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12 February 2015

Jonathan Kellerman: Motive

Last suppers
This is another of Jonathan Kellerman's well written police procedurals/criminal psychology series featuring PhD psychologist Dr Alex Delaware who helps LAPD Homicide Lieutenant Milo Sturgis with his most difficult cases.

Milo confronts the murder of Katherine Hennepin, a young woman strangled and stabbed many times in her home. The killer mysteriously leaves an uneaten meal for two at the murder scene. Katherine had a short affair with a chef known for his drunken tempers, but he has a solid alibi.

With no clues Milo moves on  to another case and investigates the murder of Ursula Corey an attractive wealthy divorcée who has been gunned down in the car park of her attorney's office building. The initial suspects are the woman's business partner/ex-husband and her divorce lawyer who just turns out to have been her secret lover. Things get interesting when an untouched meal is found at the home of the victim.

Other victims are also found with untouched "last suppers" laid out at the scene with the quality of the meal matching the background of the victim. Delaware is brought in to give guidance on the psychology of a serial killer who has great manipulative skills and cunning, and possible culinary skills.

This is a high quality police procedural which involves intensive surveillance of possible suspects that provides lots of interesting information about the lives of the suspects but no real breakthrough. All it needs is a single, almost accidental, breakthrough to make the plot sizzle and twist in unexpected ways.

While I enjoyed Kellerman's writing style and plot development which became pretty page-turning as the finale approached it was not as compelling as earlier books in the series. To some extent the ending was a bit anti-climatic, but heart-warming, and you really need to read this book to appreciate it. There is no doubt that this series will remain on my reading list.

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