The Lost Coast

A Novel

About the Book

The riveting new Clay Edison thriller from the bestselling, acclaimed father-son duo who write “brilliant, page-turning fiction” (Stephen King)

Cut loose from his former life at the coroner’s office, Clay Edison has set up shop as a private investigator. It’s steady, safe work. Until it isn’t.

The trouble begins when a young man, tasked with managing his grandmother’s estate, hires Clay to examine some minor financial discrepancies. What starts off as a case of simple fraud rapidly explodes into a web of deception, an elaborate con game stretching back decades and involving countless victims.

All the evidence points to a tiny town on California’s rugged, remote Lost Coast. Good luck getting there, though. And Clay’s reward for surviving the journey is a trigger-happy welcoming committee, ready to guard their secrets with lethal force.

Navigating this landscape of savage waves and savage lies brings Clay into collision with a host of other players: a grieving mother, an enigmatic teenager, a reclusive military veteran, a foul-mouthed PI pursuing her own agenda. And the price of truth will turn out to be higher—and deadlier—than Clay could have imagined.

From the minds of Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman comes a heart-stopping tale of deception and redemption—bursting with action, suspense, and unforgettable characters.
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Praise for The Lost Coast

Praise for the Clay Edison series

“As for the keen sense of drama, it must be a genetic trait. . . . Unlike most crime writers (not to mention their readers), who revel in the bloody aftermath of a violent encounter, the Kellermans show compassion for the survivors, including conscientious officials like Edison.”The New York Times Book Review

“As always, the Kellermans guarantee that readers will turn pages rapidly to enjoy the complex characters and intricate plot turns. . . . A winner for mystery readers.”Library Journal

“Edison is an interesting protagonist, a good man for whom finding the truth is more important than anything else, including his own safety. He’s gentle and strong, compassionate and ruthless, methodical and impulsive.”Booklist

Praise for Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman

“Jonathan Kellerman’s psychology skills and dark imagination are a potent literary mix.”Los Angeles Times

“[Jesse] Kellerman has a gift for creating compelling characters as well as crafting an ingenious plot that grabs the reader and refuses to let go.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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The Lost Coast

Chapter 1

I’d been off the force and out on my own for a year when I got a call from Peter Franchette.

We met in downtown Oakland, at the same sushi restaurant where I’d last left him on a rainy afternoon, sitting across from a sister he’d never met. I’d tracked her down for him—­a bit of extracurricular activity that was part of why I was off the force and out on my own.

The summer sun was harsh as he stepped in from the street. “Sorry I’m late.”

“Not at all. You shaved your beard.”

“And you grew one.”

I’d grown my hair out, too. The extra length masked a scar running from temple to nape.

“My wife likes me better this way,” I said.

We took a booth, put in our order, made conversation. Peter told me he’d kept in touch with his sister, closely at first. Then less so.

“She has her life, I have mine.”

I nodded.

“And you?” he asked. “Charlotte must be—­what. Four and a half?”

“Good memory. We have a son now, too. Myles.” I showed him my phone.

“What a bruiser. Am I wrong, or does he look like you?”

“Yeah, he’s a clone.”

“Cute. So how’s life as a private citizen treating you?”

“Can’t complain.”

“Thanks for meeting on short notice.”

“No problem,” I said. “What can I do for you?”

“This kid I mentor, Chris Villareal—­super-­bright guy. His company does interesting stuff with AI and traffic grids . . . Anyhow. He showed up to a recent meeting looking pretty distraught. His grandmother passed and named him executor of her estate. Without warning him.”

“Always a fun surprise.”

“From what I gather, there’s not much in terms of dollars. It’s just disorganized, and he’s run across some things that don’t feel right.”

“How so?”

“You’d be better off hearing it from him.”

“Has he spoken to an estate attorney?”

“I set him up with my person. She thinks it’s not worth the trouble, Chris should drop it.”

“Sounds like good advice.”

“I think it’s a matter of principle. He and his grandma were very close. The lawyer was the one who suggested a private investigator. She had a name but I thought of you.”

“Appreciate it.”

The server approached with our food.

I split a pair of chopsticks and sanded them together. “Have him call me.”


Toward the end of the meal, he said, “You know, you never cashed my check.”

The check in question was made out to my daughter for $250,000—­a reward for my efforts. At the time I was still a county employee, sticking to the rules. Most of them.

Crazy money for the job. Peter’s venture capital success had earned him more than I could imagine, but mega-­rich isn’t necessarily mega-­generous.

“I tried to,” I said. “The bank wouldn’t accept it. They said it was too old.”


“Last year.”

“What’d you wait so long for?”

“I didn’t want to get fired.”

He shook his head. “What I get for using paper . . . Well, look,” he said, digging out his phone, “at some point I decided you weren’t going to deposit it. So I made an end run.”

He began tapping at the screen. For a moment I thought he might zap me the money electronically, a quarter of a million dollars in a quadrillionth of a second.

Instead he turned the screen around as if to show off pictures of his own kids.

I saw a banking app, with one account, labeled charlotte edison—­529 plan.

“Technically it’s in my name. I didn’t know her Social. Happy to transfer it whenever you’d like. You can see for yourself, it’s done pretty well.”

The balance was $321,238.77.

“What do you think?” he said.

“I think I should remind you,” I said, “I have a son now, too.”

Clay Edison Series

The Lost Coast
The Burning
Half Moon Bay
A Measure of Darkness
Crime Scene

About the Author

Jonathan Kellerman
Jonathan Kellerman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than forty crime novels, including the Alex Delaware series, The Butcher’s Theater, Billy Straight, The Conspiracy Club, Twisted, True Detectives, and The Murderer’s Daughter. With his wife, bestselling novelist Faye Kellerman, he co-authored Double Homicide and Capital Crimes. With his son, bestselling novelist Jesse Kellerman, he co-authored Crime Scene, A Measure of Darkness, The Golem of Hollywood, and The Golem of Paris. He is also the author of two children’s books and numerous nonfiction works, including Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children and With Strings Attached: The Art and Beauty of Vintage Guitars. He has won the Goldwyn, Edgar, and Anthony awards and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association, and has been nominated for a Shamus Award. Jonathan and Faye Kellerman live in California and New Mexico. More by Jonathan Kellerman
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About the Author

Jesse Kellerman
Jesse Kellerman won the Princess Grace Award for best young American playwright and is the author of Sunstroke, Trouble (nominated for the ITW Thriller Award for Best Novel), The Genius (winner of the Grand Prix des Lectrices de Elle), The Executor, and Potboiler (nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel). He lives in California. More by Jesse Kellerman
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Random House Publishing Group