Some murder mysteries are entirely focused on finding out who the killer really is. That’s
why they’re called whodunits. Others are focused on just how the crime was committed.
While still others are intent on creating the seemingly perfect crime, then proving it
wasn’t perfect. David Random’s Connected doesn’t make any of the above techniques
the crux of his narrative. Rather, he has created a compelling mystery that seems to put
justice under the microscope by asking the question, is it sometimes impossible to
punish the guilty without also punishing the innocent?
Joe is a Boston cop close to retirement. His partner, Cassie, is both striking and smart.
He has thoughts about making their relationship something more than just professional.
She’s keeping her feelings under wraps. At least until the strangest case of their
partnership is resolved. The case involves a murder. Twin brothers are involved. One
brother has already confessed to the crime. The other brother is claiming total
innocence. Under most circumstances, that in itself wouldn’t be exceptional, but under
this circumstance it most certainly is. The brothers are conjoined twins.
When two people share the same body, how can one do something that the other isn’t
somehow involved in? It’s plausible the experts say. Even conjoined twins are actually
two separate minds and two separate personalities within one bodily structure. But then
the real question arises. If one really is guilty and the other innocent, how can you
punish the one without punishing the other?
Random weaves that question and others into an intricate tale that is part mystery and
part police procedural. First Joe becomes fixated on the case. Then Cassie does too.
Their police superior wants them to abandon it, saying they already have a confession
and it’s for the courts to work out. But Joe can’t let it go. Together the partners set out to
uncover everything they can about the crime, the motive, and the two-in-one brothers at
the center of it.
The author does an exceptional job of exploring Joe and Cassie’s relationship without
slowing the pace of the unfolding mystery. He is an author confident of his story and
how to tell it. The environs of Harvard, Cambridge, and Boston almost become
characters themselves as the hunt for answers goes on. This is a yarn longer on
intellectual energy than adrenal stimulation, but it is no less compelling for it. Car
chases and shootouts are non-existent, but suspense is still palpable due to Random’s
ability to ask big questions and supply surprising answers. He’s a first-rate writer and
storyteller. If you’re into uncommon tales told well, by all means get Connected.