Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Evidence, by Jonathan Kellerman

It's been a slow reading 10 days--despite the fact that I've been reading mysteries, which usually go quickly.

At any rate, Evidence is Jonathan Kellerman's 24th book in the Alex Delaware series. Since Alex is a child psychologist, the early books in the series involved cases in which the victims or the perpetrators were psychologically damaged children; Milo Sturgis, case-closer extraordinaire, called in Alex on these cases because of his special insight into child psychology.

Somewhere along the line--perhaps in this book, perhaps in an earlier one (without my noticing)--Milo stopped needing any pretext for calling Alex and just involves him when he feels like it. The interrelated cases that are at the heart of Evidence--a double murder in an abandoned mansion owned by a Southeast Asian sultan, the burning of that same mansion a few days later, the shooting of a former crime scene investigator, the disappearance of a Swiss woman who was dating the sultan's brother--do not involve children or particularly complex psychopathologies. Alex is just along to provide the narration--and the mystery is much less engaging for it.

Kellerman here offers multiple-page passages recounting Milo's interrogation of various suspects. While Milo was always a good detective, I don't remember this focus on his interrogation techniques in earlier books (the scenes feel Closer-inspired). And we get none of the tension around Alex's personal life that marked earlier works.

All in all, a disappointment.

Favorite passage:
Post-industrial humanity is a criminal biomechanical disruption of the natural order.

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