In Cold Heart
, the latest thriller from bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman, Dr. Alex Delaware picks up on clues missed even by his closest friend, LAPD detective Milo Sturgis. Leave it to this canny shrink to figure out that the only thing two otherwise unconnected murder victims have in common (they're both artists making comebacks after early career burnouts) may hold the key to their deaths. Even for Alex, this unlikely link is a stretch, especially since Baby Boy Lee was stabbed outside a nightclub and Julie Kipper was bludgeoned in the bathroom of an art gallery. But when a concert pianist dies on the eve of his greatest triumph, Alex is sure that the murders are not only the work of the same killer but also connected to the unsolved slayings of a Boston ballerina and an L.A. rock singer. By an even greater coincidence, two of the victims were tangentially involved with Alex's former lover, Robin Castagna, which provides the good doctor a few well placed paragraphs to ruminate on what went wrong in their romance as well as rescue her from the serial murderer who's targeted her as his next victim.
As usual, Kellerman manages to make even a far-fetched plot like this one ring true, but after 17 Alex Delaware mysteries, his series protagonist holds few surprises for the reader, who longs for something to shake Dr. D. out of his smooth complacency. Losing Robin didn't do it--maybe the new woman in Alex's life will. --Jane Adams
From Publishers Weekly
"This one's a twister, isn't it?" Kellerman is at it again with number 17 in his highly successful series starring smooth L.A. psychologist Alex Delaware. In this latest installment, Delaware is called in (via Homicide pal Milo Sturgis) to consult on a string of bizarre murders of fringe artists on the verge of stardom. The victims-a bluesman out of rehab, a punk diva screaming her way toward a record deal, a rising young concert pianist and an abstract painter-seem utterly unrelated. Their only connection, as Delaware shrewdly notes, is that each is "[a] gifted, damaged soul snuffed out violently, during the first blush of comeback." Rounding out the investigative team is Det. Petra Connor (reprising her role from previous Kellerman books), this time paired with spooky, skinny Eric Stahl, a silent ex-soldier with a sweaty fear of hospitals. The clues appear in an underground zine covering art in absurdly pretentious tones ("This is DANCE as in paleo-instinctuo-bioenergetics") in articles signed by the "Faithful Scrivener," and lead the team to encounters with some of the weirder denizens of the City of Angels. Of course, Kellerman provides a meaty layer of interpersonal relationships beneath the surface of his plot, so that longtime fans can tune into the latest episode of Delaware's tense friendship with his ex, Robin, which is not where he hoped it would be, but which he handles with his usual aplomb ("When in doubt, ask about the dog"). That Robin's occupation places her squarely in the killer's crosshairs wraps things up nicely.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.