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04 February 2014

Jonathan Kellerman: Killer

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Another great Alex Delaware thriller
Jonathan Kellerman has been writing the Alex Delaware series since 1985 and "Killer" is #30 in the bestselling series about a forensic psychologist sleuth who helps LAPD with their homicide investigations and the courts with psychological assessments. After so many in the series this book is still well worth reading when other authors of long series would have reached their use by date or relied on co-authoring by this time.

Delaware is asked by the courts to assess what appears to be a straightforward case between a single mother Cherie (Ree);and her cousin Connie for custody of Ree's sixteen month daughter Rambla. Ree is a single parent, an unsophisticated original flower child throwback, and her cousin Connie is a dominating, cold hearted, emotionless and successful owner of a pathology laboratory. Things turn nasty when Connie, realising that Alex’s decision is not in her favour, tells Alex "I'm not going to shoot you, Doctor Delaware. Even though I should."

Alex knows that he is in grave danger when he hears rumours that Connie has put out a contract on the streets for his assassination. The danger doesn't last long when Connie is found stabbed and strangled, Ree and her baby disappear and Ree's aged rocker friends are in danger.

What started as a straightforward psychological assessment turns into a murder investigation. Alex helps his best friend LAPD Homicide Lieutenant Milo Sturgis to track down the killer and find Ree and her baby - possibly before it is too late.

Kellerman is a trained psychologist and this clearly shows in his characterisation of Alex Delaware and the way he treats his clients. His compassion is clearly evident and his clients trust him, even one of the most vicious  gangsters in LA. The relationship with Milo is a long standing one of trust and friendship and Milo frequently asks for assistance from Alex well outside normal arrangements.

This a very very well and clearly written book that will hold your interest throughout. The suspense and mystery evolve in unexpected twists and turns, from the courts to the backstreets of LA as the body count grows. While some clues were seeded early on, it is only in the last few chapters that there is any real pointer to the murderer and motives. This is a well recommended, easy reading, page-turning thriller that will keep you guessing almost to the end.

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