Monday, April 7, 2014

Book Review: Killer by Jonathan Kellerman

Killer: An Alex Delaware Novel
By Jonathan Kellerman
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Published: February 11, 2014

Amazon Synopsis:

After thirty-five riveting, internationally acclaimed novels of psychological suspense, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman returns with his most stunning thriller to date. Killeris a mesmerizing L.A. noir portrayal of the darkest impulses of human nature carried to shocking extremes.
The City of Angels has more than its share of psychopaths, and no one recognizes that more acutely than the brilliant psychologist and police consultant Dr. Alex Delaware. Despite that, Constance Sykes, a sophisticated, successful physician, hardly seems like someone Alex needs to fear. Then, at the behest of the court, he becomes embroiled in 
a bizarre child custody dispute initiated by Connie against her sister and begins to realize that there is much about the siblings he has failed to comprehend. And when the court battle between the Sykes sisters erupts into cold, calculating murder and a rapidly growing number of victims, Alex knows he’s been snared in a toxic web of pathology.
Nothing would please Alex more than to be free of the ugly spectacle known as Sykes v. Sykes. But then the little girl at the center of the vicious dispute disappears and Alex knows he must work with longtime friend Detective Milo Sturgis, braving an obstacle course of  Hollywood washouts, gangbangers, and self-serving jurists in order to save an innocent life.
Killer is Kellerman—and Delaware—at their finest.

Book Links
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My Thoughts:

Alex Delaware is a psychologist that is called on as a consultant to assist with police and court cases. The case he has been asked to assist with this time is a simple one, an open and shut case: two sisters, fighting over custody of a child. The child appears to be achieving all the normal milestones and forming the normal attachments with her mother, Ree Sykes, a woman of little means. The aunt, Connie Sykes, is suing for custody claims the mother is incompetent and a danger to the child is a woman with great financial means. Connie is very unhappy at losing the custody dispute so quickly.

In Alex’s life however, nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Shortly thereafter, Alex once again finds himself working with Detective Milo Sturgis (who he’s partnered with in many other Kellerman novels) when Connie Sykes turns up dead and Ree and her baby have disappeared.

Kellerman is a master at taking a story and twisting it in another direction, totally getting you to believe that and then turning it around again and heading somewhere else. After several different twists and turns, the conclusion ends up being something totally different than what you were expecting.

Alex Delaware experiences self-doubt in this volume, which is unusual for him and he turns to his ever-supportive Robin for reassurance. She’s there as always, working away in her woodshop. Does she do anything else? And Milo, as ever, raids the refrigerator every time he comes to the house.

I didn’t find Killer quite as engaging as some of Mr. Kellermans other works. It was a good book, it was just lacking that special something. I gave this novel 3 stars out of 5.

Thank you to the publisher who provided me a copy via NetGalley a copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review. A positive opinion was not required. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author:

Jonathan Kellerman was born in New York City in 1949 and grew up in Los Angeles. He helped work his way through UCLA as an editorial cartoonist, columnist, editor and freelance musician. As a senior, at the age of 22, he won a Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award for fiction. 

Like his fictional protagonist, Alex Delaware, Jonathan received at Ph.D. in psychology at the age of 24, with a specialty in the treatment of children. He served internships in clinical psychology and pediatric psychology at Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles and was a post-doctoral HEW Fellow in Psychology and Human Development at CHLA. 
In 1985, Jonathan's first novel, WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS, was published to enormous critical and commercial success and became a New York Times bestseller. BOUGH was also produced as a t.v. movie and won the Edgar Allan Poe and Anthony Boucher Awards for Best First Novel. Since then, Jonathan has published a best-selling crime novel every year, and occasionally, two a year. In addition, he has written and illustrated two books for children and a nonfiction volume on childhood violence, SAVAGE SPAWN (1999.) Though no longer active as a psychotherapist, he is a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Psychology at University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. 

Jonathan is married to bestselling novelist 
Faye Kellerman and live in California and New Mexico. Their four children include the novelist Jesse Kellerman.
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