Fans of Jonathan Kellerman have come to expect a certain kind of mystery, and they have rarely been disappointed. Kellerman novels are more cerebral than your average serial mystery and always have a plot that makes you think. They also offer the same reliable characters — Alex Delaware as the psychologist who gets his violence fix by consulting with the LAPD on cases, Milo Sturgis as the gruff, gay detective who never seems to be ruffled and, until recently, Delaware’s gorgeous girlfriend Robin, the musical instrument repairwoman who always tried to keep Alex out of trouble. Recently, Robin has given way to new girlfriend Allison, also a psychologist, but not much else has changed.
In Kellerman’s latest book, Therapy, Delaware gets involved with one of Milo’s cases that focuses on a couple in their early 20s who are murdered in a car while apparently making out. As the two begin investigating the case, they find out that the dead boy, Gavin Quick, had recently been brain-damaged in a car accident and that no one even knows who the woman with him was. Gavin was being treated by famous radio psychologist Mary Lou Koppel, a woman whom neither Delaware nor Allison particularly care for. Mary Lou dodges their questions about Gavin, then ends up murdered herself. Are the two murders connected? Will Delaware and Milo be able to figure out how before they end up on the killer’s radar?
Not much new ground is covered when it comes to the characters in Therapy. Delaware is still the cool-headed doctor who always has a one-liner prepared, Sturgis remains the overweight detective with a lack of style, and Allison continues to fill her recently established role of understanding girlfriend with an insatiable sex drive. It would have been nice to have delved a little deeper into one of these characters, but it just doesn’t happen here.
The plot, like always, is extremely convoluted with numerous characters and plenty of twists and turns. Unfortunately, there a few too many characters and twists and turns in this one, making it a bit unwieldy and slightly confusing (especially if you aren’t giving it your full attention) to get through. When the killer is finally revealed, the resolution seems far removed from original mystery.
If you’re a fan of Kellerman, you’ll enjoy this novel as it is right in line with his other novels. However, if you’re looking for a little something new out of this prolific writer, you’ll be disappointed.