Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Book review: Survival of the Fittest, by Jonathan Kellerman

Survival of the Fittest is a fast-paced, suspense-filled thriller. In this twelfth instalment of the Alex Delaware series, Jonathan Kellerman takes us on a chilling journey.

The story begins with a cold blooded murder in the Santa Monica Mountains. A young, slightly retarded school girl dies while attending a school field trip. There are no signs of a struggle or sexual assault. Her father is a diplomat, which leads the police to believe the death could be politically motivated but, the father doesn’t accept this.

Alex Delaware is a psychologist, as is the writer of his character. Dr Delaware is asked by his close friend Milo Sturgis, to assist him with the case. The unlikely pairing of Dr Delaware and the rather large, gay detective is once again rather amusing. One of the reasons I enjoy the Delaware series so much, is because of the close friendship and banter between these two characters. They remind me of an old married couple.

The victim’s father tries to control where the investigation is leading, which suggests to Alex and Milo that he may be trying to hide something. After another murder is discovered, Inspector Daniel Sharavi assists in the investigation. Daniel is an excellent Israeli police detective who was first introduced to us in an earlier book of Kellerman’s - The Butcher’s Theatre.

As the investigation progresses and the horrific reasons behind the killings begin to unfold, Alex must go undercover to expose a conspiracy and the people behind it. 

I found the title of this book interesting as it gave me an idea of what the content would be about. Survival of the Fittest is a natural process resulting in the evolution of organisms which can adapt best to their environment. However, as I dug deeper into the plot, I discovered how this idea could be misinterpreted to suit an individual’s beliefs.

Survival of the Fittest is a thrilling, thought-provoking, page-turner. I enjoyed the combination of humour, psychology, pure terror and fun. Quite an odd combination, but it works.  Most of all, this book made me consider and question belief systems. I have read several of Jonathan Kellerman’s books and I would say this is one of his better ones. The plot is well thought out and the characters believable. Although Survival of the Fittest is part of a series, it is not necessary to have read the previous instalments to enjoy this book. I believe Alex Delaware fans will not be disappointed.

Love KB

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