Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Murderer's Daughter by Jonathan Kellerman

Grace Blades has not had an easy life.  She started out as the only child of violent drug addicts who either ignored her or beat her.  When she was five, she witnessed their grisly murder-suicide, leaving her orphaned and an immediate candidate for the foster care system.  She bounced around from house to house, interacting as little as possible and being ignored at most of them since she was quiet and no trouble.  Grace's saving characteristic was her intelligence.  She scored in the genius ranks and attracted the attention of mentors as she got older.  Grace ended up being a psychologist and her specialty is working with those impacted by violence.

One day she gets a huge shock.  She has a new patient and when he walks in, she realizes that she has met him before.  They were both at a foster home together.  He hints about his reasons for seeking treatment and they fall into Grace's specialty but neither of them are comfortable and he leaves without committing to continuing.  Grace learns the next day that he was killed after he left her office.

Soon it is obvious that Grace is being followed and someone seems to have her in their sights.  She believes the only way to save herself is to find out what happened to her patient and if it related to the time they spent together as children.  As she races against time to discover his secrets, she starts to uncover a vicious killer's trail.

This novel is a departure from Kellerman's usual mystery novels that focus on Dr. Alex Delaware and his police friend Milo.  Grace is a less sympathetic character than Delaware but the reader feels that they can get further into Grace's mind and motivations, increasing the interest in her mystery.  It will be interesting to see if this is just a standalone for Kellerman or if he plans to develop Grace as character in other novels.  This book is recommended for readers of mystery novels.

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