The Murderer’s Daughter is one of Jonathan Kellerman‘s standalone novels. As with most of his books, the main protagonist here, Dr. Grace Blades, is a psychologist. She is very good at her job, which earns her respect and a great reputation, with patients coming to her for treatment from all over the country.
And yet dr. Blades has a secret. By night she is a woman with hidden occupation – she enjoys one night stands with strangers, which should come known to the public, it would ruin her reputation in a heartbeat.
Her cozy double-life is in danger of collapsing when her latest nightly catch, who turns out to be her new patient as well, ends up dead the next day. And it seems that Grace is the last person to have seen him alive before he was ruthlessly killed.
Highly intelligent and curious by nature, Grace starts her own investigation into the matter because she can’t let the guy out of her mind. Why did he visit her as a patient in the first place? And why did he lied to her about who he really was?
The book is split between the past and present, with flashbacks following Grace Blades to her childhood growing up, alternating with the current timeline We get to learn what drives her, why she is so good at helping traumatized people who lost loved ones to crimes and accidents, and why she is avoiding personal attachments at all costs, choosing instead the one night stands she so expertly cultures.
I enjoyed reading those flashbacks about Grace and how it all came together. Grace is a strong woman with secrets kept close to her heart. By reading her backstory we learn about her and we learn to like – and even love her because we now understand her motives and the emotions driving her.
She was sent from foster home to foster home until the age of 11 when she was adopted by the two people whom she fondly called ‘parents’. Good people who taught her all the right values. The chapters with the flashbacks during her time with these people were some of the best in the book, in my opinion.
This novel is not a thriller by the usual standards. It is a taut psychological drama with several suspenseful moments. However, that doesn’t make it a bad book by any means. Several readers on Goodreads gave it a less than stellar rating because it is marketed as a thriller, which seems deceptive once you read the story. Of course, people feel cheated of their expectations.
A thriller is a fast paced action packed story, however here the progression was slower with lots descriptions that you might be tempted to turn the pages over, just to get to the meaty part. However, I found myself hooked nonetheless and read every sentence, every word because I found myself drawn to the main character.
Yes, the book is a bit slower than the usual Alex Delaware books, but I loved the writing and I enjoyed this new character, Grace Blades. I wouldn’t mind seeing her in a new book, making The Murderer’s Daughter part of a new series.
I did smile at the few references to Alex Delaware scattered throughout the pages. Jonathan Kellerman can’t stay away for too long from his most popular character and we can’t get enough of him, even if just mentioned in passing.
Overall The Murderer’s Daughter was one heck of a read. A slower paced novel than his usual psychological thrillers, but one which would make a great start to a new series. For what it’s worth, I really enjoyed it.