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Heartbreak Hotel by Jonathan Kellerman
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Heartbreak Hotel is the thirty-second book in a series featuring child psycholigist Alex Delaware and his police investigator buddy Milo Sturgis. This novel starts with Alex being contacted by 99-year old Thalia Mars. Since he is a child psychologist he rarely takes on adults as clients, but Thalia hopes he can give her answers to unsettling questions about guilt and patterns of criminal behavior. When he arrives for their second meeting the next day, he discovers Thalia has been murdered.

I absolutely love the Alex Delaware/Milo Sturgis odd couple relationship that has remained fresh for over thirty years. This was a very well written mystery filled with plenty of suspense. Jonathan Kellerman has created another compelling murder mystery. I think it's one of the best novels he's has written in the last ten years. Even though it's the thirty-second book in a series, it can easily be read as a standalone novel. ( )
  Olivermagnus | Aug 9, 2017 |
His main people are getting a bit boring but story pretty good. Guessed too much to give it more stars ( )
  shazjhb | Apr 27, 2017 |
This is one of the better recent books in the Alex Delaware series. This isn't because of any change in the central characters, though we do get a slightly better grasp on how Alex interacts with the LAPD. Rather, it's because of an exceptionally interesting victim. Indeed, the progress of the "who done it" investigation unfolding in the novel is inextricably linked to an investigation of "who was the victim". Structurally, it's more satisfying than some other recent novels in the series, and that victim -- Thalia Mars -- is a high point. Also, some of the subsidiary characters seemed to me more fully developed than has been the case in some other novels in this story. So; better than most. But: Alex and Milo seem so tired. ( )
  annbury | Apr 18, 2017 |
Jonathan Kellerman can probably write great psychological mystery/thrillers in his sleep. Heck, he may have even written his latest, 'Heartbreak Hotel' in his sleep, for all I know. I don't care, I liked it anyway and I hope he keeps cranking them out.

Heartbreak Hotel begins with child psychologist Alex Delaware, making a 'housecall' to the motel home of a near-centenarian woman. She asks a few questions, piques his interest since she's well beyond the age of his typical patient, and promises to answer the questions he has about her at his next visit. Unfortunately, she turns up dead. What initially appeared to be a case of 'old age' death turns into a murder investigation due to the sharp eyes of an EMT on the scene. But who would kill a nearly 100 year old woman?

Longtime LAPD detective Milo Sturgis ends up on the case, with Delaware providing both first hand knowledge of the deceased as well as the psychological analysis he's given in the countless other novels starring these two characters in Kellerman's series. The Sturgis and Delaware combo is one of my favorite in this genre- Sturgis, the gay detective who breaks all the stereotypes: he's burly, dresses slovenly, gruff, tough, a world-class eater of sandwiches. And then there's Delaware, a pediatric specialist, urbane with a beautiful wife and a perfect life in the LA hills. They work together well, almost too well in that they tend to complete one another's sentences (more on this later).

To me, what differentiates this series is the methodology used to build the motive for the investigators and how they use their speculations to drive their analysis. In a lot of procedural mysteries, the cops tend to gather a bunch of 'evidence' and materials together and then try to discern a pattern or motive from it. This pairing goes in a different direction, trying to get into the perpetrator's head first, which then allows them to be a little more accurate and efficient with their investigatory work.

As with all books in this series, the writing is fine and enough of the characters is presented to allow a new reader to get a feel for what they're like. The current cast has been together for many books and, if you've followed the series you know them well. If Heartbreak Hotel is the first you've picked up though, you'll still enjoy the characters.

The plot is well-crafted and the team makes their way through the investigation, with Sturgis charging ahead and Delaware providing insight and support along the way. We do, indeed, discover who was evil enough to kill a 99 year old lady and although it may be who you suspected all along, the motive isn't clear until the conclusion. It's a good read that'll have you thinking along with the investigators the entire time.

The only complaint I have about Kellerman's writing is with the dialogue. Mostly, it's informative and the content is fine, but the way it's delivered is a bit too scripted. Granted, Sturgis and Delaware have worked together many times, but the way they communicate is very choreographed. With other characters, whether familiar or not, the dialogue is similarly handled. It looks good on the page and it reads fine, but I can't help thinking that there'd be many more stops and starts in the communication in real life. Not a huge problem for me, just a minor irritation.

Anyway, another winner to add to a long line of them for Mr. Kellerman! ( )
  gmmartz | Apr 17, 2017 |
Not much for the ending. It was ok. Struggled to get through it. It didn't grab my attention. ( )
  gail616 | Apr 16, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 034554143X, Hardcover)

Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis investigate the death of Alex’s most mysterious patient to date in the sensational new thriller from the master of suspense, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman.

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 15 Jun 2016 12:34:20 -0400)

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