Prather’s Pick: A Jonathan Kellerman novel
If you are intrigued by the process involved in solving a mystery, this week’s novel is for you. It’s “The Wedding Guest,” written by Jonathan Kellerman.
Jonathan Kellerman has written over forty bestselling novels. Not only that but he co-authored novels with his wife, Faye Kellerman, and his son, Jesse Kellerman, also bestselling fiction writers. It’s a family focused on writing!
This week’s thriller is one from the Alex Delaware series. Alex is a psychologist who works with LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis, a homicide detective. It’s Delaware’s job to get into the mind of the killer. The novel is told from Delaware’s point of view.
Alex and Milo are called to a murder scene at the Aura, a run-down former strip joint. It’s an interesting location for a wedding reception, but that’s just what is going on there at the present time. A bridesmaid has found the dead body of a beautiful young woman, dressed in a red Fendi dress and gold Manolo sandals. The bridesmaid, Leanza Cardell, found the woman in a bathroom upstairs in the Employees Only room. She first thought the woman was a stoner.
The wedding reception even has a theme—“Saints and Sinners”—probably because the building was once a church before it became a strip joint. Guests were instructed that “Everyone needs to be hot!” The victim as certainly dressed for the event, but who is she?
Now the place is surrounded with squad cars. Milo is there; so is Alex. Also present are Detectives Moe Reed, Sean Binchy, and Alicia Bogomil (who figure into the rest of the novel). The coroner has come and gone which means she was easily identified or not identified at all. It turns out that it is the latter. What the detectives and coroner do know is that the victim was strangled with a wire.
There are a hundred potential guest suspects plus bartenders, cooks, cocktail waitresses, deejays, a photographer, and clean-up group. Lots of people to question which isn’t so easy since they have been drinking and many appear to be just numb. The bride has a creative name, indeed. She is Brearely “Brears” Rapfogel Burdette, known as “Baby” to most and “Babe” to her husband. Baby is upset that a murder has ruined her special day. She doesn’t know the victim.
Another interesting character is Amanda Burdette, sister of the groom. She is known for her preoccupation with reading. She spends her time at the reception with a yellow marker, studying for a chemistry test.
Eventually the medical examiner finds a needle puncture on the victim’s neck. She was injected with a drug before being strangled. The search is on for the killer, and the reader gets to go along.