The Good Detective

Narrated by: Jon Lindstrom
Series: A P. T. Marsh Novel, Book 1
Length: 8 hrs and 4 mins
4 out of 5 stars (199 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2019 John McMahon (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“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.” (Booklist)

“Southern gothic mingles with modern noir....” (Kirkus

“[John McMahon is] a talented writer with a good sense of place, and readers are sure to look forward to Marsh’s next outing.” (Publishers Weekly

What members say
Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Thoroughly enjoyable!

I can’t wait to listen to another book with the same protagonists (?)
The plot is tight, interesting and complex without being silly. The issues are relevant: racism, political shenanigans in the police department as well as high up. Doubts, betrayal, conspiracies. I was most impressed by the subtle narrative of unspeakable cruelty and crimes against children. The details are alluded to as part of the investigation without unnecessary graphic descriptions. Mr McMahon doesn’t dwell on violence and the detectives do not get shot multiple times, recover and get beaten up again. I was interested in the psychological aspects and the historical context of racism in this small town in Georgia.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

If you like True Detective, you’re gonna LOVE this.

P.T Marsh, this book’s main character is flawed but ultimately a great detective. We meet him at his lowest point: heartsick over family tragedies and an alcoholic.

The story takes place in rural Georgia and amid confederate jasmine and kudzu, starts with a grisly murder. There is conspiracy, a bit of spooky charm, and a 150 year mystery to solve!

P.T’s character arc and ultimate redemption felt very real; the plot may have been too ambitious for another author, but John McMahon pulls it off brilliantly! (In fact, I am stunned that this is his first novel!) The pace was excellent! P.T’s quirks and the dialogue with his dog injected a welcome bit of humor.

I don’t give many books a 5-star rating, but this debut novel deserves it for sure. I was disappointed by the end... not because of the storytelling, but because this book came out a month ago and now I have to wait patiently for the next one!

It is WELL worth a credit!

Like I said in the title of my review, True Detective fans will love this book! It is southern gothic at its best!

7 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Every detective cliche in the book

Yes, every dectective cliche (haunted by loss, alcohol abuse, maverick investigations, etc) are incorporated in the narrative. Then there's the beloved pet dog whose "voice" guides our hero. OMG, this was just a mess. How it got positive reviews is a mystery.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent New Detective Series

A great writer with a great tag line for the book and the twists and turns don’t disappoint. It’s easy to feel you have it all figured out, but the ending is not what you’d expect.

Another thing about the author, his style is crisp and fast. Very economical with words, so if you like long drawn out description of bullet manufactures this is not for you. McMahon moves the plot and story advancing character while paining enough of a picture for you to feel there vs wasting time on overblown subscriptions.

I enjoyed the narrator as well.

4 people found this helpful

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Too graphic

Could not continue listening to the graphic way the black boy suffered and was lynched. Could not continue to listen to the book.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Impressive Debut Novel

I enjoyed this book immensely. It definitely grabbed my attention and kept my earbuds firmly in place.

Some questions lingered at the end, but it was a satisfying book.

Looking forward to another book.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
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Highly entertaining and intriguing!

I devoured this book! I was unable to put it down. The detective was utterly flawed grieving for the loss of the family he adored and somehow still out there doing his job. The story is one of the best I have read this year! Bravo to both the author and narrator!

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    5 out of 5 stars

The Good Detective is a perfect debut novel that reads like a peak of career offering from a veteran heavy hitter.

John McMahon was the last author I heard speak at the 2020 Savannah Book Festival. My wife and I were blown away by his presentation. He spoke with reverence and passion about his craft, revealing insight into the methods and devices he employed to spin his first tale. He gave a short reading from the text that made me anxious to begin my journey through The Good Detective. The narration provided by Jon Lindstrom was pitch perfect. The Evil Men Do, the recently released second story related by Detective P.T. Marsh, is already queued up in my Audible library.

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A very good book

The narration was excellent, the pace, imagery and insight were equally well done. The story line may have been slightly over the top but the characters were so real it didn’t matter. It was a pleasure to listen to. Difficult to believe this was a debut novel. Well worth listening to, get it and enjoy.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A good read

The narrator was pleasant to listen to and the story was a pretty good debut. It kept me entertained, but was not as developed as Greg Iles in comparison (of course, Greg Iles first works were not as developed as his later work either). I liked the characters and while there was a predictable nature to the story, it was still interesting.