A Los Angeles police detective is assigned to a tricky case: the head—just the head—of a murder victim has been found in a house in Hollywood. Detective Jacob Lev, who’s lately been feeling rather burned-out, is abruptly transferred to a new “Special Projects” department and told to solve the case. The assignment soon gets a lot weirder than Jacob could have anticipated (note the word Golem in the title). Straddling the line between mystery and horror, the novel is rich in character and story, and narrator Rubinstein, who’s read many of the Alex Delaware mysteries, does an excellent job of leading the listener through the book. An accomplished stage and screen actor, Rubinstein gives all of the major characters their own easily recognizable voices. He plays Jacob, for example, as a worn-out, weary veteran cop who, despite himself, begins to feel the old juices flowing again; you can hear Rubinstein’s characterization shifting as the story moves along, a brightness and curiosity entering Lev’s voice, as though years of exhaustion are sloughing off his shoulders. A masterful performance of an excellent novel.
This review originally appeared in Booklist, May 2015.