Alex Delaware is back! And in Jonathan Kellerman's riveting and ingenious new novel, Monster, he faces one of the most grisly and baffling mysteries of his career: How can a nonfunctional psychotic locked up in a supposedly secure institution for homicidal madmen predict brutal murders in the outside world? Delaware and his friend and partner Detective Milo Sturgis must penetrate this enigma in order to stop the horrific killings.
A marginal actor is found dead in a car trunk, sawn in half. Months later, a psychologist at a hospital for the criminally insane is discovered murdered and mutilated in a tantalizingly similar way. When reports of an inmate's incoherent ramblings begin to make frightening sense as predictions of yet more slayings, Delaware and Sturgis are drawn into a web of family secrets, vengeance, and manipulation--both inside the asylum and on the streets of L.A., where death, drugs, and sex are marketed as commodities. The climactic discovery they make as they race to prevent more killings gives fresh and terrifying meaning to the concept of monstrosity.
With Monster's incomparably deft characterizations and dazzlingly dark plot twists, Jonathan Kellerman further enhances his literary position as master of the psychological thriller.
Consulting psychologist Alex Delaware has a novel approach to crime-solving: he uses his training to unlock the secrets in the minds of the victims and jiggles the clues he finds there until the right scenario emerges. So when Alex's LAPD buddy Milo finds the hacked-up body of a woman psychologist named Claire Argent in an abandoned car trunk--the second such murder in eight months--Alex heads for her place of employment: the Starkweather State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.
One of Argent's patients at Starkweather is Ardis "Monster" Peake, imprisoned for the unbelievably brutal murders of his mother and the family she worked for, including a small child and a baby. There's at least one eerie similarity between the mutilation of their bodies and Argent's: in all the bodies, the eyes were taken or destroyed. But Peake, diagnosed as schizophrenic and psychotic, is a well-behaved vegetable due to a steady diet of Thorazine, and he hasn't left the hospital since his incarceration 15 years before. How is it, then, that Claire Argent's assistant, Heidi Ott, swears she heard Peake say, "Dr. A. Bad eyes in a box" soon after he hears only the bare fact of her death? And why does Alex find Peake so empathetic, in spite of his violent past and chillingly vacant mind? When other mutilated bodies turn up, Alex and Milo begin to suspect that the real monster is very much at large. Like Kellerman's 12 previous Alex Delaware mysteries, Monster builds to a big, teeth-clenching bang and ends with some very satisfying surprises. --Barrie Trinkle