The Wedding Guest (Alex Delaware Series #34)

The Wedding Guest (Alex Delaware Series #34)

by Jonathan Kellerman

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525618508
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/05/2019
Series: Alex Delaware Series , #34
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 41
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Jonathan Kellerman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than forty crime novels, including the Alex Delaware series, The Butcher’s Theater, Billy Straight, The Conspiracy Club, Twisted, True Detectives, and The Murderer’s Daughter. With his wife, bestselling novelist Faye Kellerman, he co-authored Double Homicide and Capital Crimes. With his son, bestselling novelist Jesse Kellerman, he co-authored A Measure of Darkness, Crime Scene, The Golem of Hollywood, and The Golem of Paris. He is also the author of two children’s books and numerous nonfiction works, including Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children and With Strings Attached: The Art and Beauty of Vintage Guitars. He has won the Goldwyn, Edgar, and Anthony awards and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association, and has been nominated for a Shamus Award. Jonathan and Faye Kellerman live in California, New Mexico, and New York.

Hometown:

Beverly Hills, California

Date of Birth:

August 9, 1949

Place of Birth:

New York, New York

Education:

B.A. in psychology, University of California-Los Angeles; Ph.D., University of Southern California, 1974

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

No Regrets.

Stupid name for a signature cocktail. Brears had found the recipe online, this tequila-Baileys thing. Seven shots plus the deejay speeding everything up plus the pink wine Leanza had drunk before the ceremony were killing her bladder.

When she got to the ladies’ room, a line trailed out into the hall. Pathetic little ladies’ room, like two stalls, because of what the venue had been before.

She took her place at the back. Her bladder felt like it was gonna explode.

No Regrets. As if.

Last week at the bachelorette in Vegas, Brears was all about regrets. After ten shots of her signature bachelorette cocktail, this rum and some sweet orange thing with bubbles in it. The week before there was a signature bridal shower cocktail, champagne and grapefruit soda and a toothpick with a little plastic bride on top.

Everything had to be “bespoke” for Brears, since she’d learned the word, she couldn’t stop using it.

Once her mom or dad died there’d probably be a signature funeral cocktail.

At the bachelorette, Brears was throwing back shots faster than anyone while doing a man-spread on the sofa in the suite and letting out artisan shrimp pizza burps that smelled like the bottom of a fish tank.

Then she started talking, looking like she was gonna cry.

Plenty of regrets about Garrett, what the eff am I doing?

Everyone telling her what a great guy he was, she was doing the right thing.

Brears drinks, burps, looks like she’s falling asleep but she isn’t. Coupla more shots, she’s all I love Garrett so so so so much.

I think.

Then she did cry.

But right then the hot-boy strippers came prancing in like ponies. Fireman / cop / cowboy / pool boy. Stripped naked in seconds.

Brears had no regrets about them.

Leanza was sure Garrett, who really was nice but kind of smart-dumb pathetic, had no clue. His signature cocktail wasn’t. Some kind of pale ale made from oats? That is not a cocktail.

Leanza’s stomach pressed down and moved around weird. Like she’d swallowed a rat and it was chewing on her bladder.

The line hadn’t budged since she got there.

Two old women, had to be friends of Brears’s or Garrett’s parents, got in line behind her and started talking about what a lovely affair it was. Considering the venue. Did you know? Giggle giggle.

Old bitches shouldn’t giggle, they sounded like maniac squirrels.

Maybe that was the problem with the ladies’ room, some grandma not able to get the plumbing going . . . then oh, shit, there was Mom, barely able to walk, her boobs hanging out as she wobbled toward the line and Leanza knew she’d want to have one of those girl-to-girl talks that proved to Mom she was still young . . . oh, God, she was going to explode.

Then she remembered.

Upstairs, where she and the other bridesmaids had sat in a crowded room and did their hair and makeup—all by themselves, you’d think Brears would share her stylists but no—upstairs there was also a bathroom. Leanza hadn’t used it but Teysa had, Leanza remembered because Teysa came back with the bottom of her dress all flipped up in back and Leanza had joked you look like you just took it in the backside and Teysa had laughed and Leanza had fixed her.

