City of the Dead (Alex Delaware: Book 37) by Jonathan Kellerman

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books

Date of Publication: February 8th 2022

Genre: Mystery, Crime, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Alex Delaware

When the Bough Breaks—Book 1

Blood Test—Book 2

Over the Edge—Book 3

Silent Partner—Book 4

Time Bomb—Book 5

Private Eyes—Book 6

Devil’s Waltz—Book 7

Bad Love—Book 8

Self-Defense—Book 9

The Web—Book 10

The Clinic—Book 11

Survival of the Fittest—Book 12

Monster—Book 13

Dr. Death—Book 14

Flesh and Blood—Book 15

The Murder Book—Book 16

A Cold Heart—Book 17

Therapy—Book 18

Rage—Book 19

Gone—Book 20

Obsession—Book 21

Compulsion—Book 22

Bones—Book 23

Evidence—Book 24

Deception—Book 25

Mystery—Book 26

Victims—Book 27

Guilt—Book 28

Killer—Book 29

Motive—Book 30

Breakdown—Book 31

Heartbreak Hotel—Book 32

Night Moves—Book 33

The Wedding Guest—Book 34

The Museum of Desire—Book 35

Serpentine—Book 36

City of the Dead—Book 37

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

The past comes back to haunt psychologist Alex Delaware and Detective Milo Sturgis when they investigate a grisly double homicide and uncover an even more unspeakable motive in this riveting thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense.

Los Angeles is a city of sunlight, celebrity, and possibility. The L.A. often experienced by Homicide Lt. Detective Milo Sturgis and psychologist Alex Delaware, is a city of the dead.

Early one morning, the two of them find themselves in a neighborhood of pretty houses, pretty cars, and pretty people. The scene they encounter is anything but. A naked young man lies dead in the street, the apparent victim of a collision with a moving van hurtling through suburbia in the darkness. But any thoughts of accidental death vanish when a blood trail leads to a nearby home.

Inside, a young woman lies butchered. The identity of the male victim and his role in the horror remain elusive, but that of the woman creates additional questions. And adding to the shock, Alex has met her while working a convoluted child custody case. Cordelia Gannett was a self-styled internet influencer who’d gotten into legal troubles by palming herself off as a psychologist. Even after promising to desist, she’s found a loophole and has continued her online career, aiming to amass clicks and ads by cyber-coaching and cyber-counseling people plagued with relationship issues.

But upon closer examination, Alex and Milo discover that her own relationships are troublesome, including a tortured family history and a dubious personal past. Has that come back to haunt her in the worst way? Is the mystery man out in the street collateral damage or will he turn out to be the key to solving a grisly double homicide? As the psychologist and the detective explore L.A.’s meanest streets, they peel back layer after layer of secrets and encounter a savage, psychologically twisted, almost unthinkable motive for violence and bloodshed.

This is classic Delaware: Alex, a man Milo has come to see as irreplaceable, at his most insightful and brilliant.


First Line:

Four fifty-three in the morning was too early for anything.

city of the dead by jonathan kellerman

When I got the email to review City of the Dead from the publisher, I decided to wait on it for a little bit. I have heard of Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series, and I might have read a couple of books from it (my memory is very fuzzy on that). But that wasn’t why I was iffy about reading this book. My main reason was that this is book 37 of that series, and I don’t particularly appreciate reading books out of order. I ultimately decided to read City of the Dead because I like books that combine psychology with criminal investigations. I prefer (as most people do) to read a series in order. That way, I get a feel for the characters (main and supporting). I am glad that I read it because it was an excellent book.

City of the Dead had an engaging storyline. A pair of movers, eager to deliver their load, is driving down a side street when they are hit by something. Thinking it was a dog, they pull over and discover that they were hit by a naked man who is dead and very unrecognizable. Alex is called to the scene to assess it from a psychologist’s point of view, and while he is there, it is discovered that the man was killed by the moving truck. Instead, a trail of blood leads to a house, where a more gruesome crime is. A young woman is found dead in her bedroom. Alex is shocked to realize that he knows this woman. She is known to him as an expert called into a custody case and exposed as a fraud. As Alex and his friend, Detective Milo, dig deeper into her murder case (and try to figure out who her naked friend was), the more convoluted the case gets. Who murdered Cordy? What was the motive?

City of the Dead is book 37 in the Alex Delaware series. Thankfully, readers can read this book as a stand-alone. I suggest that the reader at least read the blurbs or reviews of the previous 36 books. That way, you can get a good feel for the characters and any secondary characters in the book.

City of the Dead did have a medium-paced plotline. I was a little surprised by the pacing. I did think it was going to be a bit faster than it was. Any books that I have read that mix this genre has been faster. But weirdly, it did work for me. I was able to take some time, digest what the author was throwing at me, and try to form who killed Cordy.

I liked Alex. I think he was pretty chill for being involved in a murder investigation. But, he is on call for the police department, and he does get called to do this type of work all the time, so he could afford to be chill. I also liked how he handled his clients and soon-to-be clients. That one scene with the slimy lawyer cracked me up mainly because he hit the nail on the head with his assessment of him. Talk about a steel backbone with the parents and gentleness with the kids.

The author very well wrote the mystery angle of City of the Dead. The author did a great job of drawing me in from the beginning and making me work on who killed Cordy and her friend. I had thought I had it figured out around the middle of the book. Then, a twist made me go “WHAT” and drop that person from my internal list like a hot potato.

The author did a great job of keeping the plotline on course with the book. The secondary characters that the author introduced didn’t take over the book. A couple of times, the book referenced events that happened in previous books that made me go “huh?” but they were few and far between.

I loved the twist in the plotline. It threw me for a loop when I realized I was wrong about who the killer was. After the twist, the author leaked the why and how very slowly and built up to a memorable end. He was able to tie everything that happened in the book (the killings) and add a few extras that surprised me.

The end of City of the Dead did make me a little sad. Mainly because I did wonder about the child involved and how everything was going to affect her. Alex did give some excellent advice, but still. I still wonder. But, reading this book has also made me want to read the previous 36 books. I do plan on reading them at some point in my life.

I would recommend City of the Dead to anyone over 21. There are language, violence, and graphic murder scenes.

2 Comments

  1. Carla says:

    Great review Jolie. I have to get back to this series (I am at #20) so have lots to catch up on. I do like the sound of this one, so may read it without all the ones I missed.

    1. Jolie says:

      Thank you!!! I put the entire series on my TBR list…lol. Will I get to them? I hope so…lol.

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