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20 August 2015

Jonathan Kellerman: The Murderer's Daughter

Psychology runs off the road
I have read several of Jonathan Kellerman's Alex Delaware stories and was looking forward to seeing what he could do next. Unfortunately, despite Kellerman's writing skills he disappointed me with this thriller about a psychologist that IMHO ran off the road in trying to put some distance from his previous books.

The main protagonist is Grace Blades, a successful and dedicated psychologist who has a troubled history that has never left her. Grace saw her drug and alcohol dependent parents always fighting and eventually one parent murdered the other and then committed suicide. Then followed years of terrible foster homes where some of the children were worse than the uncaring foster parents. At one of her last foster homes she comes into contact with 3 other children from a cult background. Something is strange and dangerous about these children, something that haunts her in later life.

At last a caring childcare person puts her in touch with a loving academic couple who recognise her outstanding mensa IQ and allows her to study to her capacity. Despite gaining her intellectual freedom Grace is still haunted by her childhood background and by a secret life she leads because she doesn't have the emotional maturity to follow a normal sexual relationship.

All of this comes to a head when her childhood background comes back to haunt her when she meets someone from her bleak past which brings her up close and personal in a homicide case which threatens to expose her double life.

As always Jonathan Kellerman's writing a plotting is excellent. However this time I couldn't connect with the major character and the plot was so far fetched as to run off the road. Kellerman says that this is a stand-alone novel - I hope it is because I would not be inclined to read any more in the series.

My thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for an advanced copy of this book for review.

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