The Murderer’s Daughter by Jonathan Kellerman



A book needing therapy…     **


(SPOILER ALERT) Jonathan Kellerman can write a good novel. The early Alex Delaware novels are a good example of his talent. The last few have not been up to par. They have been formulaic and have pushed the boundaries of believability. As I began reading The Murderer’s Daughter, my first impression was that he was back to writing a good book.

The story flips from present day to the past as we learn about the main character, Grace Blades. The sections about Grace as a foster child witnessing the murder-suicide of her parents, are the best parts of the book. The sections about her present day role as an expert in counseling people who have lost a loved one, not as good.

Half way through, both stories become tedious to read and Kellerman becomes more of a fact-giver than a storyteller. It seems writers who set a story in Los Angeles feel compelled to give us GPS directions as their character goes from point A to point B. Michael Connelly is one of the worst and here, Kellerman falls into that trap.

Kellerman gets a little preachy about the psychiatric care at VA hospitals and for all of his insights about psychiatry, never really explains Grace’s motivation for a secret sex life.

By the end, which becomes unbelievable, I found myself not caring what happened. This is a story of revenge.  It’s also about a character that is more of a sociopath than those she is after. Maybe in a future Alex Delaware, he and Milo will be trying to solve a case where Grace Blades is the antagonist.

This one gets two stars because it’s only half bad.

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