|Published:||2013, Ballantine Books|
|No. of Pages:||421|
|Cover Price:||$9.99 US|
Alex Delaware, child psychologist, and Milo Sturgis, homicide detective, are back in Jonathan Kellerman’s Guilt. The story begins when Holly Ruche digs up a box in the backyard of her newly purchased home; the box contains the skeleton of a baby, and she immediately calls the police. An anthropologist determines that the bones are around 60 years old. A day later, the skeleton of a small infant is found in a park along with the murdered body of Adriana Betts, a straitlaced, religious nanny.
Milo is assigned to the Betts murder, and asks for Alex’s help since a child is involved. As the two probe into the life of Betts, they learn that she had impeccable references from her previous employers, but had recently left her last employer to help a friend who had gone to work for a famous movie star couple, Donny Rader and Prema Moon. Moon and Rader have several adopted children, and although young, are semi-retired. Rader has a reputation for womanizing, and has not been acting for years; Prema is more interested in raising her children than acting. They live on a huge estate and accept very few visitors; security is high around the complex, and it is next to impossible for Sturgis and Delaware to enter. The couple, referred to in the media as “Premadonny,” have hundreds of employees, and rarely leave the estate. Betts’ friend, it is discovered, has a criminal past, and is missing, but thought to be working on the estate as a nanny to the children.
As Alex and Milo investigate Betts’ murder, along with the mystery of the dead baby from the past, which may or may not be connected, they find themselves uncomfortable situations. Because of the importance of the famous couple, the investigation is difficult, and the higher ups in the police department are more worried about stepping on toes and negative media coverage than solving the murder. The investigation becomes dangerous as the story progresses, and the suspense is very real throughout.
Kellerman’s characters are likeable, and readers who follow the popular series, will enjoy this installment. It is, as are most of Kellerman’s books, a fast read, but it is well-written. Kellerman’s style is very reader-friendly, and his characters are believable – no comic book heroics or implausible scenarios. Sturgis and Delaware seem like real people and have personal experiences going on while trying to do their jobs; Robin, Alex’s live-in partner, is supportive of him and their relationship adds to the story. Certainly the series and this book are not destined for classic status, but the book is suspenseful, fun, and human. It is highly recommended for Alex Delaware fans, and also for thriller enthusiasts who are looking for a good read.
This book was purchased with personal funds and no promotion of the book was solicited by the author or publisher.
This book may be purchased at Amazon: Guilt: An Alex Delaware Novel