Exactly What We Expect…The Unexpected – Guilt by Johnathan Kellerman

BLURB: The #1 New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman’s “psychology skills and dark imagination are a potent literary mix” (Los Angeles Times), and this intensely thrilling blend has never been so powerful as in the acclaimed author’s new novel of murder and madness among the beautiful dreamers, seductive predators, and doomed innocents adrift in the glare of Southern California’s eternal sunshine.
A series of horrifying events occur in quick succession in the same upscale L.A. neighborhood. A backyard renovation unearths an infant’s body, buried sixty years ago. And soon thereafter in a nearby park, another disturbingly bizarre discovery is made not far from the body of a young woman shot in the head. Helping LAPD homicide detective Milo Sturgis to link these eerie incidents is brilliant psychologist Alex Delaware. But even the good doctor’s vast experience with matters both clinical and criminal might not be enough to cut down to the bone of this chilling case—and draw out the disturbing truth.
Backtracking six decades into the past stirs up tales of a beautiful nurse with a mystery lover, a handsome, wealthy doctor who seems too good to be true, and a hospital with a notorious reputation—all of them long gone, along with any records of a newborn, and destined for anonymity. But the specter of fame rears its head when the case unexpectedly twists in the direction of the highest echelons of celebrity privilege. Entering this sheltered world, Alex little imagines the macabre layer just below the surface—a decadent quagmire of unholy rituals and grisly sacrifice.
Before their work is done, Alex and Milo, “the most original whodunit duo since Watson and Holmes” (Forbes), must confront a fanatically deranged mind of such monstrous cunning that even the most depraved madman would shudder.
My Rating: 3.75 stars
Reason it isn’t closer to 5: It isn’t something I would re-read. I felt it lacked the twists and turns and deply layered psychological plot that many of his best novels do.

If you’ve been a longtime fan of Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware novels like I am, you’re likely thrilled that the 28th novel in the series, Guilt, has arrived! Guilt opens on a young mother-to-be reveling in the purchase of her first home. The scene is heavily laced with emotion and really spoke to me, dredging up all the memories of buying our house, having our children, and marital disagreements and then, in true suspenseful style, as soon as comfort sets in, Kellerman ripped the band-aid off. The young mother discovers the bones of an infant in her backyard.

Milo and Alex take up the case, and for the first half of the novel the reader is tantalized with the utter lack of information. With few clues to go on and more bodies appearing, the truly grotesque is in the imagination while Alex and Milo snatch at theories and not much else, trying to imagine just what exactly is going on.

One of the most enjoyable and rewarding factors of Guilt was getting a glimpse into Alex’s childhood, keeping with the theme of children. I loved getting to know more about him, and I hope this trend continues for future books. Robin and Blanche make several appearances as well, and I have to say I hope to see them take their relationship to the next level. They are so good together.

Each of Kellerman’s characters became a unique entity, with distinct voices and their own parts to play in the drama of the case, and we quickly see that not each of the involved parties are who they appear to be. From nannies to celebrities, most have secrets and it seems even Alex himself has a few secrets. The fun of it is sorting the secrets and lies from the truths and the reader will get to do that right along with Alex.

Guilt isn’t quite as fast paced as many of Kellerman’s books are, but it is sure to delight longtime fans of the series. However if you are new to Alex Delaware, this book stands on its own well enough that you’ll be just fine jumping right in. If you like James Patterson’s Alex Cross, be sure to check out the other crime-solving Alex–Kellerman’s Alex Delaware. You won’t feel guilty for it.