Review: The Murderer’s Daughter by Jonathan Kellerman

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Way back when, I read several of Kellerman’s Alex Delaware stories. And I loved them. Still, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up this one. I was not disappointed.

Grace Blades had about as hard of a childhood as one can have and live to tell the tale. Unwanted from the beginning, and pretty much unloved all along, she was left to fend for herself while her mom and dad partied away. Then the unthinkable happens when her mom and dad die. But in a way, this is her salvation. This is her opportunity to escape the life she’s had and maybe have a shot at a better one.

As she weaves her way through the foster care system, she encounters a different kind of nightmare. She survives, though, and comes out stronger than anyone could ever have predicted. A loner by choice, she’s a highly successful psychologist treating people who’ve experienced traumatic events.

She also harbors a naughty little secret side that nobody would ever guess exists. And it’s this naughty side that brings her in contact with someone from her childhood that she’d rather forget. And then he’s murdered. Being the strong person she is, of course she can’t just sit by and wait for the police to solve the crime.

This is a great thriller. There’s a nice little shoutout to Alex Delaware in the plot that will please fans of his series. Grace is a great leading character, even though she’s far from perfect. My only complaint is that the ending of the story was a bit too wordy and drawn-out. Not enough to to keep me from recommending it, though!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Murderer’s Daughter

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Review – What Was She Thinking? By Zoe Heller.

13258You know you have a talented author when she/he manages to portray two characters, one a seemingly nice, practical and helpful, the other, flighty, a bit naive, and a sex offender, with the former actually coming off in a worse light! Zoe Heller is one of these authors.

Now, I had actually seen the movie adaptation of this book (Notes on a Scandal, starring Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench) before I read the book, so I kind of knew what I was getting into. This is actually one of those rare occasions when I thought the movie was on equal, if not better, footing with the book! Even though I knew how the story played out, it was still very unsettling to read it.

The basic premise follows Sheba Hart, a new teacher at a tough city school. Sheba meets Barbara, a colleague of hers, and they begin a close friendship. However, Sheba has a secret, and with Barbara desperate for a new close friend, will she manipulate this secret and woman in order to get what she wants? Of course there is way more to this story line, but saying much more will spoil it for some readers.

This book is really a story about human flaws and how easy we can fall into certain traps; the frailty of our desires, be they physical or emotional, is explored extensively throughout the book. What we might judge as immoral, soon gets turned on its head with a different perspective and we are left wondering what is indeed wrong and right. Heller does a brilliant job with these characters – both are believable, multi-faceted and act as a great sound board for each other, and indeed the reader.

If you want to read a book that will question what you feel about people, society, and yourself, then I highly recommend this book. It will engage you, leave you feeling repulsed, fascinated, confused, and frustrated.

Notes on a Scandal: What Was She Thinking?: A Novel
Pegasus.