Survival of the Fittest

Jonathan Kellerman, Author Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc $24.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-553-08923-3
Why is it so hard to put down a Kellerman thriller, even though they're strewn with red herrings, the coincidences demand grand suspensions of disbelief and the main characters--psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware; his lover, Robin; his best friend, gay L.A. detective Milo Sturgis--are so predictable? It's simple: the nonstop action leaves you breathless; the plot twists keep you guessing; the themes (eugenics, this time) are provocative. Milo asks Alex to help solve the murder of Irit Carmeli, the deaf, slightly retarded teenaged daughter of an Israeli diplomat. They identify three similar cases in which retarded or handicapped victims are found with the enigmatic legend ""DVLL"" written near the body. Meanwhile, Alex counsels Helena Dahl, whose brother, a cop, may have been involved with Meta, an organization whose members have high IQs, just before he killed himself. When Alex and Milo discover a link between ""DVLL"" and neo-fascist Meta in the alleged suicide of a genius scientist, the ""DVLL"" and Dahl cases entwine. The coincidence is quite a stretch; but by the time it unfolds, readers are hooked enough to accept it, just as they're likely not to question Alex's going undercover for the police. As an added bonus, Israeli detective Daniel Sharavi, the astute protagonist of Kellerman's non-Delaware mystery (The Butcher's Theater, 1988), returns as a valuable partner in this typically complicated, exciting Kellerman page-turner. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1997
Release date: 11/01/1997
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