Problem was, the stairs were all the way on the other side of the building. Probably some office space for when it used to be a strip joint. Could she make it back there without totally exploding?

Would she get up there and then find someone else had figured it out first and then she’d have to come back here and go to the end of the line?

The only other choice was sneaking out into the back alley and squatting and just doing it. Some dude saw her, his lucky day, the way she felt, she could care less.

But the alley was even farther than upstairs and to get there she’d have to run all the way around the building and then out back.

No way, it was either stay where it wasn’t moving or make a break for the stairs. And in a second Mom would see her.

Muttering, “Eff it,” she ran.

The old ladies behind her said something rude.

Eff them, they were lucky they weren’t getting sprayed.

Barely able to move her legs without leaking, Leanza climbed the shaky, creaky, dirty-looking stairs. What a dump, Brears’s idea of creative.

Holding her breath and fighting to maintain control, she finally made it to the top and saw the door up ahead and to the right marked Employees Only.

No one waiting here, if she was lucky, no one inside. She charged the door.

Open! I am Warrior Princess!

Without bothering to close the door, she threw herself in.

Gross stinky place. No window, a gross stinky closet.

One urinal, one stall. Figures.

She yanked on the door of the stall, was already pulling down her pantyhose and her thong when she saw the girl.

Sitting on top of the lid of a closed toilet, her head dropped, dark hair falling to one side like a curtain. Dressed in a tight red dress and gold do-me sandals with heels as long and skinny as a lead pencil. Leanza hadn’t seen her at the ceremony or the dancing, didn’t recognize her, probably someone from Garrett’s side.

Leanza said, “Excuuuse me.”

The girl didn’t answer. Or move. Or do anything.

Stupid bitch. How many No Regrets had she tossed back?

Eff her, this was a toilet not an armchair, do your stoner thing somewhere else.

Leanza took hold of the girl’s bare arm.

Cold skin. Like not . . . human.

She said, “Hey!” really loud. Repeated it.

No answer.

Cupping the bottom of the girl’s chin—it was even colder than the arm—she lifted the drunk bitch’s face, ready to slap her awake.

Brown eyes as expressionless as plastic buttons stared back at her.

The girl’s face was a weird gray color.

So were her lips, gray with some blue around the edges, hanging loose, you could see some teeth. Dried drool trickled down both sides.

Then Leanza saw it: the circle around the girl’s neck. Like a horrible red choker necklace but this was no jewelry, this cut into the skin, red and gritty around the edges.

Leanza knew she was being stupid but her mouth said, “Hey, c’mon, wake up.”

She knew because she was the one who’d found her grandmother after the heart attack. Ten years old, a Sunday, walking into Grandma’s bedroom wanting to show her a drawing she’d made.

Bottle of ginger beer spilled onto the comforter. The same plastic-button eyes.

The same gray skin.

Gripped by nausea, Leanza backed away from the girl. In the process, she kicked the girl’s leg and the girl slid off the lid and down. Flopping as she continued to slide, her head making a weird thumpy noise as it hit the filthy floor.

Sliding toward Leanza.

Leanza scurried back.

Staring at the dead girl, she said, “Eff it,” and let her bladder do whatever it felt like.

CHAPTER 2

Sometimes Milo briefs me before a crime scene, sometimes he waits until I get there.

This time he sent me an email attachment along with an address on Corner Avenue in West L.A.

This is for context; get here asap if you can.

His call had come in at ten oh five p.m. By ten fifteen, I was dressed and ready to go. Robin was reading in bed. I kissed her, didn’t have to explain. Two minutes later, I was cruising south on Beverly Glen.

I turned west on Sunset, found the boulevard free and clear until a red light stopped me at Veteran near the northwestern edge of the U.’s campus. Activating my phone, I checked out the attachment.

E-vite. Gray lettering over a skin-rash-pink background.

The Thing: Brearely and Garrett are finally doing it!!!!!

Why You: Hey, they want you there!!!!!

The Place: The Aura

The Theme: Saints and Sinners

The Dress: Everyone needs to be hot!

I’d thrown on a navy turtleneck, jeans, and rubber-soled shoes that could tolerate bloodstains, wore my LAPD consultant badge on a chain. Dead bodies and the hubbub they attract call for unobtrusive, not hot.

