Jonathan Kellerman, author of Twisted, is a pretty good mystery writer.   The whodunit novels in his Alex Delaware series are a good read aside from the absolutely dreadful The Web.  In Billy Straight he branched out with a new character, Detective Petra Connor, and it is this character who is the driving force behind Twisted.  As mysteries go, this is mostly a fairly decent read although not really up to Kellerman’s usual standards.

The problem in Twisted is Jonathan Kellerman tries to juggle one too many balls so that none of them really rises too high.  This crime novel begins with a drive-by shooting outside a club and then quickly includes Isaac Gomez, a whiz kid who is working on some kind of PhD and has found evidence of a serial killer in some cold cases.  To this Kellerman adds Petra Connor’s more or less boyfriend and paragraphs about him and her feelings about him, scenes at Isaac Gomez’ home that are basically filler, a sexual interlude between Gomez and a librarian that serves no plot purpose whatsoever, and a too quick and rather convoluted solve on the drive-by shooting and stuff involving a clan of grifters that becomes more interesting than the main story line about the serial killer.

With about 100 pages to go you realize you are reading Twisted not because it is particularly interesting but only to recoup the time you put into it at the beginning.  It is in those hundred pages that Kellerman dispatches the serial murderer part of the plot in a fairly unbelievable way.

Jonathan Kellerman fans will probably somewhat enjoy this latest paperback release by this rather prolific mystery or crime writer but will be left wanting.  If they picked it up at the airport and killed it off during a long flight its weaknesses will irritate them less.  Twisted is not the book you would use to introduce someone to Jonathan Kellerman.

This is a very minor detective novel.

Jonathan Kellerman
Ballantine Books 2005
399 pages

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