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Customer reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
14
3.9 out of 5 stars


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.
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on 8 December 2002
Those of you familiar with Jonathon Kellerman's Delaware series will find something a little different in this latest novel. With Robin leaving to go on tour (effectively imposing a trial separation on Alex), "The Murder Book" finds Delaware in a more contemplative mood, certainly more aware of his own failings than we've seen him before. For once Alex is not presented as the everyman hero, but instead as the civilian addicted to danger, with scant regard for the emotional and physical dangers that are the inevitable consequence for both himself and those around him.
Kellerman also take an opportunity to delve more deeply into Milo's past - and his present, including several chapters in which Delware is absent, written in the third person. We learn more about the prejudice and bigotry that Milo faced in his early years as a homicide detective, and far more about his relationships with Rick Silverman and Alex Delaware than we've ever seen before. Rick and Milo even have some scenes alone together - finally adding some flesh to the bones of characters and relationships that have been merely wallpaper for the past 15 novels.
The main storyline concerns the usual mysterious murder, and the mind games played by all involved. This is classic Kellerman country, with twists and turns, danger and dénouements a plenty.
Personally, I found the change in style and content a refreshing change - a little reward for having stuck with these guys for so long.
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on 6 December 2002
This is Kellerman on good form. Alex Delaware receives a book of photos from various crime scenes. When he shows the book to his cop pal Milo Sturgis, he learns that one of the pictures was of one of Milo's earliest cases and it remains unsolved. The two then embark on a quest to learn more about where the Murder Book came from and ultimately to solve the crime.
As always with Kellerman there is a good meaty plot with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing until the end. However, what made this book especially good was that Milo gets a bigger role than usual. We learn more about him and we get to see some of the story from his point of view. Unusually we even get a glimpse of his home life. Milo is a brilliant character - he just leaps off the page. Being honest, he is the only reason I read Kellerman and so this book was a delight.
I'm already looking forward to the next book.
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on 26 March 2003
Alex Delaware, psychologist and consultant to the LAPD, has just taken his longtime girlfriend, Robin, to Paris to try to repair past ills. Instead of falling back in love with him, she's gone off on an extended music tour. He's alone in Los Angeles when the official blue album shows up at his door, filled with hideous and seemingly unrelated crime scene shots and titled "The Murder Book." He promptly calls his friend Milo Sturgis, an LAPD detective. Turns out one of the victims in the book, a badly mutilated teenage girl, was Milo's first unsolved homicide -- a homicide he might have closed if he hadn't been mysteriously shut down from within his own department. The two men's determination to discover who sent the book quickly grows into a need to resolve once and for all an atrocity that has been closely guarded by the rich and powerful for over twenty years.
If half of THE MURDER BOOK wasn't written from Milo's third-person perspective, it would have bombed badly. As it is, this novel just barely scrapes along on four stars. Yes, THE MURDER BOOK reads like vintage Kellerman, but that's not neccessarily a good thing. How many times can Alex search for information by web or phone? How many times can he take witnesses out to lunch in places painfully well described? How many times can he uncover a vast conspiracy that involves a confusing number of characters and is never quite plausible? How many times can he nearly get killed in the process? True, supposedly now we have some tension between Robin and Alex, but Robin wasn't solid to begin with and I can't say I missed her. What I did miss was any attempt on Alex's part to truly mend the relationship. But then, he's a series detective, what did I expect?
In this, the 16th installment in the series, Alex's thought patterns put me to sleep and only Kellerman's overuse of the phrase-not-sentence technique jarred me back awake. Except in Milo's chapters. Those were great. He's mysterious, persistent, a tad grouchy, big hearted -- I was very happy in his company. I almost wished the whole book had been his.
THE MURDER BOOK in short? Alex, move over. Milo's here.
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on 14 July 2003
The Murder Book, by Jonathan Kellerman is a psychological, murder thriller. It is the sixteenth supplement to the Alex Delaware collection and promises to provide just as many thrills and twists as its predecessors.
The theme itself focuses on ghastly murders, intricate plot lines with plentiful rogues, some of them in the force, various red herrings, an abundance of violence and a morally misty resolution, all beginning with a photo album of murder victims sent to Delaware incognito.
Kellerman takes an interesting perspective of the journey taken by Delaware and his best friend, Detective Milo Sturgis, a homosexual working in the depths of a homophobic division. There are several underlying storylines, including Delaware’s fickle relationship with his girlfriend and a possible new love interest for the next in the series, in the form of a female lawyer. The main plot and all sub-plots are well conveyed with an intermittent style of writing and an emphasis on setting the scene, particularly characters and their personas.
All together, The Murder Book is an enjoyable, gripping account of the latest adventure taken on by the psychologist and his closest ally, making good use of corruption in the force and the lack of tolerance to gays apparently still present today to beef up the content.
An excellent read with truly endearing characters and more spirit than a swanky cocktail bar.
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on 6 July 2003
An excellent book to begin with, the narrative is well told, and you feel empathy with the characters. As the book climbs towards it's climax, however, things take a sudden turn for the worse. As all good authors know, you start your book with the climax, and work backwards, so that everything falls into place. (In your mind, not in the actual book!) The author has failed to do this here, as a result what could have been an excellent book is reduced to a shelf-filler. Obviously I don't want to ruin the book by going into too much detail, suffice to say he has no idea what to do with the suspects, so he 'removes' them!
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on 7 September 2003
As a fan of Jonathan Kellerman's previous books, I eagerly grabbed this from the shelf to add to my holiday reading. The beginning of the story is quite intriguing, the mysterious 'Murder Book' with its grisly pictures is obviously more than just a collection of horrific crime photos. BUT.... on reading further the plot gets more and more convoluted. I honestly tried hard to keep up with all the new characters and their relationships, but I became frustrated and eventually bored. Where was this all leading? The construction seemed fragmented and confused. But I soldiered on. The book ended with an explanation of who, how, when & why but then I didn't really care anymore. A shame, as I have thoroughly enjoyed Kellerman's other books. I'm glad the previous reviewers enjoyed the book but for me it just wasn't up to his usual standard. Could do better next time!
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VINE VOICEon 28 November 2003
This is a good book (as usual) from Kellerman. The twist of using the police blue folder proceedure for the Murder Book that forms the title is a nice touch.
It is a little confusing at first with the flashes back to Milo's early career and the links to an unsolved crime from that time but you soon pick up the thread.
Milo's early partner is so horrid - he makes your skin crawl from the minute you meet him. Just try and find a redeeming feature!
The story unfolds slowly but you are hooked and feel a need to keep reading. If you like Kellerman you will love this
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on 21 December 2007
One of the better of the more recent entries in the series. The plot works well and the ancillary characters are interesting. I particularly enjoyed Milo's back-story which dovetails nicely with the denouement, which is exciting, if a little too explicatory. My only other criticism is that Robin has become an encumbrance rather than an enhancement and I hope (no spoilers here!) she disappears forever, leaving Alex to get on with what he does best, which is to provide Milo with all the good clues, with perhaps the odd dalliance with a delectable floozy thrown in. Sexist! I hear you say ... Don't muddy the waters, I say.
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on 18 July 2003
The Murder Book is classic Kellerman which keeps the hairs on the back of your neck standing up. The ideas he comes up with are fantastic and the twists and turns that he leads you through are unpredictable. Brilliant read.
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