I took Veteran south, drove through Westwood and into West L.A. Corner’s not far from the West L.A. station, a stubby, easily overlooked street that paper-cuts Pico Boulevard as it hugs the 405 overpass. The address put the scene north of Pico, on a freeway-deafened strip of abused asphalt. Street lighting was irregular, creating leopard-spot shadows.

I passed a scrap yard specializing in English cars, a plumbing supply warehouse, a few auto mechanics, and an unmarked warehouse before reaching the final building, just short of a chain-link dead end.

Two-story stucco rectangle painted dark, maybe black, no windows.

A crudely painted sign topped a slab metal door. Thunderbolts above assertive lettering. Marquee bulbs rimmed the sign. Some were still working.

THE AURA

Alley to the left, parking lot to the right, now yellow-taped. Fifty or so vehicles sat behind the tape. Behind them was a generator-fed trailer that chuffed. Open door, a cook in a white tunic: pop-up kitchen.

Outside the tape was a smaller grouping of wheels: Milo’s unmarked bronze Impala, a white Ford LTD that I recognized as Moe Reed’s current ride, another Ford, maroon, that I couldn’t identify, a gray Chevy.

Four detectives for this one. Plus the eight uniforms who’d arrived in a quartet of black-and-whites. Two of the squad cars were topped by clinking cherry bars.

Off to the right, the white vans, crime lab and coroner’s, a pair of ominous twins.

No coroner’s investigator car. Come and gone.

Easy identification or none at all.

Despite all the squad cars, the only uniform in sight rested her hip against the driver’s door of a blinking cruiser. Working her phone, looking serene.

As I walked toward her, she gave me a glance. Usually I get stopped and have to show I.D. She said, “Hey, Dr. Delaware.”

I’d seen her somewhere; the site of someone else’s misfortune.

I said, “Hi, Officer . . . Stanhope.”

Her phone screen was filled with kittens wearing funny hats. She clicked without self-consciousness. “Cute, huh? Around the back, Doc, it’s pretty crazy.”

Slowly spreading smile. “Guess that’s why you’re here.”

The remaining seven uniforms were walking among the parked cars, copying license plates. Milo watched the process from a rear metal door. His arms were crossed atop the swell of his gut. His height, his bulk, and the scowl on his face fit the image of club bouncer. His droopy brown suit, tragic tie the color of pesto sauce, once-white wash-’n’-wear shirt, and tan desert boots didn’t.

He lowered his arms. “Thanks for coming. Got a hundred people inside, a whole bunch of them boozed up. The plan is to settle them down, then Moe and Sean and Alicia Bogomil will try to get info. You get what I meant about context.”

“A wedding?” I said. “I do.”

He stared at me. Cracked up.

I said, “Interesting venue. Looks like a low-rent strip joint.”

“That’s ’cause it once was. Before that it was some kind of church.”

“Saints and Sinners.”

“Huh?”

“The wedding theme.”

“Doubtful that’s the reason, Alex. I’ve met the lovely couple, don’t see them as that abstract. C’mon, let me show you where the big sin happened.”

A building-wide passageway carpeted in tomato-red low-pile took us past an open space. Parquet dance floor centering round tables for ten. Paper plates and a single scrawny sunflower on each table.

To the left were a long buffet table, three portable bars, a photo booth, and a bank of videogames. Empty red plastic cups dotted the floor along with crumbs and stains. Plastic streamers drooped from the ceiling. Four polyethylene columns attempting to look like plaster segmented the walk space from the party space. The remnants of a strip joint evoking Caligula.

The tables in the main room were occupied by sober-faced people dressed for celebration. Most were in their thirties, a few were old enough to be the parents of thirty-year-olds. A rear stage held a deejay setup. Obstructing a clear view of the stage were three chrome stripper poles, one bedecked with plastic sunflowers on unlikely vines. Lacking music and dim lighting, the room had the sad, rancid feel of every after-hours club. A bit of conversational hum drifted toward us, unable to compete with a heavy, gray silence.

