cover image Unnatural History: An Alex Delaware Mystery

Unnatural History: An Alex Delaware Mystery

Jonathan Kellerman. Ballantine, $28.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-52561861-4

Edgar winner Kellerman’s enjoyable 38th Alex Delaware mystery (after 2022’s City of the Dead) opens at a crime scene: the studio-cum-apartment of photographer Donny Klement, youngest son of elusive multibillionaire Victor Klement. At the time of his death, Donny was putting together a project called the Wishers, for which he had been photographing homeless people, whom he interviewed and then dressed in costumes that aligned with their dream selves, such as those of movie goddesses, Top Gun pilots, intrepid explorers, and ballerinas. Had it been one of these troubled souls who shot Donny in his bed and left him to bleed out? Or does the motive for his death lie in the greed and expectations of the dysfunctional Klement family? Alex, a child psychologist and consultant for the LAPD, and Det. Milo Sturgis discover several suspects with plausible motives, though the solution comes as a bit of a letdown. As usual, the main draw is not the action but the personal relationships. Kellerman, a trained psychologist, brings authenticity to his thoughtful protagonist, as well as a genuine touch of humanity to Alex’s friendship with Milo. This long-running series is still going strong. (Feb.)