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John Pellam Books In Order

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Publication Order of John Pellam Books

Shallow Graves (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bloody River Blues (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hell's Kitchen (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon

Writing under the pseudonym of William Jefferies, the American author Jeffery Deaver is well known for writing crime novels. Able to craft a tightly knit mystery that keeps the reader engrossed throughout, he is a master of both suspense and intrigue. Knowing and clearly understanding his craft, he has managed to stay ahead of the curve by turning the genre completely on its head. A perfect example of this is that of his much celebrated John Pellam series of novels, which follows the eponymous protagonist throughout. Also known as the ‘Location Scout’ series of novels, it sees the location scout John Pellam touring America looking for filming locations. During this time he tends to get himself embroiled in various different cases, often finding himself in over his head, facing a new case with each novel.

With the first book brought out back in 1992, this ran for only three novels, with the last one being written in 2001. The first titled ‘Shallow Graves’ was quickly followed up a year later with ‘Bloody River Blues’ in 1993 and, later, ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ in 2001. The series, whilst short, covered a lot of ground in its time, making the most of its premise and concept, having a lot of fun throughout.

Shallow Graves

Published through Pocket Books in 1992, this was the first to set-up the ongoing series of of John Pellam novels. Taking its time to create the style and the tone, it also manages to introduce the main characters for the first time too. Not only that, but it has a great mystery at the center of it all that keeps the reader constantly guessing throughout too.

An exciting and suspense fueled thriller, this is an excellent example of its genre, as it takes the format, moving it forwards in the process. Keeping the reader guessing constantly throughout, it manages to maintain a moody sense of atmosphere as well. This is something that’s well established for the series to follow too, as it manages to make the most of its concept and its style. In regards to the character of John Pellam himself, Deaver does a good job of making him both likable and easy to relate to. This is despite the fact that he is somewhat flawed and has some demons lurking deep within his past that he is trying to escape from. These transpire not only over the course of the novel, but over the course of the following series too, with all the characters progressing. The setting is also extremely well realized too, as it manages to make the most of the small town ambiance of Cleary. Using the environment to reflect the tone and premise of the story, Deaver manages to mirror them both against each other to great effect. It also appears that he knows the area quite well too, as he manages to bring it alive, with all its vivid color coming into life.

With a promising career in Hollywood behind him, John Pellam is now attempting to pick-up the pieces of his past. It was his drinking that got in the way of it all and now he finds himself working in the small town of Cleary, New York, on a production shoot. That’s when his friend is suddenly murdered, and the inhabitants of this small town will do whatever it takes to hide its secrets. Will Pellam find the truth? Can he stay safe whilst doing so? Who’s behind the shallow graves?

Bloody River Blues

Initially released in 1993, this was once again brought out through the Pocket Books publishing label just one year after the first. Carrying on directly from the previous novel, it managed to capture both the style and the tone of what came before. It would also provide a number of twists and turns all of its very own along the way too, keeping the reader guessing continually once again.

With the action moving around constantly, this is a series that is kept at a constant pace, continually changing its style in order to keep it fresh. As a location scout, its main protagonist once again manages to get himself into another mystery, one which he needs to get himself out of quickly. Dealing with mistaken identity and being in the wrong place at the wrong time, it shows all the classic hallmarks of the contemporary thriller novel. The character of John Pellam, having already been well established in the previous novel, is also very well developed here. With the audience already being highly familiar with him and who he is, he’s managed to come a long way since the first novel. Still retaining a lot of his flaws from before, he’s also managed to make a sense of peace with himself ever since the last installment. Using an isolated location once more too, it this time gives the feeling of a sense of isolation over the course of the novel overall. With the area of Maddox, Missouri, reflecting what’s going on, it’s the perfect place for a thriller of this nature to take place. Deaver once again makes the most of it, as he explains it in vivid detail, bringing it all into full glorious color throughout.

Faced with scouting out the location for another Hollywood film, this time a Bonnie and Clyde style caper, John Pellam is working once more. Heading to Maddox in Missouri, he thinks that he may have it, in what appears to be the perfect backwater town to host the action. That’s when he unwittingly wanders onto a crime scene, as two men are left shot dead, leaving John Pellam a wanted man. Can he clear his name? Will the killers strike again? Who is behind the bloody river blues?

The John Pellam Series

Taking an interesting concept this is a series that really runs with its premise, making the most of it constantly throughout. As an author Deaver really understands his craft, and this is an excellent example of him at his best, making the genre work for him. With more and more discovering the novels every day, it is definitely a legacy that will continue to live on for some time to come.

Book Series In Order » Characters » John Pellam

One Response to “John Pellam”

  1. Karen Cavanaugh: 5 days ago

    Wish the Pellam Series would continue. Wish Deavers, my favorite author, would pick back up with John Pellam where he left off in Hell’s Kitchen.


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