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The Golem of Paris
Cover of The Golem of Paris
The Golem of Paris
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From two #1 bestselling masters of crime fiction comes an extraordinary thriller about family, murder, and secrets.
 
It’s been more than a year since LAPD detective Jacob Lev learned the remarkable truth about his family, and he’s not coping well. He’s back to drinking, the LAPD Special Projects Department continues to shadow him, and the memory of a woman named Mai haunts him. And while Jacob has tried to build a bridge to his mother, she remains imprisoned inside her own tattered mind. Then he comes across the file for a gruesome unsolved murder that brings the two halves of his life into startling collision. Finding the killer will take him halfway around the world, to Paris. It’s a dangerous search for truth that plunges him into the past. And for Jacob Lev, there is no place more frightening.
From two #1 bestselling masters of crime fiction comes an extraordinary thriller about family, murder, and secrets.
 
It’s been more than a year since LAPD detective Jacob Lev learned the remarkable truth about his family, and he’s not coping well. He’s back to drinking, the LAPD Special Projects Department continues to shadow him, and the memory of a woman named Mai haunts him. And while Jacob has tried to build a bridge to his mother, she remains imprisoned inside her own tattered mind. Then he comes across the file for a gruesome unsolved murder that brings the two halves of his life into startling collision. Finding the killer will take him halfway around the world, to Paris. It’s a dangerous search for truth that plunges him into the past. And for Jacob Lev, there is no place more frightening.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book Chapter One.
     
    Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital
    Prague, Czechoslovak Socialist Republic
    December 17, 1982
     
    “The patient will wake up.”
                The Russian’s voice is soft and careful, handling the words in Czech like an unfamiliar weapon.
                She has taught herself deafness. How else to sleep in this deranged place, its nights clotted with moans and prayers to a God that does not exist, cannot exist, for the
    State has declared him dead.
    The State is correct.
    Proof of God’s death is all around her.
                Senseless, trying to hide. She cowers just the same as the Russian kneels to unlock her cage, his greatcoat opening like a pair of dark wings. The cell door stands ajar, admitting a sickly fan of light from the grease-smeared bulb that smolders in the corridor.
    “The patient will stand, please.”
    She will be punished. Her cellmates want none of it. Fat Irena pretends to snore, blowing white balloons. Olga’s fingers are knotted in the hollow of her belly.
                The fourth bed is empty.
    “Little bird,” the Russian says. “Do not make me ask again.”
    She swings her feet to the freezing concrete, finds her paper slippers.
    They step into the low, broad passageway known as Bulvár šílenci.
    Lunatics’ Boulevard.
    While the Russian finds the correct key, she assumes the mandatory posture, kneeling with forehead to the linoleum. Along the corridor, a feverish racket is stirring. The other inmates have heard jangling. They want to know. Who is leaving? Why?
    “The patient may stand.”
    She rises, using the wall for support.
    He leads her down the Boulevard, past the staff room, where orderlies doze in armchairs under heavy doses of self-prescribed sedatives. Past physicians’ offices, exam rooms, Hydrotherapy and Electroshock and rooms unmarked except for numbers. Rooms that cannot be labeled truthfully.
    The women’s ward ends at two consecutive locked doors, gray paint peeling to reveal steel the same color.
    Where is he taking her?
    Syringes crunch beneath his boot-heels in the dank stairwell, the temperature dropping with every step. Upon reaching the ground floor, the Russian pauses to remove his greatcoat and drape it over her shoulders. The hem puddles. He places his ushanka on her head, ties the flaps under her chin.
    “I would give you my shoes,” he says, tugging off his gloves, “but I must drive.”
    He pauses, frowns at her. “Are you all right, little bird? You look unwell.”
    Bare fingers brush her cheek. The sudden warmth causes the cold to constrict around her viciously, and she recoils, shivering.
    He withdraws his hand. “Forgive me.”
    He looks almost remorseful, twisting the thick black ring on his index finger. “Do not be afraid. You are leaving this place.” He offers the gloves. “Please.”
    She steps out of the paper slippers and pulls the gloves on over her numb feet. They cover her to the ankles.
    He laughs. “Like a chimpanzee.”
    She smiles obligingly.
    They step out into the frigid courtyard.
    The guard manning the hospital gate wears a Socialist Union of Youth pin his lapel. The Russian returns his salute and says that the patient Marie Lasková...
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 21, 2015
    The Kellermans’ uneven sequel to 2014’s The Golem of Hollywood finds Det. Jacob Lev of the LAPD assigned to a clerical job in a remote airplane hangar east of Los Angeles after antagonizing his superiors in his last case. Special Projects, a recently formed group, has Jacob under 24-hour surveillance. In his boredom, Jacob becomes engrossed in the unsolved Marquette case from 2004, in which a mother and her five-year-old son were found shot in the forehead, their bodies in posed positions with their eyelids removed. When Jacob discovers a similar murder previously committed in France, those in charge grudgingly allow him to travel to Paris to investigate. Jacob’s journey to uncover the killer leads him to explore several generations of interlocking family histories throughout Europe. The sophisticated, smart beginning, which interweaves interesting characters from different time frames, compensates only in part for the extended passages of tedious prose that bog down the novel’s second half.

  • Kirkus

    September 1, 2015
    Detective Jacob Lev takes on a brutal cold case and discovers that the murder has connections to his mother's murky past, a scary Russian oligarch, and a recent murder in Paris. After his last case (The Golem of Hollywood, 2014, etc.), which had him questioning his sanity and sort-of believing in supernatural monsters of retribution and which landed him in crime-fighting purgatory, Jacob is assigned to archiving cold cases in an industrial warehouse. But one of them, the gruesome 2004 murder of a mother and son, piques his interest, possibly because of his own background-he had long believed his own mother to be dead, but she's now catatonic and living in a health care facility. Investigating the murder leads him to Paris, where a recent crime is an eerie echo of his case, and a Paris investigator seems determined not to see the connection. In pursuing his main suspect, a Russian billionaire, Jacob finds a chilling connection to his mother's past and a fateful trip she made to Czechoslovakia in her youth. Shadowing the investigation and his life are the enigmatic members of the Special Projects team and Mai, who's apparently the mythological golem and yet so much more. Father and son Kellermans continue their co-written Golem series with a fascinating and frightening glimpse into an imagined religious supernatural subculture and the very real brutality and inscrutability of Eastern Bloc secret police networks while also spinning an engaging crime-solving tale and setting up a more distinct Lev family link to the mysterious and unearthly events that will certainly keep popping up as long as Mai is free. A curious yet compelling mix of adventure, crime, and horror with paranormal and historical elements.

    COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Jonathan Kellerman
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