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Motive

Cover of Motive

Motive

Alex Delaware Series, Book 30
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Jonathan Kellerman writes razor-sharp novels that cut to the quick. Now comes Motive, which pits psychologist Alex Delaware and homicide cop Milo Sturgis against a vicious criminal mind—the kind only Kellerman can bring to chilling life.

Even having hundreds of closed cases to his credit can't keep LAPD police lieutenant Milo Sturgis from agonizing over the crimes that don't get solved—and the victims who go without justice. Victims like Katherine Hennepin, a young woman strangled and stabbed in her home. A single suspect with a solid alibi leads to a dead end—one even Alex Delaware's expert insight can't explain. The only thing to do is move on to the next murder case—because there's always a next one.

This time the victim is Ursula Corey: a successful, attractive divorcée who's been gunned down—not a robbery but an execution, a crime that smacks of simple, savage revenge. And along with that theoretical motive come two strong contenders for the role of perp: the dead woman's business partner/ex-husband and her divorce lawyer/secret lover. But just as Alex and Milo think they're zeroing in on the most likely suspect, a bizarre new clue stirs up eerie echoes of the unsolved Hennepin murder. And the discovery of yet another crime scene bearing the same taunting signature raises the specter of a serial killer on a mission, whose twisted method is exceeded only by his manipulative and cunning madness.
Praise for Motive

"Jonathan Kellerman has mastered the art of lean, evocative prose [in] a series that grows stronger with each volume."—New York Journal of Books

"One of [Kellerman's] best works to date . . . Motive is wonderfully made, equally well-driven by plot and character, and shouldn't be missed."Bookreporter

"[Motive] will even keep genre veterans guessing. . . . The twists are both shocking and logical, and the byplay between the leads entertaining."—Publishers Weekly

Praise for Jonathan Kellerman

"Jonathan Kellerman's psychology skills and dark imagination are a potent literary mix."—Los Angeles Times

"A master of the psychological thriller."—People

"The combination of Alex Delaware [and] Detective Milo Sturgis . . . makes for the most original whodunit duo since Watson and Holmes."—Forbes
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Jonathan Kellerman writes razor-sharp novels that cut to the quick. Now comes Motive, which pits psychologist Alex Delaware and homicide cop Milo Sturgis against a vicious criminal mind—the kind only Kellerman can bring to chilling life.

Even having hundreds of closed cases to his credit can't keep LAPD police lieutenant Milo Sturgis from agonizing over the crimes that don't get solved—and the victims who go without justice. Victims like Katherine Hennepin, a young woman strangled and stabbed in her home. A single suspect with a solid alibi leads to a dead end—one even Alex Delaware's expert insight can't explain. The only thing to do is move on to the next murder case—because there's always a next one.

This time the victim is Ursula Corey: a successful, attractive divorcée who's been gunned down—not a robbery but an execution, a crime that smacks of simple, savage revenge. And along with that theoretical motive come two strong contenders for the role of perp: the dead woman's business partner/ex-husband and her divorce lawyer/secret lover. But just as Alex and Milo think they're zeroing in on the most likely suspect, a bizarre new clue stirs up eerie echoes of the unsolved Hennepin murder. And the discovery of yet another crime scene bearing the same taunting signature raises the specter of a serial killer on a mission, whose twisted method is exceeded only by his manipulative and cunning madness.
Praise for Motive

"Jonathan Kellerman has mastered the art of lean, evocative prose [in] a series that grows stronger with each volume."—New York Journal of Books

"One of [Kellerman's] best works to date . . . Motive is wonderfully made, equally well-driven by plot and character, and shouldn't be missed."Bookreporter

"[Motive] will even keep genre veterans guessing. . . . The twists are both shocking and logical, and the byplay between the leads entertaining."—Publishers Weekly

Praise for Jonathan Kellerman

"Jonathan Kellerman's psychology skills and dark imagination are a potent literary mix."—Los Angeles Times

"A master of the psychological thriller."—People

"The combination of Alex Delaware [and] Detective Milo Sturgis . . . makes for the most original whodunit duo since Watson and Holmes."—Forbes
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Excerpts-
  • Chapter 1

    My closest friend, a homicide lieutenant, refuses to add up how many murders he's investigated, claiming nostalgia is for losers. My rough guess is three hundred.

    Most of those have been a sickening mix of tragic and mundane.

    A pair of drunks pounding the life out of each other while equally besotted witnesses stand around hooting.

    An errant knife-­flick or gunshot putting the period on a domestic spat.

    Gangbangers, some of them too young to shave, wielding firearms ranging from explode-­in-­your hand .22s to military-­grade assault weapons, as they blast away through the open windows of scruffy compact cars.

    It's the "different" ones that bring Milo Sturgis to my door.

    Katherine Hennepin's homicide easily qualified but he'd never mentioned her to me. Now he stood in my living room at nine a.m. wearing a dust-­colored windbreaker and brown poly pants from another era, his olive vinyl attaché dangling from one massive paw. Pale, pockmarked, paunchy, black hair limp and in need of trimming, he sagged like a rhino who'd lost out to the alpha male.

