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The Murder Book (Alex Delaware, No. 16) Mass Market Paperback – May 20, 2008

145 customer reviews

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The Murderer's Daughter: A Novel by Jonathan Kellerman
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Editorial Reviews Review

When L.A. psychologist Alex Delaware receives an elaborate album filled with gruesome crime-scene police photos of a series of apparently unconnected killings, he's stymied. He's also in the midst of a personal crisis--Robin, his long-suffering partner, has made it clear that it's up to Alex to heal the breach in their relationship that's been caused by his over-involvement in criminal investigations. The pictures mean nothing to him, but one image gets his policeman pal Milo Sturgis's immediate attention--the victim was one of his rookie cases, and her murder was never solved, perhaps because someone much higher up in the department didn't want it to be. Was the anonymous mailer attempting to reach Milo through Alex? If so, the package has the desired effect, as the two men team up to find the connection between the cases highlighted in the murder book and whoever sent it. The trail leads to a retired cop, an old mentor of Alex's, and a wealthy, powerful family that will stop at nothing to keep its secrets and its victims buried forever. Kellerman pays more attention to Alex's midlife blues than he needs to, but his focus on Milo's experiences as a gay cop in a homophobic department fits seamlessly into both plot and narrative. --Jane Adams --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Bestseller Kellerman's 16th Alex Delaware novel is a hoot of a whodunit, a classic puzzler to keep the most staid traditionalist gleefully scratching his or her head until the wee hours. It's also a noir of gothic proportions, a descent into a California hell, in which Delaware shares the spotlight with his longtime friend and colleague, Det. Milo Sturgis. When somebody sends Alex a three-ring binder full of grisly police photographs of crime scenes with "The Murder Book" in gold letters on the front cover, Milo is stunned to discover a picture of the mutilated body of Janie Ingalls, a Hollywood High sophomore, whose vicious murder he investigated 20 years before. Milo was just a rookie detective then, partnered with a hard-nosed veteran, Pierce Schwinn. The pair made some progress with the case, but were pulled off it and split up because Schwinn stepped on some big toes. Milo suspects the book has come from Schwinn, an invitation to take up the old case that has haunted them both for years. He and Alex begin to follow a trail that will lead them high up the social ladder and down among the dregs of society. It is a step-by-step, clue-by-clue process beloved of mystery fans, and Kellerman handles it masterfully. By the end there are an awful lot of characters to keep track of, and the biff-boom-bang finale seems too much, but no one's perfect. This may be the best Kellerman in years.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (May 20, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345508548
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345508546
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #474,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Lori L. Graham on October 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Kellerman has been in a bit of a rut lately-- rich, good-looking doctor with attractive and accomplished girlfriend gets into the down-and-dirty blah blah blah. In The Murder Book, Kellerman not only shakes up Alex's life (with Robin's new gig [new life?] chief among the changes), but we finally get, in essence, a real Milo story-- much of the book is from Milo's point of view. By doing this, Kellerman drops not only the first-person but subtly alters his writing style to evoke a more Milo-ish tone. The story is made more involving by having a greater emphasis on fallibility than evil, thus making it more accessible and-- dare I say it?-- realistic.
So by combining an involving story with new character twists, more grey areas between good and evil, and the fresh perspective of Milo Sturgis, we get one of Kellerman's best books in years. Enjoy!
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Nick G on October 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Alex Delaware has seen his share of violent crimes but none like the collection he receives in the mail.
Alex receives an anonymous book in the mail. The book is called "The Murder Book", and in it are graphic pictures of various murders. The murders are all random, not connected, and stretch back many years. Alex has no idea why he has received this, or who sent it to him so it does the only logical thing he can...he turns it over to his lifelong friend, homicide detective Milo Sturgis.
Milo begins looking through the horrifying book only to be shocked by photos of a young woman tortured, strangled, and dumped by a freeway. Milo immediately recognizes the crime photos, it was the first case he ever worked on.
Milo has tried to forget the case he could not solve, but now many years later someone has opened a Pandora's Box bringing the past to the present, forcing Milo on an endless journey for answers. A journey that will take him to the darkest corners of L.A. exposing secrets kept for many years.
Can Milo and Alex solve the crime, and bring closure to a young woman nobody cared about?
`The Murder Book' is classic Kellerman storytelling; fast-paced, exciting, well written, and very suspenseful. The Alex Delaware series continues full steam ahead with, probably, the best entry in several years. Readers will be drawn in from the first chapter, and kept in a spell of shocks, and twists with every turn of the page.
Jonathan Kellerman writes the kind yarns that grab you by the throat, and keep you captive until the last page has been turned. Although this is a typical good versus evil story Mr. Kellerman makes it anything but typical by adding his masterful plot twists, healthy doses of action, and almost un-bearable suspense.
Longtime fans of the Delaware series will love this, and new readers will run out and by the earlier novels.
A MUST read for series fans, and thriller fans alike.
Nick Gonnella
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Archmaker VINE VOICE on November 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After a few years of Jonathan Kellerman experimenting with form, trying to expand the Delaware horizons, and exploring specific themes with some mixed results, he seemed to be getting back to basics in his last outing, Flesh & Blood, and has really regained his stride with this offering, The Murder Book.

