by Jonathan Kellerman

Reviewed by Coral

Once again, Detective Petra Conner takes center stage. This time round she is partnered - only in the loosest sense of the term, really - with a young genius, Isaac Gomez, working on his dissertation - wait, haven't I seen this before?  Investigating both a shooting outside of a concert that left 4 people dead, one of whom they are unable to identify, and a string of murders across the years, all committed on June 28th. Now, as June 28th approaches, Petra and Isaac are running out of time to stop a brutal serial murderer, while trying to track down the concert shooting's missing witness, before the shooter finds her.

Okay, all of that math stuff Isaac was babbling about to try and explain to Petra why he believes all those June 28th murders were related? That works a lot better with Charlie doing the explaining on Numb3rs, accompanied by happy little visual aids. It's hard to understand as just a blur of words.

The Paradiso concert shooting wasn't very interesting. Sometimes it disappeared from focus for a couple of chapters at a time. It really just clogs up page space, taking it away from the serial killer cold case, which was the more interesting case.

Doesn't this fandom already have enough secondary and tertiary characters? Why does Kellerman feel the need to add more? Why do we need Isaac the boy genius? He didn't add anything to the story, really, so why do I know more about him than I do about Rick Silverman? Kellerman has shown, in the past, some weakness for remembering details he's previously written. I wish he would spend more time working on the characters he already has instead of inventing pointless new ones.

Worse is the complete waste of potential that was Eric Stahl. He was a dark, complex character with severe issues, that all magically went away thanks to sex with Petra. And Petra being proud she won him away from a hooker by cooking for him? Sad.

Actually, how Kellerman portrays women in his books is just sad. I mean, do prostitutes really fall for their clients? This is someone who de-humanized them by paying for sex, and I'm supposed to believe she cared enough about Eric that she took a break from this job to visit him at the hospital? And the characterization of the woman Isaac had sex with sucked too. Because women are incapable of one-night-stands, apparently, and get clingy and emotional with every man they sleep with.

I don't really know why I keep picking up Kellerman's books. A bad habit I can't break. I keep waiting for the day when Rick is allowed to step out of the background, even knowing that's unlikely to happen. No matter how good some of his books are - and sadly, in recent years, this is one of the best in a long time - I always find myself cringing as I read them. Why? Because sooner or later, in all of his books, you'll hit some insulting racist comment or thought. I cringe waiting for them, I cringe reading them, and then spend a few days ranting about the intolerance that exists, and how unfair it is for a published author to be allowed to print stuff like this. Grr. Kellerman is not good for my health.

Grade: C