City of the Dead by Jonathan Kellerman – review

Published by Century

Publication date – 17 February 2022

Source – review copy

At 5am in the upscale neighbourhood of Westwood Village, two removal men are making a routine pick-up when they make a fatal hit. It’s a man – who appeared from nowhere – naked and with no means of identification.

Not long after, a woman is found dead in a house nearby, which neighbours suspect to be a brothel. Could the man have come from there?

When LAPD homicide lieutenant Milo Sturgis calls brilliant psychologist Alex Delaware to the scene, the case gets even more complicated. Delaware has met the woman before. She’s a psychologist too.

Are the two deaths linked? Or is there a darker force at work?

Two removal drivers find more than they bargained for when they run over a naked man who had seemingly appeared from nowhere. In a house close by, another body is found. Lieutenant Milo Sturgis calls in his friend, psychologist Alex Delaware, who realises he knows the dead woman. As events unfold the case becomes ever more mysterious as the list of suspects dwindles. Will Alex and Milo figure out how the two people came to die?

It is always a pleasure to read a new Alex Delaware novel. This series, now onto it’s 37th instalment, has firmly established its cast of characters. Long time readers will have seen the highs and lows of the relationships between them, the near death experiences and brushes with those with murderous intent.

In this latest novel Alex has to look into the murder of someone he has interacted with before. His work a a psychologist crosses paths yet again with murder, though it linked more closely than his usual psychological insights into random cases.

As I have come to expect with this series, there are not many clues left to enable the reader to figure out the culprit before the reveal. That said, this was a book where the I had figured out what had happened just as Alex did.

As would be expected in a book written by a psychologist and featuring a lead character with the same profession, the story reflects on what leads someone to commit a heinous crime. This is just as much about why as about who.

For me this was a strong return LA and the investigative partnership of two unlikely best friends. The story was engaging, with the discovery of the bodies coming in the opening pages, not dragging but pulling the reader along until the dénouement. I was entertained from the first page and looked forward to getting back to reading, the sign to me of a good book.

Another welcome return of Alex and Milo. I look forward to reading their next investigation soon.

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