Title: Bones (the 23rd Alex Delaware novel)
Author: Jonathan Kellerman
Publisher: ISIS Audio Books (this edition 2009)
Length: 11 hours
Narrator: Jeff Harding
Setting: Los Angeles, USA, present day
Genre: Police Procedural
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
My rating: 2/5
One-liner: A dull, predictable yarn that isn’t about bones at all. Or much else.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
The mutilated body of a young woman is discovered in a protected marsh area in Los Angeles. Veteran LAPD Detective Milo Sturgis is called in to assist a rookie Detective by the name of Moses Reed. Naturally Milo brings his friend, psychologist Alex Delaware, along for the ride. A few more bodies are uncovered and there are hints that a prominent local family might be involved in the grizzly deaths.I stopped reading this series somewhere around book 9 or 10 due to their repetitive nature. And I chose this one from my local library’s meagre selection of audio books on the grounds that …well…it’s a meagre selection of audio books. So I’m admitting up front that I was undoubtedly going to struggle to love this book, although I am ever the optimist. Sadly I found the story dull and lacking credibility and it’s another that I’d like to assign the one-word review: meh.
People killing other people for garden variety motives like jealousy or the prospect of a large inheritance isn’t enough for Kellerman. If the world was as populated by knife-wielding psychopaths as he’d have us believe I’d never leave the house. Of course this is fiction and it doesn’t have to be realistic but I think Kellerman constantly ascribing his murders to the most twisted of people (who of course aren’t like ‘us’) allows him to avoid exploring an actual human emotion within the context of his stories.
The plot is equally uninspiring. It’s convoluted (I’m convinced that he added one of the evil doers at the end and then inserted them randomly in the story already written) and has all the suspense of a tax return. This time there isn’t even a fabrication of a reason why child psychologist Alex Delaware is involved in the case. In the earlier books there was at least be a pretence of a reason: a client of Alex’s or the relative of one would be involved or the case would somehow relate to the mistreatment of children for example, but here it just seemed to be universally accepted that a private sector psychologist would be involved in every facet of an investigation.
In short the book was formulaic, the characters stereotypical and the brand-name laden writing was plodding. Kellerman can do much better, in a standalone novel called The Butcher’s Theatre he tells a gripping tale and tackles some weighty political and social issues in the Jerusalem setting even though it too features a serial killer, but perhaps he lacks the incentive now that he’s a brand name all of his own.