Heartbreak Hotel by Jonathon Kellerman
This novel is one in the popular Alex Delaware series. It is set in LA and is fairly standard fare from Kellerman who is a highly successful and accomplished author.
Thalia Mars will be 100 years young on her next birthday. She contacts Delaware and, upon meeting, speaks in apparent riddles to him about criminal mindsets before ending their appointment. She is found dead prior to their next meeting.
Delaware calls his friend, Milo Sturgis, an LA lieutenant who immediately suspects foul play and investigates. The story then takes us back in time through Thalia’s lively past as the investigative duo begin to piece together events that may have lead to the grand old gal’s demise.
This is not a comedy. Roddy Doyle writes comedy – see the book review for The Guts. Jonathon Kellerman doesn’t (and I believe that he can’t) write comedy. He tries at times in this novel, but when I looked out the window I saw tumbleweed blowing past. Yet he does know how to stitch together a decent plot, although this one has some obvious holes. It’s entertaining though, even if it won’t win him a Pulitzer or any other notable award. I doubt he cares. He must be filthy rich by now. His wife, Faye Kellerman, is also raking it in as a novelist and now their son, Jesse Kellerman, is also successful in the family trade. Talented family. I’m jealous.
The plot weaves through LA, then and now, as more characters emerge and twists and turns abound. I won’t bore you with any further detail other than to say that reading Heartbreak Hotel won’t kill you, and Kellerman is wearing a black turtleneck in his jacket photo. He looks like a beatnik poet. I suspect he probably owns a set of bongos and a bong.
Heartbreak Hotel did not melt my personal butter. It would not entice me into reading another by Kellerman. Yet it wouldn’t dissuade me entirely, either. It has a grey rating with me.
Sult scale rating: 5 out of 10
Plot was decent. Writing was good. Characters were one-dimensional and predictable. Scooby-Doo could have solved the mystery quicker.