Week ending January 27, 2012
Kellerman, Jonathan. Victims: An Alex Delaware Novel. Ballantine. Feb. 2012. c.352p. ISBN 9780345505712. $28. F
Drawing from insights gained in his clinical work with mentally distressed children, Kellerman pulls the reader into a macabre case of ritualistic slaughter in his 27th Alex Delaware/Milo Sturgis title (following Mystery). After discovering two identically grisly murders, the investigative duo (Delaware is a psychologist, Sturgis an LAPD lieutenant) strive to connect the apparently unrelated victims. As the body count rises, names and experiences from Delaware’s clinical training begin to surface unexpectedly and the case becomes personal.
Verdict Kellerman’s bizarre yet plausible thriller will be a treat for his many fans, who will recognize and appreciate the emphasis upon psychological detail and insight instead of more customary sleuthing terminology. They will also enjoy the smooth repartee between Alex and Milo as they unearth mysterious clues with monstrous and unsettling implications. [Library marketing.]‚ Jerry P. Miller, Cambridge, MA
Rice, Anne. The Wolf Gift. Knopf. Feb. 2012. c.400p. ISBN 9780307595119. $25.95. F
When newspaper reporter Reuben is sent to do a piece on a mansion nestled on the Northern California coast, whose long-missing owner has been ruled dead, he gets caught up in a strange family saga that ultimately leaves him with the wolf gift. Using his new power of transformation into a hybrid human/lupine form, Reuben moves around San Francisco like a furry superhero helping those in mortal danger, while the cops hunting the Man Wolf grow ever more suspicious of him. Rice, whose last book, Of Love and Evil, was an underwhelming metaphysical thriller about angels, returns to the lushly evocative scenery and gothic atmosphere of her vampire novels with great success. She gives her werewolves a new set of rules (e.g., silver bullets have no power; DNA dries up and shrivels to nothing), and her reimagining (is a werewolf bite more of a blessing than a curse?) of a well-worn mythology is fresh and intriguing.
Verdict Fans of Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles and The Lives of the Mayfair Witches series should delight in this new saga delivered in the author’s distinctive style. Part creation story, part love story, and all excellent! [See Prepub Alert, 11/9/11.]‚ Amanda Scott, Cambridge Springs P.L., PA
Robotham, Michael. Bleed for Me. Mulholland: Little, Brown. Mar. 2012. c.432p. ISBN 9780316126380. $25.99. F
When 14-year-old Sienna appears at the O’Loughlin home covered in blood, it’s only a short time before her father’s stabbed body is discovered on her bedroom floor. The girl is completely traumatized, but as she is his daughter’s best friend, Joe O’Loughlin tries to save her from murder charges. A clinical psychologist who has worked with the police, Joe understands that many people are not what they seem. He also must confront his own imminent divorce and his ongoing Parkinson’s disease. With the help of Vincent Ruiz, a retired cop, he relentlessly pursues a manipulative teacher, an anti-immigrant neo-Nazi politician, and his own innocence in the face of assault charges.
Verdict Robotham’s decade as an investigative journalist and another as a ghost writer for celebrities serve him well, as he embeds a keen sense of detail into a twisty and fast-moving plot. Both Joe, who knows rather too much about human behavior, and Vincent have appeared in most of Robotham’s six previous works (Shatter; Suspect), and their fans surely will look forward to another psychological thriller. [See Prepub Alert, 8/21/11.]‚ Roland Person, formerly with Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale