When psychologist Claire Argent is brutally murdered, West L.A. homicide detective Milo Sturgis calls in his good friend Dr. Alex Delaware to consult on the case. During their tour of the mental hospital where Dr. Argent worked, one startling fact emerges. The day before she was killed, a severely dysfunctional patient of hers named Ardis Peake, who seldom speaks, made a cryptic prediction of the murder. Things get even stranger when Ardis again makes a bizarre prophecy: choo choo, bang, bang and then two twin brothers are found murdered, one by being run over by a train, the other by gunshot.

Who or what is Ardis Peake? Sixteen years ago, he was nicknamed Monster for the brutal massacre of his mother and the family that employed them. Someone on the outside must be helping to commit these crimes, but how are they communicating? Ardis receives no mail, no visitors and is almost non-verbal. This is a frightening puzzle that Alex and Milo must solve, hopefully before the next victim is claimed.

Author Jonathan Kellerman gives fans an intriguing locked-room-type thriller. The rigid and highly controlled world of the criminally insane is graphically and chillingly portrayed in this newest mystery offering. (Jan., 396 pp., $25.95)

Reviewed by: 
Jill Smith