The sleuthing shrink returns for a 17th session.
This time out, psychotherapist Alex Delaware finds himself set against a serial killer who has serious issues with performers. The list of performers is generous, comprising a blues singer, a ballet dancer, a painter, a punk-rocker, a concert pianist, and a saxophone player. But where’s the tie that binds? Of course, all of them, even the painter, succeed only when they satisfy their audiences, but Alex (The Murder Book, 2002, etc.) suspects a deeper, sicker bond. Accompanied by cast regulars Milo Sturgis and Petra Connor of LAPD homicide—with Petra’s semi-mute new partner Eric Stahl as an added starter—Alex sets out to discover what the link among the late performers might be. Together they follow a corkscrew path to, then deep into, the twisted pathology of a ruthless killer who views murder as just a heightened kind of performance. Complicating Alex’s sleuthing, however, is the manifest need for some self-investigation. Without his having planned or in any way prepared for this complication, the number of fetching ladies in his life has risen to two. It’s a situation with a definite downside, since Alex finds to his dismay that if he can’t be near the charmer he loves, he loves the charmer he’s near.
Detective fiction’s best-loved shrink, handsome, intrepid, immeasurably sensitive, is in top form, even though the 400 pages of his latest case might have called for some shrinking themselves.