cover image The Murderer’s Daughter

The Murderer’s Daughter

Jonathan Kellerman. Ballantine, $28 (384p) ISBN 978-0-345-54531-2

Many readers will struggle to sympathize with Grace Blades, the protagonist of this standalone with an improbable plot from bestseller Kellerman (Motive), after a flashback opening that shows five-year-old Grace living in a trailer park, neglected by her parents, and forced at a young age to forage. Grace overcame those horrific circumstances and is now, at 34, a highly regarded psychotherapist in L.A. Even though she’s independently wealthy, Grace doesn’t accept insurance or allow her patients to pay on a sliding scale. She has a reckless side, which she indulges in one-night flings with strangers. To her shock, one of those hookups becomes a new patient, Andrew Toner, who traveled from out of state to see her. Soon afterward, he’s found murdered, and Grace turns sleuth after figuring out that he was using an alias. Readers should be prepared for some florid prose (“the ocean to the west a series of gray-cresting waves on black satin, the mountains to the east an endless chocolate bar”). [em](Aug.) [/em]