I’ve read pretty much all Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series, although I think I’ve got slightly muddled with the last few – the one word titles makes it hard to remember the order they come in! I remember my son was in nappies, anyway, when a friend started lending me them, and he’s 21 next month. So he’s probably one of the authors I’ve followed for longest.
If you’ve ever read Jonathan Kellerman, you’ll know the drill – Alex (like the author) is a clinical psychologist and is often called on by his best friend, Lieutenant Milo Sturgis, to help investigate the more bizarre cases that come across his desk – and there are plenty of them, this being the City of Angels. Milo is something of a black sheep in the department, and tends to work alone, or with Alex. His exceptional clear-up rate means he’s safe in the department, despite being gay – it was in no way as acceptable in the early ’90s as it is now. He also has some dirt on his superiors, which means it would not be a good move for THEM to terminate his employment.
The only other constant characters are Robin, Alex’s long term partner, and their French pug – so you can read any of his novels as a stand-alone, or follow the (now very sizeable) series.
Killer begins with Alex being requested to do a child custody assessment, one of his other jobs. The lawsuit is being brought by Dr Connie Sykes, the sister of Cherie Sykes. Cherie has an infant, Rambla, which she had recently left with Connie while she went on a tour with a band she sings with. This period extended to three months, and once Cherie returned, Connie got a lawyer, accused her sister of being an unfit mother, and so Alex was asked to assess which of the sisters would provide Rambla with the best care.
Unfortunately, Alex’s decision displeases someone, and soon Milo joins the cast, investigating a homicide. Unfortunately, our killer is not content with one victim, and as the body count rises, so does the pressure to find the murderer.
I’ll warrant that there won’t be many out there who’ll lay this book down, delighted that they’d I.D.’d the killer at an early stage – I confess they totally passed me by, and made me question how much, in a whodunnit, a character must appear to be a viable subject. But I don’t want to get into spoiler territory, so I’ll leave that question for now.
For the above reasons, this isn’t a classic Jonathan Kellerman, and I wouldn’t recommend it for someone’s first foray into the Delaware/Sturgis series. But hard-core fans will enjoy it, and completists like me will HAVE to tick it off the list. Don’t misunderstand me – it’s not a bad book; by most writer’s standards, it’s fantastic. But by Jonathan Kellerman standards, it’s a wee bit average.
3.5 out of 5 from me.