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A Very Simple Crime

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  561 Ratings  ·  122 Reviews
A twisting debut novel of murder and dark family secrets from a riveting new voice in crime fiction.
A murdered woman. A grieving husband. And their son-a mentally handicapped adult with a history of violent outbursts. A very simple case. Or is it?
Leo Hewitt, an Assistant DA once blamed for setting free a notorious child-killer, is eager to redeem himself with this inti
ebook, 272 pages
Published November 1st 2010 by Berkley Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

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Dan Schwent
A wealthy woman is killed and all signs point to her mentally disturbed son. Disgraced attourney Leo Hewitt uncovers new evidence pointing to the woman's unhappy husband. Can Leo help the DA's office put him away?

I won this book in a Firstreads giveaway and didn't realize it was a legal thriller. Yawn city, right? Well, it turned out to be a lot better than the dreary courtroom drama I was expecting.

Jerkins uses shifting viewpoints to his advantage. Adam Lee, the suspect, has his part of the sto
A Very Simple Crime by Grant Jerkins was a well-paced, well-written detective story with a satisfying plot, interesting characters, and just enough twists to keep the reader's interest alert.
Adam and his brother Monty are close, in that terminally ambivalent way that brothers so often seem to be. Orphaned at an early age, Adam looks to Monty for protection and Monty plays the sophisticated elder brother role well. A successful criminal attorney, Monty loses himself in both the law and the pleasu
James Thane
Adam Lee, a businessman who has not entirely outgrown his troubled childhood, is on trial for the murder of his wife. He claims that he loved his wife and that he is innocent. He insists that, tragically, his wife was killed by their mentally ill son, Albert, who was home on a visit from the institution where he is normally committed. Adam is represented by his older brother, Monty, a handsome and successful lawyer, whom Adam has always worshipped.

Initially, the authorities had also concluded th
An interesting yet crude book. The book focuses primarily on a man named Adam Lee. He married a woman who has serious psychological issues. They have a son with mental issues who spends several years in an institution for violence. One weekend he takes his son home from the institution for a weekend at home. That same weekend he leaves on an affair getaway. When he returns, his wife is found dead. Adam turns to his brother, Monty, for his legal help as a lawyer. Monty then involves another attor ...more
This book is simple to stark in style. Exceedingly spare prose of short clipped sentences and an easy read of under 2 hours for me.

It's grim. There are no characters that I would want to know or converse with or meet in happenstance in real life within this entire novel. And the base of relationship is negative manipulation and disdain of superiority to a grovelling patsy or a psychotic toady.

You will get no cozy or feel good vibes from this book.

There are trial scenes and they set the stage f
Charlene Intriago
Jun 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2014
I picked this up today and could not put it down. I can't remember the last time I read a book in one sitting, but it is an easy and quick read. It's a legal thriller/murder mystery, and the author sets it up so well. You might think it's an open and shut case, but nothing is ever what it seems especially when the lawyers are presenting the "facts". I love these "who done its" especially when the author keeps you guessing till the end.
Rich Stoehr
Oct 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: amazon-vine
Every crime tells a story - especially murder. The motivations, the events, the hidden desires...sometimes it really is simple, and sometimes it only seems that way.

A Very Simple Crime tells just such a story, one that seems all too familiar. A man trapped in a marriage and a life he doesn't want, looking for a way out. He goes away for a weekend with a lover and returns to find his wife dead, and his disabled son traumatized. It seems simple, at first.

