Top positive review
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Back on top form!
on 29 November 2002
After the hugely disappointing "Flesh and Blood", Kellerman is back on top form with his latest "The Murder Book".
One of the major criticisms of the last few Delaware novels is the fact that we didn't learn more about Alex and Milo - the plots need not have involved them at all. Kellerman tackles this with, for the first time, giving us a detailed description of Milo's earlier life and start in the police force. Things that have been alluded to in earlier books, for example his tour of Vietnam, are made concrete here. It's also interesting to find out that he gets annoyed at Alex sometimes!
Kellerman also changes the usual structure of the Delaware novels, much like he did in "Survival of the Fittest", to great effect. I would say that almost half the novel is told in the third person from Milo's point of view. This devices generates unbelievable suspense towards the end of the novel. Alfred Hitchcock said that if there are two people talking in a movie and a bomb explodes under the table, this is shock. But if the audience knows there is a bomb under the table before it goes off, this is suspense. With multiple viewpoints, we know that certain characters are in danger before they do - something that cannot be achieved when writing purely in the first person. The ending of this book is the most exciting of all the Delaware novels. It's also more violent than usual. On this note, no one describes the full horror and violence of people getting shot than Kellerman!
The book isn't perfect, hence the 4 stars - Alex's fight with Robin only really slows the pace down, and the story does take a bit to get going. But once it does, the multiple viewpoints, intricate plotting and sheer quality of the writing make "The Murder Book" one of the best Kellerman has written in years.