Cover Image: Serpentine


Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

LAPD homicide lieutenant Milo Sturgis and psychologist Alex Delaware are the perfect pair to solve a complicated murder. In this case Milo has bern ordered to work on a 36 year old cold case.

A young woman's body was found in a car that drove off Mulholland Drive and exploded. Originally it was determined an accident but the coroner found a bullet in her head. Over the years this cold case has been passed from detective to detective . By the time Milo gets the case, all of the paperwork is missing. Using his and Alex's many contacts he finally has some leads to follow.

These books are always told from Alex's point of view. The theories bounced around between Milo and Alex are facinating, and never boring. The end is surprising but logical.

Was this review helpful?

Milo Sturgis is at the top of his profession as a homicide investigator in Los Angeles. As such, he is surprised and offended to be handed a loser case from top administration. A woman was killed over thirty years ago. Her car was found crashed and over a cliff, burnt with a body inside. But it was no accident. The woman inside had a bullet in her head. Over the years, several detectives had been assigned the case but with no witnesses or forensics, made little headway.

Sturgis calls his friend, Alex Delaware, a psychologist who helps him with his harder or stranger cases and this one qualifies. The case was assigned because someone with money and influence got to the right people in the department. Milo and Alex go to meet the woman and find that she is in her thirties and a millionaire after selling her sports clothing line. Ellie only knows that her mother deserted her and her stepfather when she was young, three or four. After that she never saw her again and her stepfather raised her until he was killed in a hiking accident.

The two men start to investigate. They soon find that another woman, around the same age as Ellie, is involved. When Ellie's mother left her stepfather, she ended up in L.A. living at the house with Vera's father. Vera's mother had died when she was ten and her father went a bit crazy afterwards. Although she was only ten, he soon had a harem of scantily clad blondes rotating through the house, staying for days or weeks. Ellie's mother was one of these women.

The pair discover that other women in the harem had disappeared over the years. Some became respectable matrons, marrying men of influence while others just disappeared, probably drifting on somewhere else. But there were too many deaths and coincidences to be natural. Can Milo and Alex solve the case after so many years?

This is the thirty-sixth novel in this series. Jonathan Kellerman hit on a winning formula when he created Milo and Alex and readers will not be disappointed in this latest one. The crime is fresh and the writing intriguing. As the case unfolds, it is in turns amazing yet logical that one fact leads to the next and the next until the mystery is unraveled. This book is recommended for mystery readers.

Was this review helpful?

Jonathan Kellerman is like a fine wine - his books get better and better. I have read everyone of his books and they are all good! His primary characters, Psychologist Alex Delaware and Detective Milo Sturgis make a great crime soling duo. Their relationship works because both have strengths that compliment each other. If you are searching for a great crime book (AND SERIES) to read, read this one and the entire Alex Delaware series.

Was this review helpful?

Ellie Barker, a millionaire hundreds of times over after selling her fitness apparel company, lost her mother thirty-six years ago to homicide when she was only three.

When Deputy Chief Veronique Martz assigns him the cold case and demands personal updates, LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis’s is vexed since his near-perfect solve rate has heretofore allowed him a great deal of independence.

As the fourth detective on what he views as a loser of a case, he’s sure he won’t get anywhere. Ellie’s mother, Dorothy Swoboda, was found with a bullet in her head in a burned out car that had tumbled off the infamously tortuous Mullholland Drive. The murder book is virtually nonexistent, and most of the police who have worked on the case are now dead.

Still, Milo and psychologist Alex Delaware, tenacious in their search for the truth, begin to make the smallest of headway. Just as their begin to see a path forward, an unseen nemesis attempts to sabotage their investigation. What Milo thought was a cold case turns out to be incendiary.

Jonathan Kellerman is an excellent writer, and his Alex Delaware books are well-plotted and fast-paced. Dealing with a cold case, Milo and Alex revisit events of the 1970s/1980s, a time of different social mores and fashion standards. I enjoyed this milieux and the techniques they used to solve it with little information online and a dearth of witnesses, although the people they talked to were colorful characters.

Milo and Alex are great partners, and their banter in this book is my favorite out of the last few in the series, plus it also really allows Milo to shine in his interactions with witnesses, suspects, and other police personnel. Kellerman introduces rookie Jen Arredondo, a somewhat nervous but surprising officer who I hope will appear in future installments.

The book does have lots of descriptions of driving, although I’ve seen similar in other books set in LA. I attributed it to the omnipresent nature of traffic there. There was a brief sour notes to me. One character used racist descriptions. It was more to cast aspersions on her but in my opinion really not necessary.

Was this review helpful?