Detective Moe Reed, with the powerlifter’s build and youth of an actual bouncer, stood watch on a third of the tables. Detective Sean Binchy, tall, lanky, and baby-faced under ginger spiked hair, was in charge of the next group. Last was Alicia Bogomil, just turned forty, with gimlet eyes and knife-edged features. The ponytailed long hair I’d seen when I met her was replaced by a no-nonsense bun.

Milo and I had encountered Alicia when she worked private security at a hotel where a patient of mine had been murdered. She’d been a real cop in Albuquerque for seven years, moved to California for a romance that didn’t work out, was languishing when she helped us with info.

She’d mentioned joining LAPD to Milo. I had no idea there’d been follow-through. No reason for me to know; for nearly three months, there hadn’t been a murder where Milo felt I’d be useful.

As we passed the partygoers, a few looked up. The slumping posture and resigned eyes of passengers stranded in an airport.

I said, “How long ago did it happen?”

Milo said, “Victim was found at nine fifty, probably an hour before, give or take.” He glanced at the crowd. A couple of people looked over hopefully. As Milo continued to walk, their heads drooped.

“Meet my new alter ego: Officer Buzzkill.”

We continued to the end of the walkway, hooked left as if we were exiting through the front door, then he made another left and began trudging up a flight of grimy stairs.

I said, “Up to the VIP area?”

“Doesn’t look like it ever was one, nothing pimped-up about the second floor.”

“Maybe back in the day this place was a pioneer of income equality.”

He huffed and began climbing the stairs. At the top, a third left took us down a narrow, low-ceilinged hallway. Four doors, three of them closed.

A suited, gloved, and masked crime scene tech squatted near the open door. Beyond her was a small bathroom. Urinal and sink to the left, wooden stall straight ahead. The floor and walls were inlaid with yellowish tiles that had once been white.

Cramped, windowless space. A mélange of foul odors.

The stall door was propped open. A dark-haired young woman lay facing us on the floor. Late twenties to early thirties, wearing a blood-red, one-shoulder dress that had ridden up to mid-thigh. Pantyhose trailed up to what looked like red bicycle shorts.

She was diminished by death but still beautiful, with smooth skin and delicate features. Hints of cream in her skin where the terminal pallor hadn’t set in.