What keeps Grant Jerkins' tale of murder mo
Chris Wolak
Nov 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Enjoyed this book, and enjoy it more as it continues to play around in my mind. I recommend it to readers who like their mystery/thrillers to have a psychological edge and at little legal action. The writing is deceptively simple. Take my advice and pay attention to the details as you're reading. If the beginning is a little slow or hard to get into, stick with it. It's one of those thrillers that starts with some short chapters that leave you wondering what the heck is going on, but you quickly ...more
Jun 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Very Simple Masterpiece

If you are looking to read a mystery with a blatant psychological edge, this is the new book for you. Nothing is really simple about A Very Simple Crime except the short, direct sentences and chapters. The prose is not ensconced in metaphors, it is direct and there are many zinger phrases, "can I acknowledge......that I was attracted to mental illness....Darkness is drawn to darkness." And dark is this novel, one feels drawn down to deeper levels alongside the characters
Jan 13, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I guess I'm in the minority when I say I really didnt care for this book. I saw every twist and turn coming from a mile away and kept wanting more from it...and never got it. Anyone that reads thrillers or mystery type books should have no prob figuring this book out right from the begining. Again I was really wanting the author to suprise me and make me think. But I never got it. Its wasnt a bad book, it just didnt live up to my expectaions and the only thing that kept me wanting to read it, wa ...more
Darrell Grizzle
Sep 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a genuinely “noir” novel that hits you like a punch to the face. “Darkness is drawn to darkness,” one of the main characters tells us early in this novel, and that’s a good description of the novel as a whole. None of the characters here are loveable or even likeable, but they are compelling. We are drawn to their stories and want to find out what happens next. Highly recommended for lovers of literary crime fiction.
Robert Intriago
Dec 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: legal-thriller, 2011
Eventhough it is a legal thriller it is also a very dark book. It is a fast read and has very little wasted words. It is also a hard book to put down and as a result you can finish it very quickly.

A little slow at the beginning and couple of the legal narratives are not realistic. The story is full of twists and all the characters in the book have a hard time telling the truth. I look foward to the authors next book.
Kurt Reichenbaugh
Aug 24, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir
Good neo-noir novel. The prose is tight and brisk with a plot that moves along without ever bogging down in style. I'm still out on the different POV's. It worked here, and I don't see a way that it would have been pulled off it had been done entirely in the 1st person. Also what's interesting is how the reader should (or not) empathize with unlikable brothers Adam and Monty. Fans of noir should enjoy this one.
Jeanne B.
This is a very troubling but intriguing read with mostly unpleasant characters, but with a story line that keeps you reading. You have to know what really happened and whether you are being tricked, as you suspect right away. Not a five star book but definitely a very convincing and engaging plot. The hero of the story is hard to find.
Penny Van Horn
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
An unusual one. Not very long, very compelling.
Jun 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011
A Very Good Book. Definitely a page-turner; the twists and turns kept me guessing until the last minute.
Steven Houchin
Nice twists in this book, but too many flashbacks/backstory for my liking.
Goodreads Description- A twisting debut novel of murder and dark family secrets from a riveting new voice in crime fiction.

A murdered woman. A grieving husband. And their son-a mentally handicapped adult with a history of violent outbursts. A very simple case. Or is it?

Leo Hewitt, an Assistant DA once blamed for setting free a notorious child-killer, is eager to redeem himself with this intimate and grisly crime. As he digs below the surface he discovers more than he ever anticipated-includin
Elizabeth A.
Nov 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"If you are unlucky enough to have known the dark as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for darkness is a movable feast." - Adam Lee

There’s enough darkness following Adam Lee, the main character in Grant Jerkins’ debut novel A Very Simple Crime, to fuel a Thanksgiving sized feast. The book opens with Adam on trial for the murder of his wife, Rachel. As we learn through Adam’s narrated flashback to the events that brought him to this point in his life,
Sep 18, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If Jim Thompson or James M. Cain were alive today, this is the kind of novel he might write: a crime tale full of unexpected twists set among characters whose more positive attributes range downward from seedy and unprincipled.

