Book review: The Murderer’s Daughter by Jonathan Kellerman

The darkest thrillers often come from the deepest minds…

By Pam Norfolk
Tuesday, 25th August 2015, 10:00 am
The Murderers Daughter by Jonathan Kellerman
The Murderers Daughter by Jonathan Kellerman

Take Jonathan Kellerman, a clinical psychologist who has used his professional expertise to pen a raft of hard-hitting and addictive thrillers which provide startling insights into human and criminal behaviour, and have made him one of the world’s most popular authors.

Best known for his LA ‘Crime Reader’ series, Kellerman takes a side turning from criminal psychologist Alex Delaware’s busy case load to bring us this gripping standalone thriller featuring the unforgettable Grace Blades, one of Delaware’s former students.

Packed with the ingenious, razor-sharp plotting, mesmerising mind games and nail-biting suspense that we have come to expect from Kellerman, The Murderer’s Daughter is a stunning page-turner with a truly fascinating femme fatale at its fast-beating heart.

Dedicated Los Angeles psychologist Grace Blades is sought out by those with troubled souls and tormented psyches. Much of her success comes from her own invisible scars. When she was just five years old, Grace witnessed her feckless parents’ deaths in a bloody murder-suicide at their filthy trailer park home.

Shuffled off to a series of foster homes, Grace quickly learned how to figure things out without asking anyone, took refuge in her fierce intellect and eventually found comfort in the loving couple who adopted her.

But even as an adult with an accomplished professional life, Grace still has a dark and secret side… she is ruled by an insatiable desire. At night, she pursues pleasure, ‘the nutrient of healing,’ by indulging in sexual trysts with strangers.

What Grace doesn’t expect is to find that her newest patient is one of her most recent anonymous erotic encounters. Haunted by his bleak past, mild-mannered Andrew Toner is desperate for Grace’s renowned expertise but the appointment is cut short by stunned shock on both sides.

Grace is tempted to explore his case, which seems to eerily echo her own grim early years, but the next morning a homicide detective appears on her doorstep to inform her that Toner has been stabbed to death.

Fearing that a police inquiry will expose her double life, Grace launches her own personal investigation. Before long, her harrowing past returns and she is engulfed in a decades old act of evil crying out to be avenged.

Grace must turn to her carefully nurtured talent for survival if she is to survive the chaos and madness that she thought she had fled long ago.

Written with the cool clarity, startling human insight and sheer exhilarating intelligence of a trained psychologist, The Murderer’s Daughter delivers an irresistible mystery fuelled by masterful characterisation and devilish plotting.

Grace, a tough, flawed but highly skilled psychologist haunted by demons from her destructive childhood, is an inspired and complex creation, treading fine lines between morality and immorality, and truth and lies, as she negotiates deadly dangers in both her past and present.

Exciting, brutal and brilliant… don’t miss it!

(Headline, hardback, £19.99)