Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Alex Delaware is back in Jonathan Kellerman's newest novel, Compulsion. He and Milo are hot on the case again. This time they are trying to solve a mystery that starts with a stolen Bentley...a stolen Bentley with blood on the seat. However, there is no body and no suspects. Their detecting starts to uncover strange clues that take Alex all the way to New York City.

That's the main storyline of the plot. However, for some reason, Kellerman includes two very minor subplots. First, there is a death row inmate in Texas claiming to have killed a young man in California whose murder has remained unsolved for sixteen years. Milo is assigned the task of investigating whether his accusations are true or just an attempt to put off his death sentence. This storyline doesn't intersect with the first storyline except for the fact that Milo is investigating both of the cases. Kellerman would switch back to this case every once in awhile and I would have to remember who these characters were.

An even smaller subplot dealt with Robin and a contract she received to make four instruments for a dot com millionaire. This subplot was so insignificant I can only surmise that Kellerman was reaching for a way to include Robin in the book. It was almost as if he wrote the book without her and then said, "whoops, I forgot Robin; where can I squeeze her in?"

Both of the subplots made the novel a bit awkward overall. I think it would have been a much stronger book had Kellerman simply focused on the main plot and forgot the other two subplots. Maybe they could have been developed for their own books at some time, but they didn't seem to fit here. While there was a lot of potential in the plot, this Alex/Milo caper didn't live up to some of the others Kellerman has penned.

As always, I LOVED Milo. His sarcasm is absolutely wonderful. I love how he will respond when Alex throws a theory out. Milo makes the theory sound incredibly off the wall. Some of his quips would make great newspaper headlines. I would be ecstatic if Kellerman wrote a novel with Milo as the main character, and told it in first person from his perspective. I find Milo to be an extremely dynamic, fun character. Alex, on the other hand, tends to be a bit on the flat side.

Petra Conner was not in this novel. She was out of the country on vacation. She was missed.

John Rubenstein returned to read the audio version of this book. I think he does an excellent job with the Alex Delaware/Milo Sturgis novels. And this one was no exception.

Overall, it was enjoyable to listen to on my way to and from work, but it wouldn't rank among my favorites of Kellerman's work.


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