Mystery, Jonathan Kellerman (Ballantine)

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Alex Delaware, the L.A. psychologist and crime-solver, returns to tackle another tricky case. A woman has been murdered, her body mutilated. Homicide detective Milo Sturgis, Delaware’s frequent partner, brings Alex into the case, hoping for some insight into the psychology of the killer. Alex is surprised to discover that the victim is familiar to him; Alex and his girlfriend saw her at a restaurant only hours before her death. But how can Alex and Milo expect to find any usable clues when the restaurant is now out of business? The Delaware series has been going since 1985, and it’s long since settled into a comfortable formula, which is just fine as far as fans are concerned. The books star a pair of engaging protagonists and, for the most part, are well plotted. In addition, Kellerman usually tosses in a couple of twists to keep readers on their toes. This installment is nothing out of the ordinary for the series, but it’s a solid entry that will please the established audience.

This review originally appeared in Booklist, January 2011.

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