Serpentine (Alex Delaware #36) by Jonathan Kellerman #Review

An intriguing story that with its slow pace and interesting theories reminds of the other books in the series, and yet contains enough novelty and freshness to make reading unique and interesting. The author's writing style is quite eloquent and descriptive, with every perfectly fitted detail and description we have the feeling that we are there, we can visualize every event, every gesture, every subject .... The plot is quite intricate with plenty of twists and turns to keep you on the edge through the whole ride and enough suspects to make you question everything. The characters are solidly drawn amid a background of suspense and mystery. And even if the main characters are well-known from the previous books, this can perfectly be read as a stand-alone book. 
If you are looking for a brilliant, shocking and twisty tale, that this one will most certainly blow your mind. If you have read the previous one in the series, you already know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, no worries, this is a perfect start.

Title: Serpentine

Author: Jonathan Kellerman

Series: Alex Delaware #36

Release Date:  February 2nd 2021

Length:  368 pages

Genre: Mystery/ Thriller

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Goodreads  |  Amazon

****Blurb****

Psychologist Alex Delaware and detective Milo Sturgis search for answers to a brutal, decades-old crime in this electrifying psychological thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense.

LAPD homicide lieutenant Milo Sturgis is a master detective. He has a near-perfect solve rate and he’s written his own rule book. Some of those successes–the toughest ones–have involved his best friend, the brilliant psychologist Alex Delaware. But Milo doesn’t call Alex in unless cases are “different.”
This murder warrants an immediate call. Milo’s independence has been compromised as never before, as the department pressures him to cater to the demands of a mogul: a hard-to-fathom, megarich young woman who is obsessed with reopening the coldest of cases–the decades-old death of the mother she never knew.

The facts describe a likely loser: a mysterious woman found with a bullet in her head in a torched Cadillac that has overturned on infamously treacherous Mulholland Drive. No physical evidence, no witnesses, no apparent motive. And a slew of detectives have already worked the case and failed. But as Delaware and Sturgis begin digging, the mist begins to lift. Too many coincidences. Facts turn out to be anything but. And as they soon discover, very real threats lurking in the present.

This is Delaware/Sturgis at their best: traversing the beautiful but forbidding place known as Los Angeles and exhuming the past in order to bring a vicious killer to justice.

**** My Review ****

I must admit that I am not a fan of this type of book. Usually, I want to relax with some love drama with an easy theme that will not burden me, nor will it push me out of my comfort zone. But from time to time, especially when my children have a sleepover somewhere, I want to pick up a book that will keep me on the edge of the chair and nail me from the beginning to the end. This book is just like that. Well plotted and beautifully written, it grabbed my attention and held it right through to the end. And with an interesting mix of satire and irony, the author manages to weave a mind-blowing mystery revolving around a case from over thirty years ago, in which most of the witnesses and suspects are already dead.

The desire to discover the truth about her mother is her driving force. The desire to find out what happened to the mother she didn’t even know takes Ellie Barker to Milo Sturgis. He is excellent in his work, but there are no witnesses, no motive or evidence about the murder that happened thirty years ago. The insight of the brilliant psychologist Alex Delaware is needed. And as their investigation slowly begins, so do twists and turns revealing truths that lead to something much greater. And it is not just that one death, but many more. Is this just a coincidence or is the truth hiding something else? What dangers lie behind each piece of truth revealed?

An intriguing story that with its slow pace and interesting theories reminds of the other books in the series, and yet contains enough novelty and freshness to make reading unique and interesting. The author’s writing style is quite eloquent and descriptive, with every perfectly fitted detail and description we have the feeling that we are there, we can visualize every event, every gesture, every subject… The plot is quite intricate with plenty of twists and turns to keep you on the edge through the whole ride and enough suspects to make you question everything. The characters are solidly drawn amid a background of suspense and mystery. And even if the main characters are well-known from the previous books, this can perfectly be read as a stand-alone book.

If you are looking for a brilliant, shocking, and twisty tale, that this one will most certainly blow your mind. If you have read the previous one in the series, you already know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, no worries, this is a perfect start.

****About the Author****

Jonathan Kellerman was born in New York City in 1949 and grew up in Los Angeles. He helped work his way through UCLA as an editorial cartoonist, columnist, editor and freelance musician. As a senior, at the age of 22, he won a Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award for fiction.

Like his fictional protagonist, Alex Delaware, Jonathan received at Ph.D. in psychology at the age of 24, with a specialty in the treatment of children. He served internships in clinical psychology and pediatric psychology at Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles and was a post-doctoral HEW Fellow in Psychology and Human Development at CHLA.

IN 1975, Jonathan was asked by the hospital to conduct research into the psychological effects of extreme isolation (plastic bubble units) on children with cancer, and to coordinate care for these kids and their families. The success of that venture led to the establishment, in 1977 of the Psychosocial Program, Division of Oncology, the first comprehensive approach to the emotional aspects of pediatric cancer anywhere in the world. Jonathan was asked to be founding director and, along with his team, published extensively in the area of behavioral medicine. Decades later, the program, under the tutelage of one of Jonathan’s former students, continues to break ground.

Jonathan’s first published book was a medical text, PSYCHOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF CHILDHOOD CANCER, 1980. One year later, came a book for parents, HELPING THE FEARFUL CHILD.

In 1985, Jonathan’s first novel, WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS, was published to enormous critical and commercial success and became a New York Times bestseller. BOUGH was also produced as a t.v. movie and won the Edgar Allan Poe and Anthony Boucher Awards for Best First Novel. Since then, Jonathan has published a best-selling crime novel every year, and occasionally, two a year. In addition, he has written and illustrated two books for children and a nonfiction volume on childhood violence, SAVAGE SPAWN (1999.) Though no longer active as a psychotherapist, he is a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Psychology at University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine.

Jonathan is married to bestselling novelist Faye Kellerman and they have four children.



2 comments

  1. Wow, 36 books! I remember reading a couple of Kellerman’s books about 15 years ago, but I don’t think my teenage brain could handle them. I’ve been meaning to get back into them, and it’s nice there are so many!

    Like

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