Eight years after he was sent to juvenile lockup for the murder of 2-year-old Kristal Malley, the just-released Rand Duchay, now 21, calls psychologist Alex Delaware and wants to talk. But he doesn't show up for their meeting. Then Rand's murdered body embroils Alex and Los Angeles police lieutenant Milo Stugis in a case that's filled with anger and tragedy.

When they were 13, Rand and Troy Turner kidnapped and brutally beat Kristal to death. They were sent to juvenile detention, where Troy was killed soon after. But was his death gang-related or a hit? There seems to be a lot of death and/or "suicide" tied to this sad case. As Alex and Milo continue to dig, they uncover much more than they bargained for.

Kellerman doesn't shy away from bringing gritty realism into his complex and intense novels. You can always count on him for a thought- provoking and high-voltage read. (Jun., 384 pp., $26.95)
Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith