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The Murder Book    by Jonathan Kellerman order for
Murder Book
by Jonathan Kellerman
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2003 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

If you're a fan of Jonathan Kellerman, you already know Alex Delaware. If not, reading The Murder Book would be a good way to meet him. A fan already, I opened this novel with great expectations and was not disappointed.

Alex Delaware is a psychologist who assisted the police in their pursuit of murderers in the past. Though he has given up this work, the anonymous arrival at his home of a murder book (a photograph album of victims of murder) pulls him back into the investigation of criminal life. His friend, police detective Milo Sturgis, investigated one of the cases in the murder book as a rookie cop twenty years before - a case that has haunted him ever since.

Milo and Alex, together and separately, go back in time, trying to find any of the people involved in the particularly brutal killing of a sixteen-year-old girl. Government and police politics are a big part of the story, as are the machinations of big business. Milo's gay partner, an ER surgeon, is affected by this case. And Alex (physician heal thyself) is prompted to act badly when his girlfriend Robin goes on an extended working trip. His anguish, as he deals with his feelings, is hard to read. One way or another, it could happen to any of us.

This 516-page book dragged occasionally, but never enough to make me put it down. Kellerman's descriptions of places are very good, making it easy to envision each scene. Some of the scenes I really didn't want to be a part of - but that's the price of reading a good book. This is a compelling story, hard to put down. Licentious characters abound, all believable. Each one could be real, but I hope were not taken from real life.

For a good read, pick up a copy of The Murder Book, settle down in a comfortable chair, turn off the phone and don't answer the door. Alex Delaware will entertain you.

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