It’s been maybe 15 years since I last read one of Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware novels, of which “The Museum of Desire” is the 34th. They were a staple of my adolescence, alongside James Patterson’s Alex Cross series. There was no discernible reason why I stopped. Some characters live with you forever — Harry Bosch, Jack Reacher, Joe Pickett, Matthew Scudder, etc — and others you leave behind.
A scintillating premise gives way to a slightly pedestrian procedural in “The Museum of Desire,” when LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis ropes psychologist Alex Delaware into a case involving a bizarre massacre. In a stretch limousine parked outside an abandoned mansion in Bel Air are four corpses — strangers — each killed in a different manner, and posed grotesquely.
The novel is an endless cycle of interviews and interrogations, as Milo and Alex doggedly maze their way through lies, misremembrances and manipulations to get to the truth. It’s enhanced by sharp dialogue, distinct characters and taut exposition, but despite the depravity of the crime, its unravelling feels prosaic. Artfully placed red herrings and a gripping pace will keep you engrossed, and Kellerman’s gifts as a writer will have you quickly turning the pages, but when it’s over, it’s out of sight, out of mind.
Number Of Pages: 368
Published: 4th February 2020
Publisher: Ballantine Books