City of the Dead
reviewed by Cara DiCostanzo
Los Angeles was the kind of place where everybody was from somewhere else and nobody really dropped anchor. It was a transient place. People drawn by the dream, people running from the nightmare. Twelve million people and all of them ready to make a break for it if necessary. Figuratively, literally, metaphorically — any way you want to look at it — everybody in L.A. keeps a bag packed. Just in case. –Michael Connelly
After having read 37 books in the Alex Delaware series by Jonathan Kellerman, Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis have become like old friends or like a comfortable cup of soup on a chilly day. I have been reading these books for decades and they just get better and better. While sometimes there is repetitiveness or back stories to repeat, I never mind because I am always happy to go on this journey again with them. Kellerman’s books are always fast-paced, with unique and colorful characters. The friendship between Milo and Alex is refreshing, and I have enjoyed their banter and jokes throughout the years. The City of the Dead is no exception.
Kellerman’s latest focuses on the murder of a self-help guru in her house and the unidentified naked man on the street in front, who is discovered first. The young man appears to have been hit and killed by a delivery truck, out on a morning delivery, but is discovered to have been murdered before and then thrown at the van. The victim, Cordelia Gannett, is someone Alex had met while working on a child custody case, where it was determined she had lied about her credentials. But who is the unidentified man, and where does he fit into her story? The story gets very dark from there and takes the reader on many twists and turns until the ending, which is shocking. I can usually figure out the culprit, but not this time. I was way off.
There is a large cast of characters in most books in the Alex Delaware series, including this one. One thing Kellerman is best at is weaving an enormous amount of characters to each other. And let’s not forget the third character in all of his books, which is Los Angeles. I have always felt in reading this series that each book is a love letter to the City of Angels. Another interesting thing that has developed over the years with this series is in the beginning, Milo was a closeted gay officer, but it is no longer a plot Point. I highly recommend City of The Dead as one of his best ones. Each book can be read as a stand-alone and they are always so much fun to read. Alex’s friendship with Milo but also his relationship with Robin is always enviable.