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Saturday, February 14, 2015


4 stars out of 5

Like the previous two books in the author's series featuring psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware - I believe this is the 30th - Motive falls a bit short of a 5-star rating in my book. Mostly, I attribute that to a few too many characters who seem to be included just for the heck of it (to throw readers off track, perhaps?) and an abrupt, somewhat unsatisfying ending. Ah yes, and one other thing: So many run-on sentences that I lost count in the first two chapters. I admit to being picky when it comes to grammar, but God made semicolons and dashes for a good reason.

But on the plus side, it's still Kellerman - and chalk up another better-than-decent one that brings together the good doctor, a consultant to the LAPD, and his good friend, police lieutenant Milo Sturgis. The latter calls Alex to help when a young woman is found murdered in her home. That murder is followed by the gunning down of a gorgeous and successful woman who's been in the process of divorcing her business partner husband for the past three years. 

The plot thickens when it appears that the killer may have set up fake dinners for two at the victims' homes after the fact, leading the investigators to a suspect who's a chef with a fiery temper (whoa, Nelly, what a concept!) who also dated one of the victims. New suspects pop up all over the place, from the chef to the ex-husband to the respective divorce attorneys, but solid evidence does not; perhaps that explains why the usual gruff but go-get-'em Sturgis seems to adopt an almost ho-hum attitude. Even his usually super-healthy appetite is a bit more subdued than usual.

Not the best I've read in the series (which includes every single one, as far as I know) but definitely worth a shot.

Motive: An Alex Delaware Novel by Jonathan Kellerman (Ballantine Books, February 2015); 353 pp.

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