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February 10, 2023

Unnatural History by Jonathan Kellerman ~ a Review

by MK French

In the 38th Alex Delaware novel, psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware and Detective Milo Sturgis investigate the murder of a photographer famous for his latest project: images of homeless people in costume and enacting unfulfilled fantasies. Some see the project as exploitation, especially since he avoided his subjects once the photos were taken. Delaware and Sturgis must determine who killed the photographer. Was it a critic or a member of the photographer's bizarre family?

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of thriller Unnatural History by Jonathan Kellerman
February 2023; Ballantine Books; 978-0525618614
audio, ebook, print (320 pages); thriller

We start with the discovery of the body; Delaware is brought in because the assistant is freaking out so much she can't talk with the police. From there, his gentle manner helps Sturgis look into Donny's life prior to the murder, as he was a minimalist who had grown up isolated from his much older half-siblings. I find this look at the moneyed side of LA fascinating, especially how different it is from the homeless people that he photographed. 

We follow the team as they delve into Donny's family, his few connections with other people, and search for the homeless he photographed. As other bodies are found, somewhat tied to Donny's death, we realize that he stumbled into the dregs of another case that had folded years ago. Donny was exceedingly rich but lonely and guilty about the privilege he had, hoping to share that opportunity with others in his own way. It's sad that he had so few connections, that he lost so many people in his life, and his money couldn't give him any of the peace he hoped for. The mystery is solved at the end, so he gets justice, but he and his family are just as distant as they had been from the start. 

Buy Unnatural History at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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