Picks and Pans Review: Monster
Page-turner of the week
You might think that when a doctor at a maximum-security psychiatric facility is savagely slain, her notorious, psycho-killer patients would become prime suspects. But not so in the case of Monster victim Dr. Claire Argent: When she is found murdered and mutilated not far from her home, California state hospital administrators argue lamely that none of their inmates has recently been released. Which leaves Dr. Alex Delaware and his pal, LAPD Det. Milo Sturgis, with one of the most puzzling conundrums of their long crime-solving career.
Author Kellerman, like his sleuth Delaware a trained child psychologist, is in peak form as he vividly evokes the claustrophobic world of the asylum, a nightmarish limbo of the sort most of us prefer not to contemplate. He also subtly manages to raise questions about our treatment of the mentally ill along the way. But the author never allows these weightier issues to interfere with this surprising and complex story of festering evil—a tale that snakes its way to a stunningly dramatic conclusion. (Random House, $25.95)
Bottom Line: Masterly mystery