Book Review | Serpentine by Jonathan Kellerman

About the Book

LAPD homicide lieutenant Milo Sturgis is a master detective. He has a near-perfect solve rate and he’s written his own rule book. Some of those successes—the toughest ones—have involved his best friend, the brilliant psychologist Alex Delaware. But Milo doesn’t call Alex in unless cases are “different.” 
This murder warrants an immediate call. Milo’s independence has been compromised as never before, as the department pressures him to cater to the demands of a mogul: a hard-to-fathom, megarich young woman who is obsessed with reopening the coldest of cases—the decades-old death of the mother she never knew.

The facts describe a likely loser: a mysterious woman found with a bullet in her head in a torched Cadillac that has overturned on infamously treacherous Mulholland Drive. No physical evidence, no witnesses, no apparent motive. And a slew of detectives have already worked the case and failed. But as Delaware and Sturgis begin digging, the mist begins to lift. Too many coincidences. Facts turn out to be anything but. And as they soon discover, very real threats lurking in the present.

This is Delaware/Sturgis at their best: traversing the beautiful but forbidding place known as Los Angeles and exhuming the past in order to bring a vicious killer to justice.

Goodreads’ Rating: ☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️

Serpentine is a mind-blowing journey to solve a murder from over 30 years in the past. With no forensics, digital footprints, or witnesses, it seems like an impossible case for Dr. Alex Delaware and Detective Milo Sturgis.

What I Loved

Simply put, I love what makes this mystery series and book different from all the others. Dr. Alex Delaware is a psychologist who practices and teaches. He approaches this case in an almost Holmesian manner using his intellect and unusually keen observational skills. And paired with Milo, they make an incredible team of fascinating police work and an outsider looking in, providing a look into the minds of all those involved.

Since Alex is a psychologist and not a detective, this difference in professions provides a speck of a cozy mystery feel with all the over-the-top characters, red herrings, and focus that go along with that sub-genre. It is not a cozy mystery, and I would never classify it as such. It just has a delightful little aspect of that type of mystery.

I enjoyed that the mystery took place so distant in the past. The challenges that come with investigating a case like that are many, and it is interesting to read the creativity and ingenuity involved in figuring out who did it. This focuses squarely on the mystery’s puzzle, and no one likes a good puzzle more than me.

I also enjoyed the one counseling session as a little break in the mystery. As a counselor, I find it so compelling to witness different techniques and explore the short-term results. Even though it is fictional, it felt well-researched and plausible.

To Read or Not to Read

If you are looking for a compelling new mystery to grab you and make you forget how long winter nights are, Serpentine is a choice you won’t want to pass up.

19 Replies to “Book Review | Serpentine by Jonathan Kellerman”

    1. I did too! I can’t even tell you which book I read though I remember the characters. It’s been a long while.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It is very very good. I always find long cold cases fascinating because of all the challenges.


  1. There was a television show a couple of years ago called (I think) Instinct with Alan Cumming that sounded like it was the same premise, and I really enjoyed it. He was a professor and a psychiatrist or psychologist (and brilliant, of course) and ended up working with a detective (a blonde woman played by an actress whose name I can’t recall).

    Long story short, I liked the show. I’m guessing I’d enjoy this book, too. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember that show! If you liked the show, yes, I agree – you would more than likely love this book and series ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve seen tons of books from this author, but I haven’t read any. I can’t imagine trying to solve a mystery from that long ago, but that would just make it even more interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Here you go again,adding another book to my TBR!
    This sounds soooo good. I’m off to Amazon to check it out in more detail. Excellent review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This seems like a series you would enjoy – just pick the case you find most intriguing ❤️. They definitely can be read as stand alone novels.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was wondering about that, especially after looking at Amazon. I’m going to have to browse through them and pick one. Oh, the torture, LOL!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I have read 20 books in this series and have a half dozen or more on my bookshelf. I do need to get back to this series, and this review has reminded me about it. It sounds like it is still a great series.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is quite good but then I haven’t read as many of them as you have. Glad you liked them enough to read 20. Wow!

      Liked by 1 person

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