• The Good Detective

  • By: John McMahon
  • Narrated by: Jon Lindstrom
  • Length: 8 hrs and 4 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (374 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, starred review) 

"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, New York Times best-selling author of The Hush)

“[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 listeners say about The Good Detective

Average Customer Ratings
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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.

12 people found this helpful

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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.

8 people found this helpful

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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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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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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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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

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Oh, brother

You could dive a tank through all the holes in this plot.
I had high hopes at the beginning of this novel, but was rolling my eyes continually by the end.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent!

A terrific novel. Well developed characters. Held my interest. Could not stop listening to this one! A sad but excellent commentary about race in America. I listen to many books on Audible. This one has just become a favorite.

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One of my favorite first novels ever!

I just wrote a long review and I went to edit and it was gone. I said that whoever said it was riddled with cliches was right ...BUT they were all used artfully. We can't have stories in this genre without them. This felt like the 10th or 15th book in a series. I have I think over 900 titles now with at least 850 of them in this genre. I can hardly wait for more from this guy. Also my first time with Jon Lindstrom. I wish he'd get some of Scott Brick's work. Not a huge slam against Scott but Scott is like eating the same dog food twice a day for a lifetime. I am going to go look/wait for more from both of these guys.

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bloody awful

where to begin?
the last character is clearly just the author's idealized fantasy vision of himself. He was SUCH a cliche - the only thing missing was a declaration that "this tine, it's personal" and a geriatric partner who gets killed one week before retirement. The story was unimaginative. The author struggles to write interesting or even believable dialogue. And the story was ludicrous. Of course the very first bad guy he encounters ends up having a personal connection to the detective. Because that kind of thing ALWAYS happens in real life, right? Well later on the author doubles down by having victim #2 have a personal connection... to his partner?! This doesn't call for Suspension of Disbelief, it requires you to drive it to a vacant lot and abandon it. Despite a tired, unoriginal story line, the story wasn't even the bad part.

the NARRATOR was even worse! I'll admit, his gravelly voice was sufficient for the lead character, but he plows through the entire book in a monotone delivery. For every character. Just a flat, third rate Clint Eastwood impression, for every character. The men AND the women. The narrator has no range, no ability to handle accents. Every character, including the females, sounds a LOT like the main character.

Save your money.

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