cover image City of the Dead: An Alex Delaware Novel

City of the Dead: An Alex Delaware Novel

Jonathan Kellerman. Ballantine, $28.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-525-61858-4

The death of a naked man, hit early one morning by a van near the UCLA campus, kicks off bestseller Kellerman's complex 37th Alex Delaware novel (after 2021's Serpentine). Neighborhood gossip and a few blood droplets lead the police to the home of Cordelia Gannett, whom they find stabbed to death. Delaware, a consulting psychologist for the LAPD, knows the woman from a child custody case two years earlier when she claimed to be a psychologist but was exposed as a charlatan. She recently had been selling herself on the web as a relationship expert. Delaware and his friend Lt. Milo Sturgis of the LAPD search for the identity of the nude victim and delve into Gannett's past, uncovering in the process a series of other crimes, including murder. As always, Kellerman provides fascinating insight into the motivations of his damaged characters, though the plot meanders a while before coming together. Series fans will enjoy spending time with Delaware and Sturgis, but this isn't the place to start for newcomers. (Feb.)