Adam Lee is trapped in a loveless marriage to the obsessive, possessive, sexually insatiable, beyond-borderline crazy Rachel. They have a mentally handicapped son, Albert, who has lived in a secure institution ever since lashing out fatally at someone in a dispute over a p
Barbara Brien
Dec 24, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ashley Hart
Feb 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
An easy, breezy little thriller that kept me guessing till the end.
Paul Pessolano
Grant Jerkins lives in Atlanta and his book, "A Very Simple Crime", takes place in Atlanta. In fact the murder takes place in Peachtree Battle.

The story starts with two young boys, Monty and Adam Lee, who just lost their parents in an automobile accident. The book moves quickly to their lives as adults. Monty is now a big time lawyer and Adam has married into money.

Adam finds out that not only has he married into money but his wife, Rachel, is to say the least, psychotic. They have a child, Albe
Sep 01, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"A Very Simple Crime" is aptly titled, as this is a very simply plotted book. My quibbles with the novel are more structural and basic, rather than about the plot per se.

First, the characters are superficial. I never really felt like I knew them, despite learning important points of their backstories. The characters simply read like characters, rather than real people to care about.

Second, the last name of two primary characters is Lee (brothers Adam and Monty). The first name of a third major
Ooh a deliciously nasty read that was more that it appeared to be and very dark indeed...the story revolves around the seemingly open and shut case of a Rachel, a wife found murdered in her home with the only person in the house a mentally unstable son recently and rather conveniently released from a mental hospital and also prone to violent outbursts against his mother specifically.. So bring in the grieving husband Adam(or was he), the protective brother who everyone loves with his own secrets ...more
Neil Mudde
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great read! did not know what to expect Grant Jenkin's first novel looking forward to reading more of his writing. He puts many established mystery writers to shame.
The story starts off with a sad description of 2 brothers who are left after their parents are killed (Why is it that often parents or one parent died of some horrific accident before a mystery story starts?) Due to the circumstances of their placement they begin an interesting relationship, which comes up ever so often during
Mar 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-crime
Grant Jerkins defies the structure of a typical mystery as well as conventional writing rules surrounding POV and tense. A less skilled author would have butchered this novel by defying these rules, but Jerkins does it nicely.

The novel is divided into three parts. The first is told in present tense and the first person POV, as seen through the eyes of the key suspect before the crime takes place. The second part of the book is told using the past tense and the third person omniscient POV; it foc
J. Ford
Aug 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to say I really enjoyed this book. It's been a while since I've read a good legal thriller and this one didn't let me down. It was definitely a page-turner and I read it in a couple of hours.

The story is about two brothers - Adam and Monty Lee. Adam is married to a very crazy woman and Monty is a sleezebag attorney. The story takes us from the time when Adam and Monty are young and their parents die, all the way to adulthood where Adam is married and working for his father-in-law as an in
Michael Martz
This sounded like a good idea: a murder mystery by a new writer with a nice blurb on the front from one of my favorites of the genre, Ridley Pearson. It wasn't that good. The basic storyline is that this somewhat successful guy has a very successful lawyer brother, a violent retarded son, a mentally deranged wife, and a trailer-trash girlfriend. Wife is murdered, the guy ends up being accused, there's a trial, and a surprise ending. The courtroom stuff was pretty unbelievable and the ending fair ...more
Allison Relyea
Nov 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: advisory-11-12
This book was really good. It was about a woman who was murdered and her son was mentally challenged and he has had a history of violence towards people. Throughout the book many thought it was the son, and since he isn't in the right state of mind from no fault of his own people thought it was a "simple crime". But things start to unravel as this ADA starts to dig around in this family's history. He begins to find the truth behind many things, including the woman's murder. This book was differe ...more
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Grant Jerkins is the author of THE NINTH STEP and AT THE END OF THE ROAD. Winner of the Writers Network Screenplay and Fiction Competition (the Fade In Awards), his first novel, A VERY SIMPLE CRIME, was selected from well over two-thousand entries to take the top honors, and has since been optioned for film.

Grant lives with his wife and son in the Atlanta area.

More about Grant Jerkins...

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