Another enjoyable outing for Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis…
I only recently started reading Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware/Milo Sturgis series and I’ve really liked the books I’ve read so far. (You can read my review of Kellerman’s currently-most-recent title, Serpentine, here.) And I definitely enjoyed Kellerman’s upcoming series title, City of the Dead, as well.
Kellerman’s main character, Alex Delaware, is a psychologist, but City of the Dead isn’t a psychological thriller. Instead, it’s essentially a police procedural, as Delaware teams up with his long-time buddy, Milo Sturgis of LAPD Homicide, to investigate what really led to the early morning death-by-moving-van of a naked guy in the quiet and very pricey Westwood streets right to the east of UCLA. At first, it appears to be just another unfortunate but accidental traffic fatality. But then a trail of blood leads to a nearby house, and another victim is found. So Milo gets called in, and then brings Alex in, and then things get complicated when it turns out the second victim was someone Alex had met – a quasi-therapist, Cordelia (Cordi) Gannett, who had gotten into trouble in the past for practicing without a license, and more recently had been styling herself as a “relationship expert” online.
So Milo and Alex have a few puzzles to figure out. Did the naked guy kill Cordi, and then get killed himself, in an odd twist of fate, while trying to escape? Or did someone else kill both of them – and if so, which of the two was really the intended victim? Or is something else entirely going on – maybe connected to Cordi’s checkered and difficult past? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
City of the Dead has all the hallmarks of the other Delaware/Sturgis books I’ve read. (And I’ll be reading more!) The writing is smooth, and pulls you into the story as Milo and Alex figure things out. I enjoyed watching as they each use their own skill sets to find things out and then move the investigation forward together. And although I had to sustain a bit of disbelief at one point due to a rather huge coincidence (you’ll know what it is when you read it), overall, the plot hung together well, while having enough twists to be interesting. I especially enjoyed the last few chapters, where Alex’s background as a child psychologist really comes into play. And although he’s a fictional character, the empathy and expertise he displays makes me think the world needs more child psychologists for real.
All-in-all, this was a quick and fun read, and I’m definitely going to keep catching up on Kellerman’s old backlist! Please note that I received an advance review copy of City of the Dead from Random House/Ballantine Books and from NetGalley, and my thanks go to them.
And, as a final note, I really really really like the UK cover better! Here it is – see what you think – and leave a comment below…