The 16th in the Alex Delaware series, and Kellerman has caught his second wind and this story is a real page-turner and barn- burner! Kellerman is still playing with form, this time alternating between Alex Delaware's 1st person narrative, and a major portion of the book a 3rd person telling from his pal, Det. Milo Sturgis', point-of-view. He thereby gives us a deeper look at both Milo and Alex as we see Delaware from his friend's perspective.

Nice to see an author's interest and invigoration in a book so far down the line in a series. AND, the mystery and plot is a corker with Alex and Milo working a 20 year old case and uncovering really rotten people in the Hills of Beverly and Belair. Plenty of evil and fireworks.

Alex Delaware finally realizes what we have known all along. He isn't a police "consultant" because he likes to exercise his apptitude and training in psychology. He does it because he is an adrenaline junky and gets off on the danger! His beloved Robin has realized this and she has split. Permanently? More will be revealed.

Having hooked in to Kellerman many years ago, I had found several of the later books interesting, but lacking the bite and visceral grab of the earlier works. Well, Jonathan is back, full stroke, and I can't wait for the next Delaware novel. Five stars for this one, for Kellerman fans, of course.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Anna Klein on March 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Alex Delaware, psychologist and consultant to the LAPD, has just taken his longtime girlfriend, Robin, to Paris to try to repair past ills. Instead of falling back in love with him, she's gone off on an extended music tour. He's alone in Los Angeles when the official blue album shows up at his door, filled with hideous and seemingly unrelated crime scene shots and titled "The Murder Book." He promptly calls his friend Milo Sturgis, an LAPD detective. Turns out one of the victims in the book, a badly mutilated teenage girl, was Milo's first unsolved homicide -- a homicide he might have closed if he hadn't been mysteriously shut down from within his own department. The two men's determination to discover who sent the book quickly grows into a need to resolve once and for all an atrocity that has been closely guarded by the rich and powerful for over twenty years.
If half of THE MURDER BOOK wasn't written from Milo's third-person perspective, it would have bombed badly. As it is, this novel just barely scrapes along on four stars. Yes, THE MURDER BOOK reads like vintage Kellerman, but that's not neccessarily a good thing. How many times can Alex search for information by web or phone? How many times can he take witnesses out to lunch in places painfully well described? How many times can he uncover a vast conspiracy that involves a confusing number of characters and is never quite plausible? How many times can he nearly get killed in the process? True, supposedly now we have some tension between Robin and Alex, but Robin wasn't solid to begin with and I can't say I missed her. What I did miss was any attempt on Alex's part to truly mend the relationship. But then, he's a series detective, what did I expect?
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