Review #4: Survival of the Fittest by Jonathan Kellerman

Survival of the Fittest is the thirteenth in the Alex Delaware series by Jonathan Kellerman, released in 1998. It’s certainly lucky number thirteen, as I think this is one of the strongest books in the series.

The novel follows two primary plot points. The first involves the random suicide of an L.A. police officer. The police officer’s sister hires Alex as her therapist to try and make sense of her brother’s death. The second plot point follows the investigation of the brutal murder of an Israeli diplomat’s teen daughter. The girl was partially blind and had of low IQ. Milo Sturgis is called in to investigate this, now, cold case, and calls on Alex’s help. As they delve deeper into the case, it becomes apparent that eugenics is playing some role in what’s going on.

I clearly love the Alex Delaware series, but I really thought this was a great one. It was very dark in tone, with Alex put in a position of moral ambiguity as he gets more entrenched in the case. It also was very suspenseful, and Alex was in palatable danger in this one. One nice thing about the Delaware series is that Milo and Alex are not in danger in every single case, as happens in most other murder-mystery thrillers. Sometimes the focus is just on the investigation. However, this time, there is a clear and present danger going on, and I thought it was a great risk to take by Kellerman and worked out really well. The many secondary characters are, in typical Kellerman fashion, interesting and engaging. The mystery itself is also very exciting and I felt drawn in throughout the whole novel. Overall, one of my favorite Alex Delaware books.

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