As an avid Alex Delaware fan, there can never be enough happening in LA to keep our favorite detectives busy. This is number 36 in Jonathan Kellerman's series, but truly each story could be read as a stand alone. You'd miss the history that enriches the back story. Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis have worked some very interesting cases, but this one.....well, a 30+ year old cold case is not what you'd expect to land in the case load of an experienced field detective, unless the victim's family has enough pull to put it there. If you've never read a book from this series, you're in for a treat. Kellerman's procedurals are fast paced, written to pull you into the story and keep you trying to figure out the who and the why. Watch for clues, they are subtle. The reveal always surprises and leaves you ready for the next story. If you love them as much as I do, the good news is you have 35 more to read.

Was this review helpful?

When the Mayor asks a Deputy Commissioner to look into a 36 year old unsolved homicide, you know that Milo Sturgis will get the case...and of course, Alex Delaware will join his long time friend in the investigation.
Thirty-six years ago Dorothy Swoboda was murdered. She was shot to death in her Cadillac on Mulholland Drive and the car was set on fire. Who and why remain unknown.
Alex and Milo have worked together on many cases and have developed deep seated respect for each other. The duo face many roadblocks in their efforts to find out who killed Dorothy and why. Original investigators have died, records are missing and even locations have altered. As Alex and Milo delve deeper and deeper into the murder, it becomes clear that someone in the present day doesn't want the case solved.
Trust Milo and Alex to straighten out this shocking, twisty tale and turn an old cold case into a closed one.
As I was reading this novel, I became tired of all the descriptions of LA traffic, LA highways, local restaurants., meal descriptions, internet searches and various people, etc. Then it hit me, this was like the case - a bit of information at a time until you had the whole picture. What else could we expect of a 36 year old cold case?
The story will hold your attention and you will enjoy the ending.
I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley. #NetGalley #Serpentine

Was this review helpful?

I am a huge fan of LAPD homicide lieutenant Milo Sturgis and his side kick psychologist Alex Delaware. The pair are truly a force to be reckoned with. Milo is tasked with trying to solve a decades old murder of a megarich young woman's mother she never knew. There is no physical evidence, no witnesses, no apparent motive, and a slew of detectives have already worked the case and failed. But as Delaware and Sturgis begin working the case, things begin to happen and there are too many coincidences. There are still very real threats lurking in the present. This is just another in a long line of great Sturgis and Delaware novels.

Was this review helpful?

another good read. I found it engaging and in some respects predictable. there seemed to be many names tossed about and I'll admit that I had trouble remembering who some of them were and how they played in - especially since I read this over several days. Overall, I'd recommend and look forward to the next.

Was this review helpful?

It's been awhile since I've read Jonathan Kellerman, but I've always enjoyed the dynamic between Alex and Milo... this story didn't disappoint, after 36 novels (so far), this series is brain candy.

I think what I liked most was this story didn't have a complete happy ending, most police procedurals don't and this one was no exception. Don't get me wrong, their was resolution, but not in the way I was expecting. I found the story to be fast paced, well plotted, and the introduction of new characters balanced with old familiar characters.

I admit I had the same mindset as Milo when finding out that he is supposed to investigate a cold case because a "rich" woman called someone high in law enforcement... and those on high putting pressure on those below and meddling in the outcome when results don't happen fast enough. A standard trope, but effective. In this case, I felt for Ellie and her need to know who she is and where she came from, she was a great reminder that one shouldn't judge a book by its cover.

Was this review helpful?

I've read the Alex Delaware series forever and I am amazed at how consistently strong these books continue to be. Mr. Kellerman is one of those rare mystery writers who seems to have such a great feel for when the series needs a little tweaking and that keeps it fresh and interesting.
A few years back he seemed to flip the formula a bit and instead of a whole lot of psychological suspense anchored by the wonderfully smart, Dr. Delaware, with a heaping dash of police procedural thanks to his friendship with the compassionate and emotional police detective, Milo Sturgis, we get a much stronger focus on Milo and the procedural elements of the crimes. This really works for me. I feel like Milo is one of the most compelling characters in any mystery series and I am fascinated by the way that he and Alex work together. By freeing Milo from some of the restraints that most cop characters have, Kellerman allows him to take on cases that are extraordinarily difficult and twisty and that makes for an excellent story.
In Serpentine, the story is crazy twisty and yet Kellerman never loses control of his narrative. Alex and Milo are working through a cold case with almost nothing to hang their hat on and the way that they build a case is just mesmerizing. By trying to help a young woman trace a mother she never knew, who was murdered when she was 3 yo, they stumble across a plethora of interesting characters and eventually bring some resolution to the case.
I love many things about this series, not the least is the solid writing of Kellerman. I enjoy the more mature relationship between Alex and his partner, Robin, which seems to have settled into a really good place. The friendship and professional partnership between Alex and Milo is just brilliantly wrought. There is nothing not to like about the 36th book in this excellent series. I am really looking forward to 37.

Was this review helpful?

