Review: The Murderer’s Daughter by Jonathan Kellerman

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Official Synopsis:

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.


I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

The Murderer’s Daughter will be available August 18, 2015

This book made about zero sense to me. I’m a bit flummoxed about how to even review it.

The story started out really slow for me. It took a good 200 pages or so to really get into it. Honestly, if it wasn’t an ARC, I probably would have stopped reading. Grace, the main character, was not exactly likable. I didn’t hate her, but I was kind of ambivalent towards her, even her tragic background didn’t really make her a sympathetic character for me. She’s a psychologist, but she has her own brand of crazy. Her desire for adrenaline and anonymous sexual encounters is not really ever explained and just made her more unlikable to me.

After one of these encounters, Grace has a new patient and it turns out to be the man from the night before. Even though she can’t treat him because of what happened (because apparently she’s ethical now), she still tries to talk to him about why he sought her out to begin with. He acts really nervous and leaves before really telling her anything. Not soon after, she’s contacted by a detective when her business card is found on a murdered John Doe.

Grace is afraid this makes her a person of interest. She lies about her chance encounter with him the night before he came to her office and then decides to launch her own investigation into who this guy really was. And here the real crazy begins. Grace become some kind of Jason Bourne type, acting as a skilled stalker, investigator, spy, assassin, etc. She makes wild conjectures with very little information and no proof that all end up being right. The murder victim obviously has a link to Grace’s past, but honestly the link is pretty weak.

Every few chapters is told in an alternate timeline with Grace’s past. I generally love multiple timelines, but it took me a long time to get into it here. Despite the in depth history, I just didn’t feel like the character was well-developed. She was an unrelatable and pretty unrealistic character. The supporting characters weren’t much more than that and with the exception of Malcolm, the man who ended up taking Grace in, none of them really stand out.

Eventually, the story did pick up for me. The backstory chapters were more compelling and Grace ended up getting some real leads. However, the end just wasn’t satisfying or very believable.

Overall, I was not a fan of The Murderer’s Daughter. The writing style didn’t really click with me for a big portion of the book and the main character was pretty unlikable. The plot was not very believable and it annoyed me that Grace just made up a dozen wild theories and they all ended up being right. I’m sure there are people who will probably enjoy this book, but I wasn’t one of them.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2 Stars

2 stars