Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Guilt - Jonathan Kellerman

Guilt is the 28th (!) entry in Jonathan Kellerman's long running Dr. Alex Delaware series. I've been following this series for many years, but the last few books have fallen short for me. But, old habits are hard to break, so I was willing to see what was in store with this latest offering.

Alex is a psychologist who consults with the LAPD - specifically with Homicide Detective Milo Sturgis. "Most homicides are mundane and on the way to clearance within a day or two. Milo sometimes calls me on 'the interesting ones.'" Milo is an outsider within the ranks, but he has one of the highest clearance ranks in the department. Together this pair make an interesting investigative duo, with each bringing different strengths and outlooks to the cases.

In Guilt, a new homeowner discovers a metal box buried in the backyard. But, the contents are unexpected - they're the bones of a baby. The remains are determined to be sixty years old, but of course must be investigated. Then a young woman is found dead in a nearby park with another set of infant bones close by - and this time they're more recent.

Kellerman lets us follow along as Alex and Milo scour the past and pursue the present in search of answers. Alex takes the lead role in Guilt, striking out on his own many times, using his own connections and pursuing threads he believes will lead to answers. I did find sone leaps to leads rather circumstantial and a bit hard to buy, and the title appears to have been drawn from a note that is never fully explained.

Kellerman is a psychologist himself and the character of Alex is especially well developed because of this  background. His conversations and mannerisms ring true. In Guilt, Alex practices more counselling than he has in the last few outings. Milo still remains my favourite character, but he takes more a backseat in Guilt. Blanche the bulldog does seem to steal a lot of scenes as well.

Reading the latest Jonathan Kellerman is like slipping on a favourite pair of slippers - they're comfortable and you know how they'll fit. Guilt was a good read to keep me entertained on a recent train trip. Read an excerpt of Guilt. You can find Jonathan Kellerman on Facebook.

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