May 15, 2008
Compulsion by Jonathan Kellerman
2008 Ballantine Books
Finished on 5/7/08
Rating: 3.5/5 (Good)
Once again, the depths of the criminal mind and the darkest side of a glittering city fuel #1 New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman’s brilliant storytelling. And no one conducts a more harrowing and suspenseful manhunt than the modern Sherlock Holmes of the psyche, Dr. Alex Delaware.
A tipsy young woman seeking aid on a desolate highway disappears into the inky black night. A retired schoolteacher is stabbed to death in broad daylight. Two women are butchered after closing time in a small-town beauty parlor. These and other bizarre acts of cruelty and psychopathology are linked only by the killer’s use of luxury vehicles and a baffling lack of motive. The ultimate whodunits, these crimes demand the attention of LAPD detective Milo Sturgis and his collaborator on the crime beat, psychologist Alex Delaware.
What begins with a solitary bloodstain in a stolen sedan quickly spirals outward in odd and unexpected directions, leading Delaware and Sturgis from the well-heeled center of L.A. society to its desperate edges; across the paths of commodities brokers and transvestite hookers; and as far away as New York City, where the search thaws out a long-cold case and exposes a grotesque homicidal crusade. The killer proves to be a fleeting shape-shifter, defying identification, leaving behind dazed witnesses and death–and compelling Alex and Milo to confront the true face of murderous madness.
Brilliant storytelling? I'm not sure I'd go that far, but it was a good read. Maybe I would've been more impressed if I knew more about Delaware and Sturgis. Kellerman does a tidy job of filling in the backstory details, but I still felt as if I had walked into a party that'd been going on for several hours.
My husband's read most (if not all) of this series and thought I might enjoy this new release. I liked it, but I prefer Parker, Sandford, and Lehane (particularly Parker and Sandford's dry humor). However, this was an entertaining mystery that kept me guessing, so I guess I'm hooked. I'm looking forward to the backlist -- all 21 titles!