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The Wedding Guest (Alex Delaware Series #34) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Anonymous 13 days ago
Good start then got bogged down in tedious and seemingly pointless details. By the time i got to the who done it i was just glad the book was done. The characters seem to have outlived their interestingness, it may be time for new ones Mr. Kellerman....
Anonymous 1 days ago
I+just+couldn%27t+get+into+this+book+like+I+do+with+the+Alex+Delaware+series.++I+made+it+through%2C+but+I+was+glad+when+I+finished+it%2C+just+to+get+it+out+of+the+way.++Hope+his+next+book+is+better%2C+I+was+a+bit+disappointed+with+this+one.....
Anonymous 8 days ago
read only if you are a true fan.
Anonymous 9 days ago
Not as good as all his others. To many people to keep track of. Lost interest towards the middle but I did finish it. Disappointed.
Anonymous 17 hours ago
I enjoy seeing how the case unfolds and how the guys unravel the clues. Lots of names to keep up with though.
Anonymous 4 days ago
Excellent!
Anonymous 5 days ago
Did+the+killer+kill+the+girl+at+the+wedding++or+did+the+killer+have+the+guy+who+was+later++killed+do+it%3F+.+And+why++there%3F++And+why+did+the+building-guy+run+away%3F+With+his+dog+and+cat.+Read+this+book+and+you+may+or+may+not+find+the+answers.Things+are+left+hanging.%0A%0AI+love+his+books+but+this+one+was+...weak.+And+the+thing+with+Poland%3F+The+world+is+a+big+place.++%0A%0A
Anonymous 6 days ago
Jonathan Kellerman does it again he never disappoints. Alex and Milo have a lot of twists and turns you don’t see coming. Have read all 34 books and am already waiting for #35
Renwarsreads 6 days ago
This is the first Jonathan Kellerman book that I've read. I can tell that the Alex Delaware series is already well established. The characters are comfortable with each other and with the reader. Milo and Alex have a very relaxed friendship and work relationship. The suspects in this mysterious murder case are quite a bunch of interesting characters. Each is nuttier than the next. Following along with these two guys work together to solve this mystery, almost finishing each others sentences when they are talking through the evidence, was a fun ride!
JamieS 6 days ago
Had a hard York staying interested. I’m sure there is an audience who will love this book—just wasn’t me
Anonymous 7 days ago
This isn't the best entry in the series, but it was a worthwhile read. Alex is starting to become like a savant of evil people and their terrible actions, which is a little much sometimes, but the terrific details and descriptions of the characters and the LA setting keep you engrossed in the story. Kellerman started this series with a string of great mysteries, then began phoning it in somewhere in the middle, but seems to have mostly gotten his mojo back; the last few entries have been pretty good. Keep up the good work!
3no7 10 days ago
“The Wedding Guest” by Jonathan Kellerman is number thirty-four in the Alex Delaware series, but that should not discourage new readers. Even though I have read several other novels by Kellerman, I somehow missed the Alex Delaware series; however, I had no trouble following along. The book is structured as Delaware’s first person narrative, so it took a little while to discern the last names and exact roles of the participants, but the narrative was clear, cool, rational, and easy to follow. The book opens with a scene that is every woman’s nightmare. Bridesmaid Leanza is waiting in a very long line for the public bathroom at the wedding venue, a converted strip joint. Out of desperation, she runs upstairs to the bathroom near the wedding party’s dressing rooms. There she finds the unthinkable, a body. This was to have been the happiest day of her life for bride Brearely “Brears” Rapfogel and soon to be husband Garrett Burdette. “It’s terrible, worse than terrible, it’s it’s … tragic” LAPD consultant Dr. Alex, Delaware is called to the scene by Lieutenant Sturgis Milo. No one admits to knowing the victim, surprising since she was obviously dressed for the occasion in a designer gown and expertly coiffed black hair. “Hair falls that nicely, you’ve got a good cut.” The guests were mostly from the bride’s side, but were both the killer and the victim on the official guest list? Clues seem to be rare, but the CSI investigator finds what looks like a needle puncture. The plot is conversation driven and the dialogue is intelligent, plausible, and revealing. Readers get to know the various players through their conversational style and the little things that they let slip in the conversations. Readers investigate right with the team and learn where guests were, how they feel about what happened, and how they feel about everyone else and everything else. Pieces of the puzzle fall into place, gradually, but it is difficult to discern who is a victim and who is a co-conspirator, who is an innocent bystander and who is a murderous psychopath. When the final picture emerges, it is scary and frantic. Kellerman’s descriptions paint vibrant pictures of every participant: “Milo had on one of his fossilized gray suits , a white wash-’ n’-wear shirt, and a skinny brown tie. Respectable enough if you didn’t get too close.” “A small plain girl with dark eyes as animate as coffee beans and a husky, strangely flat voice that verged on electronically processed. She’d piled her ponytail into a careless top thatch. Errant brown hair frizzed like tungsten filament.” And every location: “An empty box from a West Hollywood baker and the crumbs that went with it littered his desktop. Ditto for a grease-splotched take-out carton from a pizza joint near the station. A mug filled with cold coffee sat perilously close to the edge.” “The Wedding Guest” can certainly be enjoyed as a stand-alone mystery with a perpetrator who will be a surprise. I received a review copy of “The Wedding Guest” from Jonathan Kellerman, Random House Ballantine Publishing, and NetGalley. The pace is slow but steady, and the main characters show companionship and a determination to solve the crime. Along the way, there is both humor and thoughtful analysis of the human behavior. It is appropriate for readers who have not read the previous thirty-three books, as well as fans of the series.
