Title: The Murderer’s Daughter by Jonathan Kellerman
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: 385 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
From the #1 New York Times bestselling creator of the acclaimed Alex Delaware series comes a tour de force standalone novel that illustrates perfectly why “Jonathan Kellerman has justly earned his reputation as a master of the psychological thriller” (People).
A brilliant, deeply dedicated psychologist, Grace Blades has a gift for treating troubled souls and tormented psyches—perhaps because she bears her own invisible scars: Only five years old when she witnessed her parents’ deaths in a bloody murder-suicide, Grace took refuge in her fierce intellect and found comfort in the loving couple who adopted her. But even as an adult with an accomplished professional life, Grace still has a dark, secret side. When her two worlds shockingly converge, Grace’s harrowing past returns with a vengeance.
Both Grace and her newest patient are stunned when they recognize each other from a recent encounter. Haunted by his bleak past, mild-mannered Andrew Toner is desperate for Grace’s renowned therapeutic expertise and more than willing to ignore their connection. And while Grace is tempted to explore his case, which seems to eerily echo her grim early years, she refuses—a decision she regrets when a homicide detective appears on her doorstep.
An evil she thought she’d outrun has reared its head again, but Grace fears that a police inquiry will expose her double life. Launching her own personal investigation leads her to a murderously manipulative foe, one whose warped craving for power forces Grace back into the chaos and madness she’d long ago fled.
The Murderer’s Daughter is a very intriguing mystery starring an intrepid psychologist turned sleuth. This latest release by Jonathan Kellerman is well written with an unique storyline but it is lead protagonist Grace Blade’s backstory that makes it such a riveting read.
Grace entered the foster care system after witnessing her parents’ murder/suicide when she was five years old. She bounced from home to home until her case worker, Wayne Knutsen, placed her with Ramona Stage, one of the few foster parents who cared actually cared about the children’s welfare. Through the help of her brother-in-law Malcolm, a psychology professor, Grace received a specialized education tailored to her genius level intelligence. For several years, things went smoothly for Grace until the arrival of three young children late one night. Although their stay was brief, their appearance irrevocably changed Grace’s life.
In the present, Grace is a successful psychologist who specializes in caring for patients whose lives have been altered by trauma. She is a survivor and she learned the hard way not to depend on anyone but herself. She is empathetic and caring with her patients, but in her personal life, she has no emotional attachments or relationships of any type. Grace is rather detached and unemotional but given her horrific background, it is understandable that she does not (or maybe cannot), truly connect with anyone.
Grace’s present collides with her long forgotten past after her newest client, Andrew Toner, is murdered. Andrew tracked her down through an obscure article she published years earlier and although he changes his mind about discussing his problems, Grace surmises one of his relatives is most likely a killer. When she realizes she has a distant connection to him, she begins her own investigation into his death. With very little outside help, Grace single-mindedly tracks down the evidence she needs to find his killer.
The Murder’s Daughter is a compelling but leisurely paced novel that seamlessly alternates between Grace’s investigation and her heartbreaking past. Grace is an interesting and complex character although it is sometimes difficult to like her. The storyline is quite clever and brilliantly executed. An outstanding mystery that old and new fans of Jonathan Kellerman do not want to miss.