Book Review: The Murderer’s Daughter

Book: The Murderer’s daughter

Author: Johnathan Kellerman

Publisher:  Random House – Ballantine (August 18th 2015)

Hardcover: 384 pages


Book cover- The murderer's daughter


The murderer’s daughter is a character-driven thriller portraying the life of a bold and brilliant psychologist, Dr Grace Blades. Grace helps troubled people, specially those who have lost their loved ones. She herself has lost her parents in a murder-suicide when she was five. Passing through a chain of foster homes, she finally finds a loving family. But, she still has a dark side, and leads a double life.

A new client, Andrew Toner, finds her through an article she has written about the psychological aspects of being related to a murderer. He recognises her from their recent encounter. He is hesitant to talk, and leaves within a few minutes. The next day, a homicide detective turns up at her door with the news of his death.

Andrew Toner, which wasn’t his real name,  has brought back the evil from Grace’s past. She decides to confront the situation to prevent the police from uncovering her double life.

I liked Grace, and her badass attitude. She is cold, unemotional, and totally unrelatable, but she is a survivor. She survived a traumatic childhood, and has the courage to accept her flaws, as well as others’ flaws. Though she still carries the scars of her past, she doesn’t use them as an excuse for her behaviour.

The  murderer’s daughter moves back and forth effortlessly between flashbacks of Grace’s past, and the present. The plot portraying the present drudges along boring description of every little activity. I used to love the detailed description in Kellerman’s Alex Delware series. In this novel, these unnecessary details distract the readers from Grace’s current plight, and weaken the thriller.

However, the Grace’s past story written in flashbacks showcases one of the best written story, I’ve ever read. Whenever the present story tested my patience to the point of giving up, the plot delved into the past and grabbed my attention. And yes, I did finish the book in one sitting.

The author, Johnathan Kellerman, beautifully portrays the trauma a child suffers due to emotional neglect, and abuse. Though a brilliant child, little Grace finds it hard to cope with her troubles. To comfort herself, she distances herself from her problems, and indirectly from people in general.

Book Description:

Master psychologist by day, seductive adrenaline junkie by night, Grace has a very dark past—one that’s about to bleed into a terrifying present.

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.

The Verdict:

The Murderer’s Daughter is an okay thriller. However, the beautiful narration of Grace’s childhood takes the book to a must-read category for amazing writing.

*I received an advance review copy from Random House Publishing Group- Ballantine via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

You can buy the book at Amazon

P.S. The book as a rape scene described in detail at the end, which might be horrifying to some readers. Since, I skip such scenes, I have no idea how gory it actually is.


12 thoughts on “Book Review: The Murderer’s Daughter

  1. i found the detailed description of the rape scene at the end of the book unnecessary and horrifying. we don’t need to give men more roadmaps on ways to commit violence against women. as a psychologist i would also think Kellerman might be more sensitive to how what he writes might affect and even traumatize his women readers.

    1. I agree with you that this scene was totally unnecessary even to prove the cruelty of the antagonist. I think that was already proved by his childhood behaviour, and thereafter.
      Thanks for commenting. Have a great day!

  2. Seems like a different kind of book. Most of the problems will be solved if tried to understand others’ perspectives. But, it is not easy to put on else’s shoes. Books like this can help develop such broad mentality, I guess.

    Thanks for this review, Kiran. Not sure if I would buy and read this book, but, I am happy that I read your review.

    TC, keep smiling 🙂

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