Author: Jonathan Kellerman
My Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
I'm a little torn about this book. This was the choice for my real life book club last month (It's called Thrill Me on Meetup.com) and I was the one that actually suggested a Jonathan Kellerman book. We always try to read an author none of us have read, and he fit the criteria. Our group leader, Amy, was a little hesitant to choose it because it was written in the 1980s so it was obviously going to be dated (those pesky cell phones and computers have really changed how thriller novels work), but we decided to go with it anyway. Why am I torn about the book? Well, I only gave it 3.5 of 5 stars which may make you think I didn't like it, but I actually did. Here's why I only gave it 3.5 stars:
Alex Delaware is a child psychologist who burned out after a particularly difficult case where a group of children were molested by the husband of a woman that ran a daycare. Even though he has left his practice, he remains friends with Milo, a detective on the L.A. police force. When a terrible murder is committed in an apartment complex, the only witness to the murder is a young girl and Milo calls on Alex to help solve the case.
The book was a quick read and interesting throughout. There were quite a few twists and turns in the book that kept me interested, and I will definitely try another Alex Delaware novel because overall it was enjoyable. The main thing that bothered me was the frankness about child molestation. Yes, I know it happens and I know it's vulgar and ugly, but there were some conversations in the book that made my stomach turn. I consider myself pretty hard to gross out, but these conversations definitely reduced my enjoyment of the book. I am not sure if child molesters really talk the way they did, but it wasn't outside the realm of possibility which gave a realness to the story that was a little difficult for me to read.
I also felt like the story came together a little too neatly and things just fell into place for Alex Delaware. The guy had no experience in detective work, but (and I don't feel like this is too much of a spoiler since the series is named after Alex Delaware) he is just a fantastic detective that knows where to look and how to find things out. I also felt there was a lack of character development with the little girl in the book. I figured with Delware being a child psychologist the book would feature the girl more than it did.
Other than these things, the book was a really good thriller. There were some terrific scenes in the book that had me almost cheering. Everyone in my group seemed to like it, and we all said we would read another of his books. I won't say it's a masterpiece of fiction, but it's a nice way to spend a few days if you are wanting to read a little bit of mystery and a little bit of thrills.