Review

Evidence: An Alex Delaware Novel

by Jonathan Kellerman

EVIDENCE, Jonathan Kellerman’s latest book, is subtitled
“An Alex Delaware Novel,” but this branding is not
quite accurate. Psychologist Delaware is certainly a presence
throughout, and the first-person narration that tells the tale is
in Delaware’s voice. But the real focus of the novel is on
LAPD Homicide Detective Milo Sturgis, who doggedly pursues a
solution to a mysterious double homicide.

From the very beginning, there is nothing ordinary about
EVIDENCE. The story commences with the discovery of two bodies in a
half-finished house, which, even in its incomplete state, is a
monument to ostentatiousness. The corpses are in carnal embrace,
the man shot and the woman strangled. The identity of the female is
unknown, but the male is Desmond E. Backer, a principal with a
local architectural firm that has recently gone belly up. Backer,
as it turns out, is quite the ladies’ man, having dipped his
pen in the company ink (among other places). Sturgis has no lack
for suspects, as one of Backer’s jealous lovers or one of
their spouses possibly could have had the motivation to commit the
dastardly deed. But the “who” isn’t the only
intriguing aspect of this case for Sturgis; he is also puzzled by
the fact that the house where Backer and his ill-fortuned friend
were found has sat unfinished for two years and that the identity
of the owner seems to be a state secret.

With the always observant Delaware in tow, Sturgis begins making
inquiries, slowly and methodically working his way through a
labyrinth of connections that seem to lead to the rumored
disappearance of another woman who no one seems to know. Sturgis is
a determined investigator, but, as we learn through
Delaware’s intense and detailed narrative, the interrogation
is where the detective really shines. In EVIDENCE, he does so on
two occasions while following a trail that leads overseas and back,
to a private air hanger, and, ultimately, all too close to
home.

The plot and its two primary characters are more than enough
reward for the time and money invested in experiencing
Kellerman’s latest work. However, the real star remains the
city and environs of Los Angeles, which provides a never-ending
wellspring for his stories. Kellerman introduces an important and
unforgettable character, waiting until the last quarter of the
novel to do so, and the gentleman almost steals the entire book in
just a few paragraphs. And let’s not forget the Los Angeles
culinary experience in the Delaware/Sturgis series. Sturgis is a
foodie of sorts; the tour of Los Angeles eateries continues here,
making one ask the question: when might we look forward to the Milo
Sturgis Dining Guide? Whether that volume ever comes into existence
or not, there is much to love and enjoy in EVIDENCE, which
satisfies and makes one yearn for more.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 21, 2011

Evidence: An Alex Delaware Novel
by Jonathan Kellerman

  • Publication Date: February 23, 2010
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 0345495195
  • ISBN-13: 9780345495198