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I've read quite a few of the Alex Delaware novels by Johathan Kellerman so when a friend lent me Gone I was eager to get reading it. In Gone we are much further down the road than the last book I read so I suspect I've missed a few and the dog called Spike that Alex and Robin had together from the start is now very old which made it a sad start to the book!
The main storyline though begins with an aspiring actress and her boyfriend staging their own abduction seemingly for attention and Alex is asked to talk to her in his role as a psychologist to try and establish why they did it. What happens next surprises them all when the actress is found murdered and this time it's for real. The boyfriend becomes the number one suspect but he's completely vanished so Alex and his cop friend Milo start to piece together bits of information to try and figure out who killed her and where the boyfriend has gone.
The acting school they both attended comes under suspicion and the body count starts to rise the further into the investigation Alex and Milo get.
I really like the Alex Delaware books because his character is so likeable and believable, his relationship with Milo has featured throughout and is like an old comfy pair of slippers that you put back on each time you read another book in the series. The two of them react to each other perfectly and keep the storyline moving along. I also love that Milo is gay but is not camp at all and is actually quite gruff, no stereotyping there which is great.
Alex also has a longstanding on-off relationship with a woman called Robin and she features in all of the books even if it's just through Alex's thoughts. The relationship between Alex and Robin is very complicated and often difficult to understand but again it works to add depth to Alex.
The storyline itself was a winding road of suspects and deaths and complicated twists and turns that make it impossible to know who the killer is until the last quarter of the book, which is when the author wants you to know "who dunnit". Another thing I like about Alex Delaware novels is the lack of the investigators getting kidnapped/trapped/attacked by the killer that is so commonplace in these kinds of books and utterly predictable. I'm not saying it's never happened but it isn't the norm for these novels which is a relief!
I wasn't sure how I'd find this book, when I read the back and it seemed to be about some young Hollywood starlets I wasn't convinced it would be up to the standard of the preious Alex Delaware novels but it is and you soon find the author takes us beyond the superficial surface of these wannabes to a deeper and darker place that holds the attention right to the end.
I also love the short chapters Jonathan Kellerman writes. A few thriller writers set their novels out like this and it works well within the thriller genre because it keeps the reader reading on and on and if you get to the point where you've got to go do something else you can just quickly read another chapter before you do!
Overall this was an excellent book, the identity of the killer isn't a huge surprise but sometimes I feel thriller writers over-complicate the issue and ruin that part of it anyway. It all flows brilliantly and I read the book in a day and a half because I couldn't put it down.
Recommended for all fans of thrillers Gone is available from Amazon for £5.49 new and from 1p used.
A Alex Delaware novel.