Thursday, September 23, 2010

Deception

by Jonathan Kellerman
March, 2010
Ballantine Books


Deception is the 25th Alex Delaware novel.  It involves a suspicious death of a teacher, an exclusive prep school, a multitude of suspects and the requisite interfering political establishment.  Front and center in this book  (and the last several) is Milo Sturgis, the LAPD homicide investigator and friend of Alex Delaware, the child psychologist.  As a mystery this is an entertaining enough story if a bit formulaic.  The potential subjects are introduced slowly and the case is developed at a good pace.  Kellerman continues to provide a sense of place in his descriptive writing about southern California - people are always jumping into the car to drive somewhere.  The writing is a bit choppy with short chapters.  The characterizations seem to have become a little flat.  Milo's love of food has crossed over into a glutinous approach to the refrigerator every time he enters Delaware's house.  I also was disappointed in the ending for me it had an out of nowhere feel to it.

I think Kellerman has lost his touch with this series.  What used to distinguish his Alex Delaware novels was the psychological component.  Plots were complex and dark (When The Bough Breaks) and some times down right scary (Blood Test).  Villains came out of the work that Delaware did in his private practice treating damaged children.  Delaware would have the lead in crime solving and only occasionally bring in Milo Sturgis when police participation was needed.  All that has changed now and the series has turned into a pretty standard police procedural with Sturgis in the lead and Delaware along for the ride as a quasi police partner.  I am giving this a 3 out 5 rating because it is an acceptable but unexciting police procedural. 

4 comments:

cj'alhafiz said...

Never heard bout this author. Thanks for sharing your POV bout the book. Well, it's such a disappointment when an author lost his touch...right?

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Autumn said...

I've stopped getting excited over Jonathan Kellerman because of the things you mentioned. They're too formulaic now and they don't stand out from any other police procedural anymore. I still love Alex and Milo, but after 25 books, there's not much left there anymore I don't think.

Autumn
From the TBR Pile

Carole said...

I agree that JK has lost his magic touch. The dialogue in this one seemed particularly simple- I found myself wondering if JK really wrote it. I kept reading his books, because I once liked his stories so much, but this one may have to be my last.

Kathy said...

Cj nice blog!!

Autumn, I think I've stuck with Kellerman too long, hope springs eternal, still looking for the old Alex and Milo.

Carole, if you look at the reviews on Amazon lots of folks question if JK wrote this book.