Published by Arrow
Publication date – 12 November 2020
Source – review copy
A mansion in Beverly Hills is leased out to host an event wild enough to herald the end of days.
The next day there isn’t a living soul to be seen. In the driveway sits a super-stretch limo, unlocked, with four bodies inside it. Nothing links the victims together. Each has been killed in a different way.
Now it’s up to brilliant psychologist Alex Delware and LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis to begin their grisliest and most baffling case yet.
As they struggle to make sense of the mass slaying, they will be forced to confront a level of evil that nothing can prepare them for.
The morning after the night before. A house cleaner, sent to tidy up after a Beverly Hills party, finds more than he bargains for when he stumbles across four bodies, murder victims set up in a disturbing tableu. Lieutenant Milo Sturgis and best friend psychologist Alex Delaware are on the hunt for a killer who murders without an apparent motive.
The crime scene is described as nightmarish. It is mentioned later that one veteran cop still has dreams about it. However, the scene when described for the reader does not seem as gruesome as the characters find it. Perhaps this is deliberate, the scene’s gore hinted at by the response the professionals have to it. Or it may be that this reader’s gore level is set higher than most.
The mystery itself is engaging. What links the four murder victims, all seemingly disparate people who have no ties to each other? That is what Milo and Alex, and the reader, have to find out. The story never drags, though the pace isn’t relentless and the dénouement when it arrives is a satisfying end to the story.
The Alex Delaware series isn’t known for it’s breadcrumb of clues, or mis-direction. Usually the reader is given hints, or possible red herrings. Here we follow the investigation as it happens, albeit with some of the legwork edited out.
Regular readers of this series will be aware that not much about Alex Delaware is revealed. He is never really described. The reader has to conjure their own version of him. Conversely, the supporting cast are all easy to imagine, from Robin’s curly red mane and dungarees to Milo’s girth and pock-marked face. New characters are described, their attire detailed, even the city of LA is described, with street directions a plenty, but we have to remain fuzzily in the dark as to Alex’s appearance. Regular readers will find out a little more about Alex in this book, though granted, it doesn’t get close to describing him.
I love this series. A new instalment is always a highlight of my reading year. Reading a new Jonathan Kellerman book reminds me of what I love about reading; getting a book you’ve been wanting to read for ages, settling down with it immediately and getting lost in the story, thoroughly entertained for a few hours or a few days.
If you haven’t read any before and love crime fiction I would urge you to pick up one of the books. Whilst this is book 35 in the series you don’t have to have read any of the others to enjoy this one. Though I would recommend that you did. Once you fall for the characters you’ll have 34 other books to get through until the next one.
When you follow a series for years, the characters become friends, as much as fictitious people can. There is always the bittersweet moment that once the final page has been turned, there will be a long wait until the next reunion. Such as it ever was with The Museum of Desire. I’m already looking forward to my next visit to see Milo and Alex.