Review: Compulsion, by Jonathan Kellerman

Ms. Bookish’s Quick Take: Jonathan Kellerman is one of my favorite authors; I really like his protagonist, Alex Delaware. I know the Delaware novels are a “series” but each book is very much a stand-alone novel, and Compulsion, like all the Delaware novels, doesn’t disappoint. While the plot and story doesn’t set it above the other novels in the series, that’s really not a negative, as most of the Alex Delaware novels I’ve read have that intensity and grab-you effect that I like in a crime thriller. Which is to say, you’re not going to go wrong with Compulsion. It’s highly readable, like all its predecessors. See below for the full review.

From the back cover:

A tipsy young woman seeking aid on a desolate highway disappears into the inky black night. A retired schoolteacher is stabbed to death in broad daylight. Two women are butchered after closing time in a small-town beauty parlor. The curious fact that all their killers drove luxury vehicles, coupled with a baffling lack of any apparent motive, is enough to warrant the attention of LAPD detective Milo Sturgis and his frequent collaborator on the crime beat, psychologist Alex Delaware.

What begins with a solitary bloodstain in a stolen sedan quickly spiders outward in odd and unexpected directions, leading Delaware and Sturgis from the well-heeled center of L.A. society to its desperate edgesety to its desperate edges – on the trail of a killer who proves to be a fleeting shapeshifter, defying identification, leaving behind dazed witnesses and death – and compelling Alex and Milo to confront the tru eface of murderous madness.


The Full Review of Compulsion

I have been a long-time Alex Delaware fan (and hence, a Jonathan Kellerman fan). I’ve gone through all of Delaware’s personal trials and tribulations with his girlfriend Robin, too. I even liked Robin’s replacement (and I can’t actually remember her name as I write this). In Compulsion, Robin is back. Which is good, because that makes Alex happy, and I’m happy when Alex is happy. Really. I am.

Compulsion follows along the lines of what I would call “classic” Kellerman: the plot is richly complex, the secondary characters are compelling, and it’s easy to shelf your disbelief and dive head first into the novel.

Both Alex and Milo are the same as ever – and funnily enough, while I do find myself getting tired of Delaware’s relationship tribulations (of which there are none in Compulsion, since he’s now back with his real love, Robin), Milo Sturgis is an engrossing character and it never bothers me when the story line dips into his personal life.

The who-dunnit caught me by surprise (or maybe I wasn’t reading it as an astute reader, but as a happily beguiled reader). This, of course, added to the satisfaction of the whole reading experience for me.

In addition to the satisfying main plot, the novel includes a subplot involving a 16-year-old missing persons case. This, too, gets resolved handily and with credibiliity. And with crime thrillers and mysteries, satisfactory endings are the thing, aren’t they? Compulsion definitely delivers on that end, too. All in all, it’s Recommended. Ms. Bookish’s Rating: A-: Enjoyable Read ?