MYSTERY

Serpentine

Ballantine. (Alex Delaware, Bk. 36). Feb. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9780525618553. $28.99. THRILLER
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Homicide detective Milo Sturgis has a healthy disrespect for authority, so he is not the darling of the Los Angeles Police Department, but his ability to solve tough crimes allows him a fair amount of autonomy. He is assigned a 36-year-old cold case that has come through political channels. Ellie Barker, a wealthy businesswoman, wants to know what happened to her mother. She supposedly died in an automobile accident on Mulholland Drive, but it may not have been accidental. Enter Alex Delaware, clinical psychologist, and friend of Milo. He often assists with complicated cases that have psychological implications. With little to go on, the two look for case documents and coroner’s reports, encountering blank and/or missing files. They interview detectives who worked on the case in the past with no success. As they continue digging, they find links to other crimes that add up to suspicious coincidences.
VERDICT Readers will keep turning the pages to fit the pieces of the puzzle together in this twisty, complex “Alex Delaware” title (after The Museum of Desire). Delaware and Sturgis are always smart and entertaining, and, with a bit of assistance from Blanche the French bulldog and Robin, Alex’s significant other, they will follow the serpentine path to a surprising solution.

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