Milo Sturgis and Alex Delaware have been a favorite crime-fighting duo of mine through about eighty or ninety novels by Jonathan Kellerman, but I’d kind of given him a go-by these past few years. Went a little overboard with the violence, I thought.
Then I got to wondering if Milo was still grouchy and was Alex still tending his koi pond, so when I spotted a recent entry in the mystery series while waiting for a prescription at Walgreen’s, I decided to take Compulsion off of the drugstore rack and give it pride of place on the night table.
The verdict? Ah, read it yourself. If you like Milo and Alex mysteries, you will like Compulsion; if not, not.
Milo and Alex — one a cop, the other a shrink — investigate a murder by talking to scads of people. They circle ever closer to the perp. In the end they stop talking to scads of people because the perp has been dealt with. Then they go home.
Somewhere between the crime and the conclusion, Alex says to Milo, “Why settle for pessimism when you can have fatalism?”
Milo replies, “Why settle for fatalism when I can have futility?”
Don’t worry, they don’t mean it. That’s how they josh.
The pleasure of Kellerman’s writing lies largely in his sterling dialogue. Did I say “sterling?” I meant “golden.” He has a knack for capturing the way people talk. Reading Kellerman is like hearing an audio version. He has that good an ear.
And the mystery? Any good? Well, it kept me up late. In fact, I woke up in the pre-dawn hours, finished reading to the exciting conclusion, then went back to sleep. What more can I say?