Today’s New Title Tuesday is a classic mystery Heartbreak Hotel by the prolific author, Jonathan Kellerman. Normally, my introduction to a series would not be the 32nd, but Booklist was correct by saying it’s “Easy to dive into for mystery fans unfamiliar with the series, and a welcome treat for readers who have been with Officer Sturgis and Dr. Delaware since the beginning.”
Publisher Summary: #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Alex Delaware and LAPD detective 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.
At nearly one hundred years old, Thalia Mars is a far cry from the patients that child psychologist Alex Delaware normally treats. But the charming, witty woman convinces Alex to meet with her in a suite at the Aventura, a luxury hotel with a checkered history.
What Thalia wants from Alex are answers to unsettling questions—about guilt, patterns of criminal behavior, victim selection. When Alex asks the reason for her morbid fascination, Thalia promises to tell all during their next session. But when he shows up the following morning, he is met with silence: Thalia is dead in her room.
When questions arise about how Thalia perished, Alex and homicide detective Milo Sturgis must peel back the layers of a fascinating but elusive woman’s life and embark on one of the most baffling investigations either of them has ever experienced. For Thalia Mars is a victim like no other, an enigma who harbored nearly a century of secrets and whose life and death draw those around her into a vortex of violence.
Heartbreak Hotel is classic Delaware and classic Kellerman.
Initially, I picked up this mystery as pure entertainment and distraction – and it has definitely provided that. But, I was reminded that genre fiction is not always ‘canned’ or predictable. Kellerman sculpts unique characters (both from the victim’s past as well as present) and he also provides specific details that allow the reader to see and feel the setting and milieu. Kellerman’s craft in Heartbreak Hotel is in the brevity of scenes, providing only the necessary information to inform the characters and investigation.
Plus, the victim, Thalia Mars, is pure delight. Despite being nearly 100 years old and frail, she exudes humor, intelligence, and compassion. Thalia has that ‘thing’ that makes everyone love her.
For the Huffington Post review, Jackie K. Cooper wrote: “In Heartbreak Hotel, Jonathan Kellerman has created another compelling murder mystery. You get the insider’s view from Milo Sturgis’ vantage point, and the outsider’s view from Delaware’s. It is one of the best novels Kellerman has written in a couple of years and it renews your faith in his enduring talent.”
Although I started at the latest book in the series, I am curious to read more volumes and learn more about the history of Milo and Alex.
Happy Reading, Susan C.
Breakdown – When a well-known TV actress turns up dead without a scratch on her, psychologist sleuth Alex Delaware calls in police lieutenant Milo Sturgis to help him crack the case. When the body of a second actress turns up with the same mysterious cause of death, Delaware and Sturgis start to wonder – is this a copycat case or a coincidence?
Motive – LAPD police lieutenant Milo Sturgis agonizes over the crimes that don’t get solved. Victims like Katherine Hennepin, a young woman strangled and stabbed in her home. The only thing to do is move on to the next murder case. This time the victim is Ursula Corey: a successful, attractive divorcée who’s been gunned down–not a robbery but an execution, a crime that smacks of simple, savage revenge.
Guilt – 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.