Monday, December 21, 2009

The Murder Book

The Murder Book by Jonathan Kellerman
Alex Delaware Series #16
Mass Market Paperback, 516 pages
Ballantine Books, 2002
ISBN-13: 9780345508546

Synopsis from cover:
L.A. psychologist-detective Alex Delaware has received a strange package in the mail. Inside is an ornate album filled with gruesome crime scene photos. When his old friend and colleague, homicide detective Milo Sturgis, views the compendium of death, he is immediately shaken by one of the images: a young woman, tortured, strangled, and dumped near a freeway ramp. The murder was one of Milo's first cases as a rookie homicide cop: a vicious killing that he failed to solve - and has haunted him ever since. Now, two decades later, someone has chosen to stir up the past. As Alex and Milo set out to uncover what really happened twenty years ago, their every move is followed and their lives are placed in jeopardy. The relentless investigation reaches deep into L.A.'s nerve-centers of power and wealth - past and present. While peeling back layer after layer of ugly secrets, they discover that the murder of one forgotten girl has chilling ramifications that extend far beyond the tragic loss of a single life.

My Thoughts:
Kellerman's The Murder Book features more chapters featuring Detective Milo Sturgis rather than mostly Dr. Alex Delaware. The plot starts out strong, gets bogged down in the middle, and concludes satisfactorily. It's definitely for fans of the series and maybe not as much for a casual reader. Alex Delaware comes across as a little annoying at times in this book. Fans will read the series no matter what and I'm going to finish the Kellerman's in my TBR stack.


The day I got the murder book, I was still thinking about Paris. Red wine, bare trees, gray river, city of love. Everything that happened there. Now, this. opening

The packages were a psychology book I'd ordered a while back, a free sample of toothpaste guaranteed to heal my gums and feed my smile, and an eight-by-twelve rectangle wrapped in coarse blue paper with Dr. A. Delaware and my address typed on a while label. pg 12

Page after page of the same cruel artistry and matter-of-fact prose.
Why had this been sent to me?....
I thumbed through the rest of the album, not focusing on the images but just searching for some personal message...
Forty-three deaths in all. pg. 15

For years, I'd preached the benefits of self expression but my tonic since childhood had been isolation. pg. 16

He studies several more photos, flipped back and forth to the initial shot then forward to where he'd left off. Resuming his inspection, picking up speed and skimming the horrors, just as I had. Then he stopped. Stared at a photo toward the back of the book. Chunky knuckles swelled the gloves as he gripped the album.
"When exactly did you get this?"
"Today's mail." pg. 20

No passing motorist had seen it, because when you were in a hurry, why would you study the dirt above the on-ramp? You never get to know a city unless you walk. Which is why so few people know L.A., thought Milo. pg. 33

Because Alex's mind could be a scary thing - cerebral flypaper; stuff flew in but never left. His friend was capable of sitting quietly for long stretches when you'd think he was listening - actively listening the way they'd taught him in shrink school - then he'd let loose a burst of associations and hypotheses and apparently unrelated trivialities that turned out too often to be right on. pg. 214

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