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The Murderer's Daughter

Cover of The Murderer's Daughter

The Murderer's Daughter

A Novel
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

From the creator of the acclaimed Alex Delaware series comes a tour de force standalone novel that illustrates perfectly why "Jonathan Kellerman has justly earned his reputation as a master of the psychological thriller" (People).

A brilliant, deeply dedicated psychologist, Grace Blades has a gift for treating troubled souls and tormented psyches—perhaps because she bears her own invisible scars: Only five years old when she witnessed her parents' deaths in a bloody murder-suicide, Grace took refuge in her fierce intellect and found comfort in the loving couple who adopted her. But even as an adult with an accomplished professional life, Grace still has a dark, secret side. When her two worlds shockingly converge, Grace's harrowing past returns with a vengeance.

Both Grace and her newest patient are stunned when they recognize each other from a recent encounter. Haunted by his bleak past, mild-mannered Andrew Toner is desperate for Grace's renowned therapeutic expertise and more than willing to ignore their connection. And while Grace is tempted to explore his case, which seems to eerily echo her grim early years, she refuses—a decision she regrets when a homicide detective appears on her doorstep.

An evil she thought she'd outrun has reared its head again, but Grace fears that a police inquiry will expose her double life. Launching her own personal investigation leads her to a murderously manipulative foe, one whose warped craving for power forces Grace back into the chaos and madness she'd long ago fled.
Praise for The Murderer's Daughter

"[A] taut thriller . . . with the richness and resonance of literary fiction."—Washington Independent Review of Books

"A stunning page-turner with a truly fascinating femme fatale at its fast-beating heart . . . packed with ingenious, razor-sharp plotting, mesmerizing mind games and nail-biting suspense."—Yorkshire Evening Post

"A tight, fast-paced narrative [with] a brilliant, kick-ass heroine."—Library Journal
"Kellerman doesn't let off-the-charts genius Grace become one-dimensional. Her backstory and challenge to fit in, even into adulthood, are an engaging part of this satisfying mystery, which, though billed as a stand-alone, could certainly make a spin-off series."Booklist

"An amazing tale of survival and adaptability in the face of neglect and murder."RT Book Reviews

Praise for Jonathan Kellerman

"Kellerman's psychology skills and dark imagination are a potent literary mix."—Los Angeles Times

"Kellerman doesn't just write psychological thrillers—he owns the genre."—Detroit Free Press
From the Hardcover edition.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

From the creator of the acclaimed Alex Delaware series comes a tour de force standalone novel that illustrates perfectly why "Jonathan Kellerman has justly earned his reputation as a master of the psychological thriller" (People).

A brilliant, deeply dedicated psychologist, Grace Blades has a gift for treating troubled souls and tormented psyches—perhaps because she bears her own invisible scars: Only five years old when she witnessed her parents' deaths in a bloody murder-suicide, Grace took refuge in her fierce intellect and found comfort in the loving couple who adopted her. But even as an adult with an accomplished professional life, Grace still has a dark, secret side. When her two worlds shockingly converge, Grace's harrowing past returns with a vengeance.

Both Grace and her newest patient are stunned when they recognize each other from a recent encounter. Haunted by his bleak past, mild-mannered Andrew Toner is desperate for Grace's renowned therapeutic expertise and more than willing to ignore their connection. And while Grace is tempted to explore his case, which seems to eerily echo her grim early years, she refuses—a decision she regrets when a homicide detective appears on her doorstep.

An evil she thought she'd outrun has reared its head again, but Grace fears that a police inquiry will expose her double life. Launching her own personal investigation leads her to a murderously manipulative foe, one whose warped craving for power forces Grace back into the chaos and madness she'd long ago fled.
Praise for The Murderer's Daughter

"[A] taut thriller . . . with the richness and resonance of literary fiction."—Washington Independent Review of Books

"A stunning page-turner with a truly fascinating femme fatale at its fast-beating heart . . . packed with ingenious, razor-sharp plotting, mesmerizing mind games and nail-biting suspense."—Yorkshire Evening Post

"A tight, fast-paced narrative [with] a brilliant, kick-ass heroine."—Library Journal
"Kellerman doesn't let off-the-charts genius Grace become one-dimensional. Her backstory and challenge to fit in, even into adulthood, are an engaging part of this satisfying mystery, which, though billed as a stand-alone, could certainly make a spin-off series."Booklist

"An amazing tale of survival and adaptability in the face of neglect and murder."RT Book Reviews

Praise for Jonathan Kellerman

"Kellerman's psychology skills and dark imagination are a potent literary mix."—Los Angeles Times

"Kellerman doesn't just write psychological thrillers—he owns the genre."—Detroit Free Press
From the Hardcover edition.
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Excerpts-
  • From the cover Chapter 1

    Five-­year-­old Grace lived with two strangers on the fringes of a desert. Biology and the law labeled them her parents but Grace had never found them other than alien. As best she could tell, they felt the same way.

