GUILT by Jonathan Kellerman

GUILT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The only clue to a buried baby’s identity is a vintage Duesenberg.

The new owners of the fixer-upper Victorian in LA’s posh Cheviot Hills area are appalled when a storm reveals an old metal hospital box containing the skeleton of a dead baby in their yard. The LAPD’s Milo Sturgis, who catches the case, drags along his pal, consulting psychologist Alex Delaware (Victims, 2012, etc.). Tracking down former house tenants turns up a pediatric nurse often visited late at night by someone driving a rare Duesenberg, whose ownership leads to a late doctor with severe war wounds who may have provided abortions back in the days before Roe v. Wade. The case is further complicated when another baby, more recently buried, is found in a nearby park with a woman, possibly its mother, lying dead nearby. Would a serial killer space his crimes over 50 years apart? Would he even have the appetite for murder so many years later? The new infant’s bones have been picked clean by flesh-eating beetles, then coated with beeswax. The woman turns out to be a missing nanny whose last job was for superstars Prema Moon and Donny Rader, now sequestered on their vast estate with their four adopted kids. The couple’s marriage is a sham, their estate manager turns up with a bullet in his head, and another of their nannies has also departed without notice. After Alex tails Prema, she decides that she’ll pay $300 for a 45-minute session with him, and that lets loose a three-hankie tale of marital woe that ends with Milo and a forensic crew surrounding the film stars’ living complex.

Too slick, too generous with coincidences and too cute by far. One pet pooch in particular is so endearing she ought to be in a Disney movie.

Pub Date: Feb. 12th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-345-50573-6
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2013




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