Published: March 29, 2011
Few know the city of Los Angeles the way #1 bestselling author and acclaimed suspense master Jonathan Kellerman does. His thrilling novels of psychological drama and criminal detection make the capital of dreams a living, breathing character in all its glamour and infamy. That storied history of fame, seduction, scandal, and murder looms large in Mystery, as Alex Delaware finds himself drawn into a twisting, shadowy whodunit that’s pure L.A. noir—and vintage Kellerman.
The closing of their favorite romantic rendezvous, the Fauborg Hotel in Beverly Hills, is a sad occasion for longtime patrons Alex Delaware and Robin Castagna. And gathering one last time with their fellow faithful habitués for cocktails in the gracious old venue makes for a bittersweet evening. But even more poignant is a striking young woman—alone and enigmatic among the revelers—waiting in vain in elegant attire and dark glasses that do nothing to conceal her melancholy. Alex can’t help wondering what her story is, and whether she’s connected to the silent, black-suited bodyguard lingering outside the hotel.
Two days later, Alex has even more to contemplate when police detective Milo Sturgis comes seeking his psychologist comrade’s insights about a grisly homicide. To Alex’s shock, the brutalized victim is the same beautiful woman whose lonely hours sipping champagne at the Fauborg may have been her last.
But with a mutilated body and no DNA match, she remains as mysterious in death as she seemed in life. And even when a tipster’s sordid revelation finally cracks the case open, the dark secrets that spill out could make Alex and Milo’s best efforts to close this horrific crime not just impossible but fatal.
Next to Harry Bosch, a character created by author Michael Connelly, Alex Delaware, is my favorite crime fiction character.
“The book’s title refers to one of the victim’s aliases. Unidentified for much of the book, she could be a princess or a porn star, or anything in between. An anonymous tip (another deus ex machina contribution to the novel) sends Alex and Lieutenant Milo Sturgis to a web service that sets up sugar daddies with young women (“sweeties”) looking for someone to take care of them. The trail leads to love nests, rehab centers, various houses, a car leasing agency, a clinic that tests for venereal diseases and a wealthy, dysfunctional family with a few skeletons in the closet, all providing more than a novel’s worth of potential suspects.
Though Milo shows up occasionally, usually in time for a huge meal, and there are the obligatory cameos by characters from Kellerman’s other series, much of the detecting in Mystery is done by Alex himself, and most of that using search engines. Milo’s impressive success rate for homicides grants him a certain amount of latitude, but his rank requires him to attend meetings that pull him away from the investigation. Alex has become his de facto partner, though his affiliation with the police is nebulous. That doesn’t stop him from stretching the truth, implying a much more formal arrangement. He uses this to pressure witnesses, suspects and even police department employees into violating confidences, while strictly maintaining his own.
When his long-time companion Robin volunteers to go on a stake out with him, Alex tells her she’ll be bored. That doesn’t discourage her—and her presence actually helps him with his cover—but it’s clear that she cramps his style. He’s a lone wolf who willingly throws himself into dangerous situations without any consideration for how that might impact others. He could probably do with a little time on the couch having his own psyche and motives analyzed. Though Alex and Robin briefly process what happens between them after they get home, it feels like a missed opportunity to develop their relationship.” by Bev Vincent, Onyx Reviews
I had the audio book and loved every minute of it.