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4.0 out of 5 starsGood Read
Reviewed in the United States on September 20, 2019
I like the Alex Delaware series and they are always a good read. This one is no exception. There are at least two concurrent story lines that are followed to conclusion and the mystery is always fun to try to solve along with Alex and Milo as they methodically investigate. Sometimes the scenes/settings are overly detailed and descriptive which bogs down the story but this book is still a good read for mystery lovers.
3.0 out of 5 starsIt Was A Mystery I Didn't Skip To The End
Reviewed in the United States on May 31, 2011
As a long-time fan of Jonathan Kellerman, it was with some trepidation that I purchased my copy of "Mystery." As others have noted, Kellerman's prose style has changed over the years, and in my humble opinion the Delaware books have suffered because of it. Sadly, "Mystery" turned out to be an average read for me.
I think the one thing I noticed more than anything was that the friendly banter we've seen between Alex and Milo was all but non-existent. Sure, it popped up on occasion, but if I hadn't been following this series since 1991, I'd have no idea that Alex and Milo were close friends. The supporting cast of Alex's long-time girlfriend Robin and Milo's partner Rick seem to have suffered as well, with Rick a near non-entity and Robin acting a bit out of character; I always liked that she didn't agree with the danger Alex got himself into. Now? I don't know, maybe she's used to it.
Gone too are the descriptions of Los Angeles that always made that city into a character in and of itself in a Kellerman novel.
The plot, as far as it went, failed to capture my attention, mainly because not enough was established of the victim to make me care of her plight.
"Mystery" opens with Alex and Robin at one of their favorite watering holes on its closing night; they both notice a young woman sitting alone at a table. The next day, Milo comes over to tell Alex about his latest case, the murder of a young woman; turns out it's the same woman Alex and Robin had seen the previous night. From there it's a fairly mundane investigation until a last-minute twist reveals a killer who I frankly didn't see coming. There's a sub-plot that really doesn't work with Alex providing therapy to a woman with cancer and her young son.
In the past, what made Alex Delaware such an interesting character was that he was an amateur, a man out of his depth getting into situations that frequently put his life into danger. When we first meet Alex in "When The Bough Breaks" he's a young, burnt-out psychologist; yet his compassion for children compels him to come out of retirement to help a young girl who is the only witness to a murder. Milo too has changed, at one time an outsider with the Los Angeles Police Department; now he's the brass and really no longer experiencing the kinds of conflict that pushed him to be the best at what he did. One can argue that people change over the years, yet I get the feeling that Alex and Milo are pretty much locked into a certain age; chronologically, both should be in their late 50s by now (Alex was 33 when "Bough" came out in 1985) yet I get the impression that they're just in their 40s, if that.
As a writer, I can understand the need to change your writing style; when you helm a successful franchise like the Delaware books, and are expected to turn out (on average) a new book a year, you need to be able to complete that book within a certain time-frame. It's not easy writing 80,000 words (roughly) so it can make sense to adopt the prose to best complete the project. Unfortunately, the book suffers because of this. I think the last truly good Delaware novel was "The Murder Book" from 2002.
Perhaps Mr. Kellerman will have the opportunity to take a break from the Delaware series and write something else, or nothing at all, and return to the franchise renewed. Otherwise, the sad reality is Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis will continue to be featured in increasingly mediocre police procedurals, where Alex's involvement seems more driven out of a need to help his friend rather than any genuine curiosity or interest in the psychology behind the case.
Finally after a misstep with
Deception: An Alex Delaware Novel (Alex Delaware Novels)
(and honestly I wasn't too thrilled with
Evidence: An Alex Delaware Novel
either) Alex and Milo are back in top form. Alex and Robin are out to spend one last night at the Fauborg Hotel bar before the hotel is demolished and they see a lovely young woman who appears to be waiting for someone who never shows. That was the only contact Alex and Robin had with her until Milo shows up with gruesome photos of her corpse. With no way to identify this beautiful girl Milo, with Alex's insightful help, (and some very unexpected help from the lovely Robin) have to track down this poor girl's identity, figure out who would want to kill her in sure a horrific fashion and figure out how it relates to the monied elite, with a bonus tie in to Alex's old acquaintance,former madam Gretchen Stengel.
This is by far the best Jonathan Kellerman book I've read in while, and like a true junkie, I have them all. I loved how the there was more banter between Milo and Alex than there has been in a long time because that has been sorely missing from his books of late. Also, I loved the fact that Alex brought Robin along for a stakeout because ever they broke up and she told him she had a problem with him not sharing much about what he does in his professional life it makes sense for her to take an interest. Plus, her insights are fresh and in general this just seemed more like the Kellerman I fell in love with and whose books comprise two whole shelves of one of my books cases. I actually chuckled at a couple of places and I haven't done that in a while, so I have to say that Kellerman fans will be pleased. The only down side I can say is that it did drag a little in the middle and while it may not have been edge of your seat thrilling it was a finely turned novel.
I just want to inhale these books, I read them so fast I worry I'm going to forget parts ( although I don't) Maybe the handsome Dr Alex could come see me? If only he was real! Jonathan Kellerman is a storyteller who's books make you feel as though they're too short, I'm off to read another....
This was a very enjoyable read proving that Kellerman is right on form. The book is another sucessful pairing of Milo Sturgis and Alex Delaware we the two investigate the death of a young woman with a mysterious past. The book is very unpredictable and keeps you guessing until the end. The book is well written and nicely paced with clues appearing the whole way through the book and various small side plots that keep you entertained.
4.0 out of 5 starsAnother great read from The Master
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 28, 2013
I am biased. I have read every novel this particular Kellerman has written and this is up to his usual high standard. I always read the books wondering why they haven't been made into movies, then realise no-one could be as good as the fiction. Terrific detail as always and wonderfully warm as usual despite the subject matter.