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The Good Detective

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  414 ratings  ·  105 reviews
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 were killed in an accident. Since that night, caught in a spiral o
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published March 19th 2019 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  414 ratings  ·  105 reviews

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I should tell you that once I picked up The Good Detective that it was so gripping and thrilling that I could not put it down until I finished it. I should tell you, but I can’t. The fact is that I started this book twice, two months apart, and each time I read the first chapter, got so incensed that I put the book down and didn’t finish it. But there was something about the blurb that kept pulling at me, reeling me back in; something that kept saying “read it, c’mon, you know you want to.” So, ...more
Does pain have a purpose?

Detective P.T. Marsh keeps asking himself. But he knows one thing: It's relentless and all-consuming. The more precious the loss, the greater the void.

No matter how many hours he clocks at the Mason Falls Police Station, Marsh runs into grief around every corner. It was a tragic accident. Lena and his young son never had a chance. Booze numbs it, but it doesn't strike the people blind. They all know.

Late one night parked outside a local sleeze bar, Marsh tips back from h
This was an ok police procedural about detective P. T. Marsh and his partner Remy in Macon Falls, Georgia. It employs the tired trope of the troubled detective who’s drinking too much, in this instance because his pregnant wife and young son were killed in an accident. The case the detectives are investigating involves the lynching of the teenaged son of a Baptist preacher. This leads them to much earlier cases of the deaths of other black children. The writing was serviceable but I found the pl ...more
I don't really remember why this debut inspired the request button but I'm not sorry I spent time with it. That said, I think I like this mystery better as a standalone instead of a series, but I'm saying that from the perspective of not knowing what is to come from this town as far as future cases and also because of where our protagonist, PT, is left at the end of THE GOOD DETECTIVE.

I'll admit the latter half was far more thrilling than the first act, the twists and turns leaning in to the cl
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Detective P.T. Marsh has been on a downward spiral since the deaths of his wife and son, mostly drinking his life away. Now he may have killed someone... He's just not sure because he can't remember much from the night before, only that he helped an exotic dancer by beating up her boyfriend. Now the boyfriend is dead and Marsh's fingerprints are all over the crime scene. And, it keeps getting worse - the murdered man may be the lead suspect in the case of a lynching of a young black boy...

Karen Dionne
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You know how sometimes you start reading a book knowing there are plenty of other things you should be doing, but you just want to take a few minutes to sample a few pages to see if all the good things you heard about the book are true? And then it turns out that the book is even better than you'd heard, and you end up reading the whole book straight through because you literally cannot stop? This is that book. If you love smart, complicated detective stories with characters as real as your next ...more
Chris Conley
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy mackerel. This book is amazing. A mix of very complicated murder mystery, Southern gothic traditional and just simple great writing. I cannot wait for the next P.T. Marsh story.
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019
Dollycas’s Thoughts

This is a gritty, compelling, emotional, terrifying story that I escaped right into and only came out for air when I had to get some sleep. I dove back in the next day as soon as I was able and stayed there even after I stopped reading the author’s words. This story has stuck with me since.

Detective P.T. Marsh is still trying to recover after losing his wife and son in an accident almost 2 years ago. He had always had good instincts but he is seriously off his game, drinking t
...more Mystery & Thriller
I have mentioned before that one of the joys of reading is the discovery of new and worthy literary voices in genre fiction. Please add John McMahon to the list. His recently published and remarkably sure-footed debut combines police procedure, a damaged but ultimately upright protagonist, and an unsettling mystery with a hint of the supernatural to make this new series entry a memorable one.

THE GOOD DETECTIVE begins with an interesting premise. P.T. Marsh, a detective with the Mason Falls, Geor
Southern Illuminati

It had been a year since my wife and son were gone, and it had finally sunk in. They weren't coming back. -Detective P.T. Marsh

The lynching of a Southern Baptist preacher's son has eerie similarities to a lynching 25 years ago. What's the connection? What secrets are the powerful old Georgian families hiding? And how far will they go to keep it a secret? Good book for a first time author but the writing style i couldn't connect with. One reviewer said "Staccato style of writin
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I downloaded "The Good Detective" because I was in the mood for some decent crime fiction. 308 pages later, I'm still in the mood for some decent crime fiction because "The Good Detective" turned out to be just as generic as its title, with elements cadged from work by other, better writers -- his widowed narrator, PT Marsh, is a scaled-down version of Reed Farrel Coleman's tough but tragic Gus Murphy, and the midsized Georgia town he prowls is a colorless cousin to John Hart's corrupt North Car ...more
Nancy McFarlane
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Detective P.T. Marsh was a rising star on the Mason Falls, Ga. Police force until his wife and young son were killed in a tragic accident the previous year.Since then he has barely functioned in his job because of his heavy drinking.

When a man who is the main suspect in the horrific death of a young black boy is found murdered in his home, P.T. Is finally snapped out of his drunken daze and is determined to find out who is behind Kendrick’s death. He is forced to get his act together and do it q
Katie Topp
Good, not great.
Fast paced, but not really gripping.
2.8 stars rounded up, I think.

This certainly has promise and I would read the next in the series.

It is a true detective/police procedural. Follow along with the detective, and I haven't read a book like that in a while. It's not my favorite genre and the particulars of the case the detective is working on didn't really grab me enough.

Still, I see promise here.
Mark Collins
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Normally, I'm not a big fan of gritty noir detective novels, but this one was entertaining as a paradigmatic example of the genre. It ticked all the usual boxes one would expect: dreary protagonist with alcohol problem, a tough exterior and soft heart, and a sad backstory involving the loss of someone(s) close to him; a helpful-but-occasionally naive young partner/mentee; an elevated sense of justice; and a larger government conspiracy that takes only the length of one book to totally foil.
Morgan griggs
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hooks you right in. I would love to read more books centered around the main characters. Very well written
Marika Charalambous
An interesting multi-layered Southern detective mystery with a bit of white supremacy and racism involved. Also an ancient cult. And lots of self-doubts. I enjoyed reading this debut novel and looking forward to more by the author.

Full review:
Don Gorman
(3 1/2). What a nice debut effort. P.T. Marsh is a keeper as a protagonist. Yes, we have heard this story before, James Lee Burke has made it an art form. Flawed cop in a small southern town investigating a crime that turns out to be a whole other fish, a whale of sorts. McMahon does a great job of keeping us turning pages and we have a small cast of fun medium size side characters and a huge cast of small size fun characters. It all adds up to a solid read. Good stuff.
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.

The Good Detective by John McMahon is a clever mystery with a suspenseful plot and a likable protagonist.

Detective P.T. Marsh is still struggling with his grief over the tragic death of his wife and son one year earlier. He is drinking too much and he is no longer considered the rising star of the small town police force. His latest error in judgment lands him in a heap of trouble that just keeps snowballing.  His latest case involves the murder of Virgil Rowe, the man he threatened in
Andrew Tucker
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to NetGalley for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I love police procedurals, especially with flawed protagonists, and this book hit all the marks. Great multilayer mystery, fighting your own demons to get to the truth, and a bit of southern lore and history mixed in as well. It doesnt break new ground in the genre, but its a solid entry in the genre done much better than most, especially from a first time author.

I really enjoyed the book and stayed up late t
Ashley Blanchette
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
I enjoyed this southern crime thriller. Evokes some hot humid southern nights. The material is tough as it explores what seems to be a racially driven crime that turns into more. Old southern families and black magic that spans 100 years or just coincidence? Read to find out.
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the writing in this book. Being a southerner myself, I appreciated that he didn't overdo the colloquialisms, but just included enough to flavor the dialogue. The plot was interesting, but the writing and the character developments were what I liked best. I will definitely be watching for the next P.T. Marsh book.
Kevin Frost
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great debut novel

I really enjoyed this book. The first half dragged a bit but really got cooking in the last half. A good mystery mixed into Southern noir. Highly recommended.
Nancy Crane
Rounded up from 2 1/2. I was really disappointed in this book, as I'd heard great things about it. I did like the writing style. The first part of the book had promise, but the total unbelievability of the "solution" ruined it. Purvis was definately my favorite character!
Jessica B
I struggled to finish the last 20 or so pages because - honestly - I did not care who did it and why. For me, this book started off strong and lots its grip on me as it continued on.
Trace Nichols
3.5 stars
"We all live under the shadow of a three century history that his pitted color against color and we all need to change. To me there are no people more capable of that change than people from here. We're not ignorant of what outsiders think. They see a mix of beautiful mansions from the 1800s, and weeds sky high in the next house over. But for me this area of the country is heaven. There's not place I'd rather travel than the South and no place I'd rather live in than Georgia."

This detec
Jen LaRowe
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
I received an advance reader copy through a Goodreads giveaway.

I really liked this book. Fans of Grisham will probably like the plot as it has lots of twists and turns. 4 stars.
Erin Collins
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
Very gritty and noir. The main character was highly flawed, yet still likeable. The mystery was compelling. The book may have been a bit cliché in parts, but it felt more charming than frustrating. Overall a fun easy read.
Apr 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fictional detectives who are in a downward spiral due to personal misfortune or bad choices could staff the homicide divisions of several large cities. Maybe they do so in real life, but their fictional ranks are large. No one has quite solved the problem of making them effective protagonists, except for James Lee Burke. Another book may tell the tale in this case.
Rome Doherty
This book is a good mystery story But, it contains an alcoholic protagonist and some supernatural bullshit, both of which bring it down to a 3 star rating.
Michele Kaufman
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this classic detective novel with a Southern twist. The character was engaging and the story had just enough twist in it to keep the reader engaged. I am looking forward to more from John McMahon!
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