Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Gone, by Jonathan Kellerman

I got this book on tape from the library. It's on 7 tapes and is 11 hours and 46 minutes long, and read by John Rubenstein.

Gone is the 23rd novel that features Dr. Alex Delaware, a child psychologist who periodically does some work for the police. This work usually involves helping a police detective solve grisly serial murders. The detective that gets paired with Delaware is Milo Sturgis, a rumpled, dumpy, cynical cop who is an outsider at his department because he is gay and out of the closet. He is also the best written character in these books. Sturgis is all business, with his sexuality only being a part of his personal landscape.

In this story, a series of disappearances is linked to an acting workshop led by ditzy heiress. She has two brothers. one of whom is the "responsible one" who handles the family estate, while the other is borderline retarded. The family's rental properties are cleaned by another man who has a history of being a peeping tom, and everyone who lives near him keeps their kids away from him.

Kellerman's strength is his characters. The stories are hit and miss. This one is typical of his work, so it is fairly predictable. If all his characters were as well done as Sturgis, it would be easier to forgive him. Alex Delaware serves a necessary purpose, but he has never caught on with me. The women in his life are superfluous. He has been apart from his usual love interest, Robin, who is a fairly two-dimensional hottie. I was disappointed to see that she was back, and that she has had custody of Alex's dog, Spike. I mean, what kind of man lets a woman dump him AND take his dog??

John Rubenstein's narration and the pleasure of Milo Sturgis' company are all that save this from being a real dud. But it still gets only 2 stars.

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