John Pellam Books

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The name John Pellam refers to a series of novels written by William Jefferies, a pen name for Jeffrey Deaver.

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Order of John Pellam Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 Shallow Graves 1992 Description / Buy
2 Bloody River Blues 1993 Description / Buy
3 Hell's Kitchen 2001 Description / Buy
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The series tells the story of John Pellam, a troubled man that keeps trying to climb towards a brighter future only to get knocked back down by unplanned occurrences.

When John is introduced in Shallow Graves, the first book in the series, he is trying to make a living as a Hollywood scout. Location scouting wasn’t John Pellam’s dream as a child.

He wanted to go to Hollywood and make it big as an actor. And he did just that. John was getting acting parts, building his resume and growing his brand. His career in Hollywood couldn’t have been any more promising.

But then John’s drinking got in the way, eventually wreaking everything he had worked to build. The first novel in the John Pellam series finds the protagonist struggling to pick up the pieces of his career.

He goes to a small town in New York to scrutinize a couple of locations for a film project. When the town seemingly turns against him and he loses his partner in a violent accident, rather than fleeing, John makes it his goal to investigate the small New York town of Clearly.

Shallow Graves sets the stage for the unique occurrences that begin to follow John Pellam’s every move. The protagonist has been criticized for being amoral and borderline unlikable. However, John also elicits sympathy.

He spends the series working hard to repair the bridges he burned. For John, that means doing the best he can in his role as a location scout until he earns enough grace to take another shot at bigger things.

But trouble keeps hounding him. If bullets are not flying in his immediate vicinity, then people are dying. And it often falls on the shoulders of John to make sense of these occurrences.

The protagonist refuses to play the victim. Ordinary as he might be, John Pellam is almost fearless in the way he faces down bad guys and uses the resources available to him to unravel mysteries.

It isn’t clear why Jeffrey Deaver, the author initially chose to publish these novels under a pseudonym.

John Pellam Awards

The first and last novels in this series were Edgar Award Finalists in 1993 in the category of Best Paperback.

Best John Pellam Books

The John Pellam series tells simple, compelling stories with a sympathetic protagonist, with some of the best books in the series including:

Shallow Grave: John Pellam was a rising star in Hollywood. But then he allowed drinking to get in the way of his bright future. Now John Pellam is getting by as a location scout, doing what he can to put his career back together.

John doesn’t expect much trouble when he visits a small New York town in search of interesting shooting locations for a new movie. But then he notices that the town’s inhabitants do not want anything to do with him or his movie.

John chooses to ignore them. But then his friend gets murdered and John barely survives the ordeal. It occurs to John that there is a secret in the town, a conspiracy even that someone is determined to keep hidden. But John won’t be scared away, not until he finds out who killed his friend and why.

Bloody River Blues: John Pellam is back and this time he’s in Missouri. The Hollywood scout believes that the backwater town he’s discovered is perfect for a future movie project. When real bullets start flying and people die, John realizes that he might have unwittingly walked onto a crime scene.

Now everyone thinks he knows more than he’s saying and some of those people will do anything to see him silenced. The town of Maddox in Missouri has many sinister secrets and John makes it his mission to learn them.

Other Book Series You May Like

The “Harry Bosch” series by Michael Connelly is another great one. Harry Bosch’s prostitute of a mother was killed when he was 11. The son of a powerful defense attorney, Harry lived a difficult life, going through various orphanages, raising hell in the army and eventually finding a place in law enforcement.

Now a veteran homicide detective, Harry does what he can to keep the streets of Los Angeles safe.

You may also enjoy the “Amos Decker” Series by David Baldacci. Amos Decker was a rising football star who had a helmet-to-helmet collision in his very first professional game, a collision that not only ended his career but which gave him a perfect memory. Now Amos is solving crimes as a police detective.

What Is The Next Book in The John Pellam Series?

There doesn't seem to be an upcoming book in The John Pellam Series. The newest book is Hell's Kitchen and was released on February, 1st 2001.

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