Anonymous 10 days ago
As others have said, got tedious. I missed having more banter between Milo and Alex like the previous books that made readers fall in love with these two. Too much written about the bride. I hope the next book can return the characters back to a story line that readers will love. If not, I may not be spending fourteen plus dollars anymore.
Anonymous 11 days ago
I+I+had+been+able+to+follow+the+huge+list+of+characters%2C+and+the+thoughts+and+revelations+of+the+%22good+guys%2C%22+I+might+have+understood+the+ending.+it+just+took+too+much+energy.
Dedee1 11 days ago
This was the first time I have read this author despite having seen his books on best seller lists. Apparently there are other books in this series but I had no problem following the characters as a stand alone. (It would probably have enhanced my reading experience but it's not a necessity.) The books is extremely detailed in police/ detective interview and procedures. I usually devour a book in a day or so, but this one took a little longer. It reads slow because of the detail ( and I didn't want to miss anything) but it is quite interesting and held my attention. No book report or discourse on plot or characters from me, the jacket cover and others have said it well. Suffice it to say it keeps you guessing right to the end and the characters are believable. I am stingy with giving 5 stars but this book is deserving! Many thanks to the author, NetGalley, and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed are my own.
Philomath_in_Phila 12 days ago
I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review. If you have never read any of Jonathan Kellerman's Alex Delaware series you need to do so immediately. The Wedding Guest is Kellerman's 34th Alex Delaware novel. It would definitely help with the backstory but you do not need to start at book 1, "When the Bough Breaks", to appreciate the story. Each novel is part of the series but can stand alone. Kellerman's Alex Delaware is a psychologist who helps Detective Milo Sturgis with difficult cases. As you can guess, having a psychologist as the main character gives the reader a hint that Kellerman's book are more than the ordinary cop vs bad guy type of book. You are almost guaranteed the story will be a psychological thriller. The Wedding Guest is no exception. Someone is murdered at a wedding reception. Were they invited? Did they crash? Do the bride and groom know them? Do any of the family members or guests know them? Why kill someone during the reception? The characters surrounding Alex and MIlo help round out the story and make them seem more human and approachable. They are not perfect. They make mistakes. They are a perfect team for working together to catch the bad guys.
dezzy33 13 days ago
In the middle of a wedding at a former strip club with a Saints and Sinners theme, a woman is found strangled in an out-of-the-way bathroom. Not one person at the intimate gathering claims to know her. Looking closer, she wasn’t just strangled - she has a needle puncture behind her head. No purse or identification is found anywhere near the body. Dr. Alex Delaware is called to the scene by his best friend Lt. Milo Sturgis to help investigate the crime. And there are plenty of things to consider – the seedy location, the obnoxious bride, the all-too-pure groom’s side. But Milo and Alex are on the case and sooner or later, they will find the truth. This is the 34th time we have watched Milo and Alex join forces to decipher clues and find the perpetrator. While one or two have not made it to my shelf, suffice it to say that the majority have been in my hands at one point in time. Having recently read #33, I enjoyed seeing Alicia Bogomil, the bored security guard/former New Mexico police officer from the previous novel now has a new job in Milo’s division. And of course, Moe Reed and Sean Binchy are back running surveillance and following Milo’s instructions. My favorite character continues to be Blanche, Alex and Robin’s Frenchie. Anyway, there’s a lot going on in this one – and Kellerman takes us for several random left turns that I wasn’t quite expecting. I really wanted this to be Brearely “Baby” Burdette’s fault, even indirectly. The woman was insufferable, I don’t care that her wedding was ruined. But, was it her fault…? This was another solid Delaware novel. Keep them coming!
TarynLee 14 days ago
Milo is called into investigate the death of a young woman, she was found dead in a restroom at a wedding reception by one of the bridesmaids. Milo calls in Alex for his help hoping that he might see something no one else does. While questioning the guests no one recognizes the young woman, so what was she doing there and why was she murdered? No identification was found on her which makes Milo and Alex's job much harder. How can you find a killer if you don't even know who the victim is? The two delve further into the background of the guests in hopes of making a connection with the victim. When they finally come up with an identity for the victim they are able to start making those connections. Follow along as they question suspects, come across new clues, and hunt for a killer. Kellerman knows how to write an exciting read that will keep you on edge throughout. He weaves an intricate web throughout his work that always makes it hard for you to put the book down. I always look forward to each new book and wonder what type of killer will grace the pages. I don't always figure out who the killer is but it's always fun trying.