Alex and Milo are trying to solve a cold case. A murder that happened 20 years ago. But someone doesn't want this case solved. Milo keeps running up against brick walls. So who killed that poor woman and why don't they want it solved?? Jonathan Kellerman is a great writer and I hope he never stops writing about Alex and Milo. Thanks to netgalley for the chance to read this book for an honest opinion.

Was this review helpful?

You would think that after 36 Alex Delaware novels that the series would get stale but quite the contrary, this is one of the best in the series. I have enjoyed them all but this book had especially interesting characters and a plot with several unexpected twists. I recommend the entire series but you don't have to have read any others to enjoy this one. Strongly recommended

Was this review helpful?

Lots of rabbit trails, lots of characters, lots of dead ends. Bonnie & Clyde wannabes.
An "OK book" from one of my favorite writers.

Was this review helpful?

Psychologist Alex Delaware and detective Milo Sturgis are back in Jonathan Kellerman’s newest thriller, Serpentine. This time they are investigating a decades-old crime that is COLD. There is no physical evidence, no witnesses, and no apparent motive. Yet Milo Sturgis is tasked with solving the crime and he needs Alex Delaware to help him.

Milo is pressured into taking the case by a mega rich woman via a boss. He is less than thrilled but dives into the case looking for anything to help move the case forward. Slowly, with a few pieces of luck, they move forward to uncover a harem of women to a rich man decades ago who kept them around - young, blonde and constantly rotating. But the mystery doesn’t stop there.

This was definitely one of the more unusual cases for Milo and Alex. I love their style together and find the partnership as fascinating as many of the mysteries. Serpentine by Jonathan Kellerman was a good read.

Was this review helpful?

I didn't realize this was the 36thin the series. Wow started back in the day with book 1 and have never been disappointed in the story. The Psychologist Alex Delaware and his police buddy Milo Sturgis have a cold case to solve.
A woman has ben discovered in a burnout Cadillac. As always they work their way through the case, each providing their skills to the case. Along the way, Alex's live in provides a touch of romance and fun.

As always you get lost in the world of L.A. and its many various neighborhoods and characters. Enjoy the trip.

Was this review helpful?

Not known for playing well with fellow officers, Lt. Milo Sturgis is assigned a cold case. Ice cold. Despite the efforts of detectives who came before him, the circumstances surrounding the murder remain unclear. Furthermore, the reasons for reopening the case are unclear. So Milo recruits his psychologist pal, Alex Delaware, to help him puzzle through the scant evidence and identify the possible motives of those involved. They journey into L.A.’s past, with its rich womanizers and the young women who arrived in the city in search of fame and fortune, and more. And it soon becomes clear that somebody is not happy about their investigation. The plot developed at a nice pace, with twists and turns as Milo and Alex unroot the truth – which came as a surprise to this reader. An enjoyable read, for sure.

Was this review helpful?

I've been reading Jonathan Kellerman books for over 20 years and they are consistently enjoyable. This was definitely an engaging and enjoyable book. The twists and turns were easy to follow, but there were still the a-ha moments that make these novels enjoyable.

As always, I like to read the banter between Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis - an unlikely partnership that is respectful and fun to read about.

The story itself was wide-ranging. I'm a sucker for mysteries where the crime happened in the past and the present-day detective is putting together evidence to try to recreate it. So this book might as well have been written directly for me!

Was this review helpful?

This is a story about a cold crime.

I’ve been a long time fan of this series- Kellerman continues to weave compelling mysteries. This was another solid entry into the series- my only complaint is that this one felt slightly more predictable than others have- but that may only be the case because I’m so familiar with the author’s work.

Thank you Netgalley & Random House Publishing Group/Ballantine for this e-Arc!

Was this review helpful?

Serpentine truly lives up to its title on many levels. The action initially moves slowly then twists and turns, sometimes torturously, uncovering various types of evil as Detective Milo Sturgis attempts to solve a cold case.

As the novel begins, Milo has been tasked with investigating the apparent death/murder of a woman some 35 years earlier. He is to do this without any supporting staff per the Police Chief. And he is to meet with the woman’s daughter, who was only three at the time of her mother’s death, but wants to know what happened. A very cold case. As always, Alex Delaware is ready to assist.

I really enjoyed this story. I don’t believe this duo has had a case quite like this before, but that seems impossible as this is Kellerman’s 36th Alex Delaware novel. The cold case format allowed for even more free rein in the Milo/Alex relationship and a look at how resources can be used. And Alex is shown actively doing his work with family court again which I have missed. There is also less violence than in some past episodes because of the cold case factor but that doesn’t mean no violence.

I do recommend this. Rating 4 to 4.5*

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

"Serpentine" is the 36th book in the Alex Delaware series, I have read all 36 and enjoyed them all. This latest installment did not disappoint. Sometimes over the years I lose interest in series but this one still is fresh and every time I pick one up it pulls me right in and Im reunited with some of my favorite characters!

Was this review helpful?