There’s plenty of food for thought in the new Alex Delaware thriller from bestselling US author Jonathan Kellerman.
As the bodies mount up in a series of Los Angeles murders, there is one disturbing clue that links them all… bizarre ‘last suppers’ carefully laid out on tables at the homes of the victims.
This is the 30th outing for police psychologist and crime reader Delaware and his trusty sidekick Lieutenant Milo Sturgis. They are the long-serving creations of trained clinical psychologist Kellerman, the mesmerising master of mind games and nail-biting suspense.
Famous for his intelligent, razor-sharp plotting and ability to home in on the criminal mind, Kellerman’s hard-hitting and addictive thrillers have won him a huge fan base.
Even with hundreds of closed cases under his belt, LAPD’s Lieutenant Sturgis can’t stop agonising over the crimes that don’t get solved, and the victims who go without justice.
They include Katherine Hennepin, a young bookkeeper who was found strangled and stabbed in her LA apartment just two months ago. On her kitchen table was an eerie dinner for two, all exquisitely stage managed by the killer. It belied her brutal end at the hands of someone who had clearly been ‘driven by a nuclear rage.’
A single suspect, the victim’s volatile chef boyfriend, had a solid alibi and enquiries led only to a dead end, one that even psychologist Delaware’s expert insight can’t explain.
Then another woman is murdered. This time the victim is Ursula Corey, a successful, attractive divorcee, gunned down in an execution that smacks of simple, savage revenge. Just as Alex and Milo think they are moving in on the killer, they discover another meal-for-two clue linking Ursula with the unsolved Hennepin murder.
The same taunting signature raises the spectre of a serial killer on a mission, a terrifying executioner whose perverted method can only be the manifestation of a manipulative and cunning madness...
Delaware and his cynical police partner certainly have their work cut out in a gripping and intriguing case which has more twists and turns than a snakes and ladders board.
As always, the police procedural is impeccably authentic, the scene-setting amazingly visual, the mind games dazzling and the plotting devilishly clever.
A master storyteller on tip-top form.
(Headline, hardback, £19.99)