Boysie 16 days ago
Great read.
LuvSnoop42 16 days ago
I have read Johnathan Kellerman for over 30 years so I can't even tell you how thrilled I was to receive an ARC!! A huge THANK YOU to NetGalley, Random House Publishing - Ballentine and Jonathan Kellerman for this opportunity to read and review! I loved this one! Fun premise and overall a fast-paced, good story Over the years, Mr. Kellerman has had his share of hits and misses (mostly hits), but this is a definite hit! Alex, Milo and Robin are like old friends.
MonnieR 17 days ago
Ah, what could be better than another get-together of two of my favorite characters - police consultant and psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware and his curmudgeonly but lovable cohort Milo Sturgis? In this one, their back-and-forths seemed more frequent and provided greater insights into their characters (and their relationship) than usual - for me, much appreciated. Besides that, Alex's long-time love and guitar-maker Robin landed a more featured role - still another plus. As the title suggests, this one begins with a wedding guest who didn't appear on the invitation list - not even as a plus one - and who for sure didn't get a great reception. In fact, she turns up dead; murdered with a combination of injected knockout drug and wire garrote reminiscent of a guitar string. No one can come up with an identity, and Milo calls Alex for help with the case. Fairly early on, it is learned that the somewhat unconventional venue used to be a seedy bar known for its equally seedy pole dancers, thus expanding the search beyond the rich and not-so-rich who enjoyed wedding guest-list status. Despite their denials of anything connected to the victim, the families of the bride and groom - and the bride and groom themselves - remain on the suspect list (some very near the top). That in turn leads Alex and Milo down a number of aisles, most of which don't lead to blissful solutions. Finally, a previous case comes to light that rings bells in harmony, lifting the veil under which the real killer has been hiding. And that brings me to the part that bothered me just a tiny bit. I can't be specific without spoiling things, but the ending seemed somehow disjointed - as if the usual suspects just weren't cutting it and a new ending was needed to deliver a more effective punch. That said, I enjoyed the book as a whole as always - Alex is in absolutely zero danger of dropping off my Top 10 list of all-time favorite book heroes. Given that this is the 34th in the series (all of which I've read), that's gotta be some kind of record. My undying gratitude goes to the publisher, via NetGalley, for the opportunity to read and review an advance copy.
Kuzlin 17 days ago
Once again, Detective Milo Sturgis has invited Dr. Alex Delaware to the scene of a murder, this time at a wedding reception with a theme of Saints and Sinners. But before they can determine the who and why of the murder, they first need to identify the victim. As with all the other stories in this series, there is a great rapport between Milo and Alex. I enjoy the repartee between the two men, as they bounce ideas off of each other. This story provided a good concept of police procedures necessary to identify the suspect and determine what in her past could have led to her murder. There were suspects and potential motives galore, before the final denouement. The reason for the 4 stars, is while Alex participated in Milo's thought process, I am not sure that his forensic psychology background truly helped in this context. But despite that, it was a good and detailed murder mystery, and I will definitely follow this series for future stories. Disclosure: I am voluntarily reviewing this book received through NetGalley, and all opinions expressed are my own.
Mightymom55 17 days ago
Absolutely love the Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis series. A quirky wedding in an off the wall venue, Sturgis and Delaware keep chipping away in a case with no real leads. With a little bit less action and slower pace than I am used to in this series, it still comes to a crashing end as they get their man.. Can’t wait for the next installment. Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC.
MegKen 17 days ago
This book is fantastic! I love the way Jonathan Kellerman writes. This is my first novel from him, so I look forward to reading more. This book took you on a fun journey. It's a mystery, but still has funny moments and you can definitely feel for the characters and the roles they play in the events of the book. I love the character he chose to tell the story. He could have written it from the detectives viewpoint, but instead had a secondary character be the main narrator. I feel that gives a different perspective to the reader. Highly recommend it!
Alfoster 17 days ago
I'm a huge fan of Kellerman and have read all his novels. I adore Alex and Milo and their quirky friendship and, of course, incredible working relationship! This one revolves around a murder at a wedding reception and yet, who is the woman as she was not an invited guest! Lots of suspects, so many red herrings that now I just stop trying to figure it out along the way as Kellerman always has a surprise at the end! You can't be anxious to finish his books as I guarantee you won't figure out who the murderer is. So just go along for the ride as he's an awesome writer with incredible attention to detail! Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!