    "Doctor," he grumbled. He uses my title when amused or depressed. That covers a lot of ground.

    I said, "Morning."

    "Apparently it is." He trudged past me into the kitchen. "Sorry."

    "For what?"

    "Offering you a tall glass of warm skunky beer." Stopping short of the fridge, he sank into a chair, rubbed his face, clicked his teeth, and avoided eye contact while unlatching the green case. Out came a blue binder identical to so many others I'd seen.

    Hennepin, K. B. had been opened two months ago.

    "Yeah, yeah," he said, still looking away. "Didn't think I needed to bug you, 'cause it was obvious." He growled. "Don't take any stock tips from me."

    He waited. I read.

    Katherine Belle Hennepin, thirty-­three, a bookkeeper at a mom-­and-­pop accounting firm in Sherman Oaks, had been found in the bedroom of her West L.A. apartment, strangled and stabbed. The blowup of her driver's license photo portrayed a thin-­faced, fine-­featured woman with shoulder-­length light-­brown hair, a sweet smile, and freckles that managed to assert themselves with the DMV camera. Sad eyes, I thought, but maybe I was already biased.

    I knew why Milo had included the shot: wanting me to think of her as a person.

    Wanting to remind himself.

    Rosiness and pinpoint blood dots around the ligature mark but far less pooling and castoff and splotches than you'd expect with thirty-­six stab wounds suggested the killer had choked first, slashed second.

    A few blood drops and a tamped-­down section of carpeting indicated the murder had begun in the hallway just outside the kitchen, after which Katherine Hennepin had been dragged to her bedroom. The killer then positioned her atop her twin mattress, lying faceup, head propped on a pillow. She was found covered, head-­to-­toe, with a blanket taken from her linen closet.

    The pose the killer had chosen--­arms pressed to her sides, legs close together--­suggested peaceful repose, if you didn't consider the gore. No obvious sexual positioning and the autopsy confirmed no sexual assault. Milo and Detective 1 Sean Binchy had gone over the apartment with customary thoroughness and found no evidence of burglary.

    An empty slot in a knife-­block in the kitchen fit the heaviest butcher blade in the set. The dimensions of that high-­quality German utensil synced with the coroner's description of the murder weapon. A careful search of Katherine Hennepin's apartment and nearby garbage bins failed to turn up the knife....

About the Author-
  • Jonathan Kellerman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than three dozen bestselling crime novels, including the Alex Delaware series, The Butcher's Theater, Billy Straight, The Conspiracy Club, Twisted, and True Detectives. With his wife, bestselling novelist Faye Kellerman, he co-authored Double Homicide and Capital Crimes. With his son, bestselling novelist Jesse Kellerman, he co-authored the first book of a new series, The Golem of Hollywood. He is also the author of two children's books and numerous nonfiction works, including Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children and With Strings Attached: The Art and Beauty of Vintage Guitars. He has won the Goldwyn, Edgar, and Anthony awards and has been nominated for a Shamus Award. Jonathan and Faye Kellerman live in California, New Mexico, and New York.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 22, 2014
    The crafty plot of Edgar-winner Kellerman’s 30th novel featuring L.A. psychologist Alex Delaware (after 2014’s Killer) will even keep genre veterans guessing. Delaware has been trying, without success, to help his homicide lieutenant friend, Milo Sturgis, with an unusual case. Straightlaced bookkeeper Katherine Hennepin was stabbed 36 times in her apartment by someone who left dinner on her kitchen table set for two. The evidence points to her violent ex-boyfriend, Darius Kleffer, a chef likely to be adept with the type of butcher knife used for the murder. But Kleffer’s alibi leaves Sturgis with an open case, even as he picks up another baffler: the parking lot murder of businesswoman Ursula Corey, shot to death soon after a meeting with the attorney handling her divorce. Her former husband, the obvious suspect, turns out also to have an alibi. When the police get to Ursula’s home, they find yet another untouched meal for two. The twists are both shocking and logical, and the byplay between the leads entertaining.

  • Publishers Weekly "Jonathan Kellerman has mastered the art of lean, evocative prose [in] a series that grows stronger with each volume."--New York Journal of Books "One of [Kellerman's] best works to date . . . Motive is wonderfully made, equally well-driven by plot and character, and shouldn't be missed."--Bookreporter "[Motive] will even keep genre veterans guessing. . . . The twists are both shocking and logical, and the byplay between the leads entertaining."
  • Forbes "Jonathan Kellerman's psychology skills and dark imagination are a potent literary mix."--Los Angeles Times "A master of the psychological thriller."--People "The combination of Alex Delaware [and] Detective Milo Sturgis . . . makes for the most original whodunit duo since Watson and Holmes."
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Alex Delaware Series, Book 30
Jonathan Kellerman
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