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by Jonathan Kellerman
Ballantine, February 2013
400 pages
ISBN: 0755374541

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

For fans of author Jonathan Kellerman's brilliant psychologist character Alex Delaware, the new police procedural GUILT will be a welcome addition to the series. With Delaware as the narrator, we are led on a number of suspenseful chases. First, there is the hunt for the history of baby bones, discovered in the yard of a newly purchased home by the pregnant woman who has bought the house. Was there a crime committed? Who owned the house? Was this a love child, destroyed to keep society from learning the truth? Many possibilities are considered, and Delaware weighs in on the psychological states that might have resulted in such a crime. But then more baby bones are discovered in a nearby park, as well as the body of a female. Are these all connected? The baby bones have been cleaned of all flesh. They also seem to be covered with some sort of wax. Another theory: Was this a lab specimen?

The woman who was murdered worked as a nanny. She seems to have been the sweetest, most innocent person. Her clients loved her. Yet she disappeared from her last job after being picked up in a red car. Gradually, with lots of good detective work and psychological profiling, we learn where she went, who her friend was, and why she was slain. Before the mysteries are solved, we are introduced to old war injuries, flesh-eating insects and an amoral, possibly deranged killer.

Alex Delaware may be everyone's idea of the perfect psychologist. The words that he says to his clients, as they struggle with their life issues, make even the reader feel more hopeful. If you have read other Kellerman books, you will also be happy to again follow the sleuthing techniques and eating adventures of Milo Sturgis, the LAPD detective with whom Delaware works.

Kellerman is an expert on creating shady characters and there is no shortage of possible culprits for the crimes. This is LA, so many of the people we are introduced to have at least a tangential connection to the entertainment industry. We even have some suspicions about a high-powered star couple. They are seemingly modeled after Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, with a family of adopted children and a combined name reminiscent of the fan magazines creation, Branjolina.

Alex Delaware helps solve the crimes and with his skills even makes life better for the woman who originally found the baby bones. Jonathan Kellerman has done it again, creating a novel that is fun to read for fans old and new.

Anne Corey is a writer, poet, teacher and botanical artist in New York's Hudson Valley.

Reviewed by Anne Corey, March 2013

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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