    Ardis Normand Blades was twenty-­eight years old, tall, reedy, long-­haired, and patchily blond-­bearded, with a sliver of morose face dramatized by jug ears. Those bat-­like appendages notwithstanding, he was semi–decent-looking in a greasy, vaguely dangerous way. Only semi because some of his God-­given looks were long eroded by dope and alcohol and a near-­perfect record of bad decisions.

    Ardis's childhood had been a swamp of neglect and apathy. Troublesome at school, he'd been tested numerous times by counselors of uneven qualifications. Each of them had been surprised to find Ardis's IQ significantly higher than his dull mien and chronically maladaptive behavior suggested. He'd made it through ninth grade grudgingly, could read at the fourth-­grade level, had abandoned arithmetic before mastering long division.

    All that limited Ardis's occupational goals and when he wasn't maxing out his welfare and his unemployment benefits, his jobs ranged from dishwasher to janitor to fry cook. The exception was a brief, unfortunate tenure as a carpenter's assistant that left him minus a pinkie and phobic of heavy machinery.

    Women of a certain type were drawn to Ardis's easy smile and good bone structure. Dodie Funderburk was one of those. Her academic achievements rivaled Ardis's and helped cement a shallow rapport.

    Dodie and Ardis met when they both worked at Flapper-­Jack's Pancake Palace, a struggling highway stop on the outskirts of the Antelope Valley. Ardis was charged with scraping the grill and mopping the floors after closing. Dodie bussed tables during the night shift then lingered so she could earn some extra money draining the grease traps and sweeping the dining room. The side benefit of her working late was hanging with Ardis, just the two of them smoking and trudging in the shabby eatery.

    They began flirting the first night they met, were doing it by the second, Dodie perched spread-­legged on the kitchen counter, Ardis just tall enough to get to the goal without a footstool. He was barely shy of twenty-­two and already a serious alcoholic and dabbler in meth. Dodie, three years younger, had never enjoyed regular periods and she'd always been a little curvy so it took four months for her to realize she and Ardis had created an embryo.

    One night at Flapper she figured she should say something because her belly was getting swelled up. Walking over to Ardis, who was smoking a blunt and mopping, she lifted up her T-­shirt.

    "Yeah," he said. "That's what happens."

    Dodie said, "Sure does."

    Ardis puffed and shrugged. "Got no money to get rid of it."

    "Okay," said Dodie. "Maybe I'll keep it."

    He walked away from her.

    "You love me, Ardie?"

    "Sure."

    "Okay, I'll keep it."

    "You think?"

    "Maybe."

    "Whatever."

    Marriage had never been considered. Ardis had no desire for it and while Dodie might not have minded, the way she figured they were already living together in her single-­wide in a nice slot at Desert Dreams Park because it was bigger than Ardis's horse trailer at the rear of the long-­dead palm tree farm where he'd been squatting for two years. On top of that, filing paper was a hassle and cost money and no one Dodie knew, including her own parents, ever bothered. Dodie's father had booked before she was born and she figured Ardis might do the same thing....
About the Author-
  • Jonathan Kellerman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than three dozen bestselling crime novels, including the Alex Delaware series, The Butcher's Theater, Billy Straight, The Conspiracy Club, Twisted, and True Detectives. With his wife, bestselling novelist Faye Kellerman, he co-authored Double Homicide and Capital Crimes. With his son, bestselling novelist Jesse Kellerman, he co-authored the first book of a new series, The Golem of Hollywood. He is also the author of two children's books and numerous nonfiction works, including Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children and With Strings Attached: The Art and Beauty of Vintage Guitars. He has won the Goldwyn, Edgar, and Anthony awards and has been nominated for a Shamus Award. Jonathan and Faye Kellerman live in California, New Mexico, and New York.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 29, 2015
    Many readers will struggle to sympathize with Grace Blades, the protagonist of this standalone with an improbable plot from bestseller Kellerman (Motive), after a flashback opening that shows five-year-old Grace living in a trailer park, neglected by her parents, and forced at a young age to forage. Grace overcame those horrific circumstances and is now, at 34, a highly regarded psychotherapist in L.A. Even though she’s independently wealthy, Grace doesn’t accept insurance or allow her patients to pay on a sliding scale. She has a reckless side, which she indulges in one-night flings with strangers. To her shock, one of those hookups becomes a new patient, Andrew Toner, who traveled from out of state to see her. Soon afterward, he’s found murdered, and Grace turns sleuth after figuring out that he was using an alias. Readers should be prepared for some florid prose (“the ocean to the west a series of gray-cresting waves on black satin, the mountains to the east an endless chocolate bar”).

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The Murderer's Daughter
The Murderer's Daughter
A Novel
Jonathan Kellerman
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