A young woman's body has been found in a marsh. Selena Bass, the victim, was a pianist who
gave lessons to a wealthy family's child prodigy son. The case is given to Homicide Detective Milo Sturgis,
who calls in his friend Dr. Alex Delaware - a psychologist who consults for the police. The circumstances indicate that his expertise may be needed: Selena's body
has been left on display in the marsh, and the killer has called and left her location. More chilling, her right hand has been severed.
Does this tie in to her profession as a pianist?
As the case progresses, complications arise. Three additional bodies are found in the marsh, all
with severed right hands. The victims have been buried facing east, the older bodies all women who worked the streets as prostitutes. The investigators go to talk with the wealthy family who employed Selena, only to find that they have gone overseas. They are left with only a
strange, reclusive caretaker and the family's grown daughter, who doesn't live with the family and has only tangential information. More bad news
unfolds when the marsh's caretaker, who found the first body, is himself killed in the preserve. Soon other bodies are found, and the story gets more complex. The events seem to go back for many years, and each individual's history must be discovered and integrated with the others.
Fans of Alex Delaware will be thrilled with Kellerman's 23rd book in the series. I've been a fan for years, and this one is a master effort.
Readers who've never read any of the series, however, will also find it intriguing. It's not necessary to know the background of the other books; Bones is more than capable as a stand-alone thriller. Kellerman uses his background as a clinical psychologist to make all the characters lifelike and believable. Series characters change over time, as they would in real life. The evil that man is capable of is outlined, the work of a detective carefully followed. New characters are introduced
here, and I hope to meet some of them again in later books. It will be a sad day indeed when there are no more books in the Alex Delaware series. This
installment is highly recommended for mystery readers.