Just out in paperback, Kellerman's latest bestseller continues the adventures of Dr. Alex Delaware, psychologist and solver of crimes. This time out, everything starts off smoothly when Delaware gets an invitation he can't refuse to a free vacation in paradise -- in this case the tropical island of Aruk, where a Schweitzerish scientist wants him to help edit his papers. Guess what? Not everything is what it seems, and people start dying as they usually do around Alex.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful: Slow but not without interest, December 24, 2002 Reviewer: richard a lovett from Portland, OR United States This is an extremely quiet, moody book that builds interesting characters in an interesting setting, but doesn't allow much to happen to them. It was my first Kellerman book, and despite my 2-star review, it won't be my last. Ideally, I'd have given it 2.5 stars. It's better than two, but not up to three. Don't read this book for the mystery. The story deals with an extremely shocking crime, but somehow, the answer to, "Who done it?" is a big, "Who cares?" I think the problem is that the shocking mystery has an extremely pedestrian solution, producing an imbalance between the murder and its solution. That imbalance-which you can sense coming 100 pages in advance--pulls most of the tension out of the plot. Far more interesting are the book's sub-themes. Kellerman-presumably because of his psychological training-is an astute observer of the dysfunctional manners in which people often interact. And this book is full of dysfunctional relationships, ranging from an embattled couple to an oddly disengaged father/daughter relationship. All of this plays eventually into the finale, but I found watching these people in action to be much more interesting than wondering about what secrets they were hiding. One note, though, struck badly-not falsely, but irritatingly, in a way I fear might be characteristic of the series. Kellerman's psychologist-detective, Alex, is always addressing other characters by their first names, as in: "I don't think I can do that, Bill," or "Why do you ask, Jo?" That type of first-name engagement helps the reader keep abreast of who's speaking, and it rings true for the psychologist character, but it feels very aggressive. It's as though Alex, by the false intimacy of calling everyone by their first names, is always trying to provoke them. Or maybe he's continuously "shrinking" them. Whatever the reason, after a while I wanted someone to stand up to Alex and make him stop doing it. Since he's otherwise one of the nicer-guy heroes in the detective genre, it's a particularly irritating habit.