Lost Souls – Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman

Title: Lost Souls
Author: Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman
Published by: Random House UK, Cornerstone
Publication date: 23 July 2020
Genre: Thriller, Crime Thriller
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley

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Deputy Coroner Clay Edison is juggling a new baby who won’t sleep with working the graveyard shift. For once he’s trying to keep things simple.
When infant remains are found by developers demolishing a local park, a devastating cold case is brought back to light.
Clay has barely begun to investigate when he receives a call from a man who thinks the remains could belong to his sister – who went missing fifty years ago. Now Clay is locked in a relentless search that will unearth a web of violence, secrets and betrayal.
Because in this town, the past isn’t dead. It’s very much alive. And it can kill.

I was given an Advance Reader Copy of Lost Souls via NetGalley in return for an honest review. My thanks go to NetGalley for the opportunity, to the authors Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman and Cornerstone.


Lost Souls follows Coroner Clay Edison as he attempts to solve not one, but two difficult cases. One involving the body of a young child discovered at the controversial building site surrounding the Peoples Park, which leads Peter Flanchette to get in touch with him believing the body to be that of his long-lost, missing sister. All while juggling parental duties with his wife for their own new addition to the family.

Clay as a protagonist is great to read about and share the story with. His internal monologue regarding some of the situations he finds himself in add a lot to his character as a whole. His insight into various places, thoughts on people and situations and the little stories he adds enhance the story and his character. He is well developed going into Lost Souls already – as I believe that this isn’t Clay Edisons first novel – but his evolving situation with his young daughter and extended family help him grow throughout the story, but without betraying any principles or character foundations. He drove the story easily to new places without them seeming contrived.

Supporting characters were varied and conveyed well, especially the less favourable ones. There were instances where I found myself disgusted by some of the antagonists and their actions; their lack of humanity and morality was well carried. Especially in the case of the Dormer family; a group of white supremacists, spanning several generations. It was, thankfully, difficult to relate to them and their intense hatred and cold feelings towards Clay Edisons discoveries that involved them.

The plot of Lost Souls was multi-levelled, but easy enough to follow despite it’s depth. We have the story of the body that was discovered in Peoples Park and the investigation instigated by Peter Flechette. The two investigations, although sharing a novel, don’t intertwine with one another all that much. Keeping the two apart made the story more enjoyable, as there was more for the reader to figure out and learn as the pages kept turning. I didn’t foresee any of the plot-twists coming and in the case of the discovered body, I found the big reveal heart-breaking and was almost brought to tears due to the tragic events that unfolded. Only to have my hatred towards some of the characters renewed for their own heartless reactions for the discovery.

I did find the location – San Francisco, California – somewhat difficult to navigate due to a lack of insider knowledge of the area, but it wasn’t enough to make me want to put the book down. I think there were a few references to things that as a non-American I didn’t really get the full enjoyment out of, but again, these weren’t enough to make me dislike Lost Souls as a whole. The scene setting was atmospheric and tense. Scenes of protest and white supremacy are within the pages of Lost Souls which places the book squarely in the modern era, which some readers may find unsettling – as they are not always sensitively handled.

Considering this book is written by two authors, Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman (Father and son) I found that the book ran together well and couldn’t really tell who wrote what; which I suppose id the point of a joint effort. The two authors worked seamlessly together and executed their writing goals expertly – I am hopeful that they’ll write together again and bring us another fantastic read.


Throughout Lost Souls I felt a great affinity for Coroner Clay Edison and his growing family struggles, I felt it made him a relatable and enjoyable character. His insights and additional commentry gave him more depth. The plot was complicated, but not confusing, keeping the reader guessing the end results – at times the plot touches on some really emotional topics. The two authors work seamlessly together and I am eager to read more from them in future instalments should they pair up together again.

4 responses to “Lost Souls – Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman”

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