Thursday, January 26, 2012

Victims-Jonathan Kellerman


Jonathan Kellerman

Ballantine, Feb 28 2012, $28.00

ISBN: 9780345505712

In her apartment, the victim fifty-six years old Vita Berlin was mutilated with her guts placed like a precious necklace around her neck. The only clue to the horrific murder is a strange note with a question mark on it left inside a pizza box that adds eeriness to an already unnerving homicide. LAPD homicide detective Lieutenant Milo Sturgis leads the investigation. His friend and frequent police consultant psychiatrist Dr. Alex Delaware assists on the inquiry. Both men who have seen too much violence over the years are particularly shook up by this gruesome killing.

As they work the case, several additional similar murders occur. They find a link at the mothballed Ventura State Hospital; a place that at one time housed mentally troubled people with the worst head cases locked away in the Specialized Care Unit. Alex interviews psychiatrists who worked with the victims, but all hide behind a wall of privacy.

The latest Delaware-Sturgis police procedural is an entreating serial killer thriller as mildly mocking Miles is off his feed bag with this case. The storyline is fast-paced with a deep spotlight shining on when the mental health care system fails. Although the ending feels off kilter and Delaware has worked vicious serial killing cases with and without Sturgis (see The Butcher’s Theater), fans will enjoy the latest buddies’ whodunit as their usual quipping is subdued by the brutal homicides.

Harriet Klausner

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