After years of being half of a couple, psychologist and sleuth Alex Delaware is slowly feeling his way back into the dating scene when his longtime pal, Los Angeles police lieutenant Milo Sturgis, gets Alex involved in a new murder case. A local artist named Julie Kipper has been brutally murdered, and Milo is searching for a motive.

As it happens, Alex also hears about the murder of Baby Boy Lee, a blues guitar genius trying to make a comeback. The Lee case belongs to Detective Petra Connor, who contacts Alex regarding Lee's guitars. (Alex's old love Robin worked on repairing Lee's damaged instruments.)

At first, Alex can see no pattern, but then he pulls a thread: One thing both victims had in common is that they were artists. Is a serial killer viciously killing artists on the rise? If so, for what reason? Alex, Milo and Petra pool their resources to try to stop the killings before they hit any closer to home.

Weaving all three of his major protagonists into one book makes A COLD HEART a treat for longtime Kellerman fans. The gritty, emotional underbelly of L.A. exacerbates the isolation and loneliness experienced by all the major characters. (May, 400 pp., $26.95)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith