Hollywood homicide detective Petra Connor has helped psychologist Alex Delaware crack tough cases in the past. And in Jonathan Kellerman's New York Times bestseller Billy Straight she took the lead in the desperate hunt for a teenage runaway stalked by a vengeful murderer. Now the complex and wryly compassionate Petra is once again at the center of the action, in a novel of cunning twists and page-turning suspense.Lifeless bodies sprawl in a dance-club parking lot after a brutal L.A. drive-by. Of the four seemingly random victims, one stands out: a girl with pink shoes who cannot be identified-and who, days later, remains a Jane Doe. With zero leads and no apparent motive, it's another case destined for the cold file-until Petra decides to follow her instincts and descends into a world of traveling grifters and bloodthirsty killers, pursuing a possible eyewitness whose life is in mortal danger.Finding her elusive quarry-alive-isn't all Petra has on her plate: departmental politics threatens to sabotage her case, and her personal life isn't doing much better. If all that wasn't enough, Isaac Gomez, a whiz-kid grad student researching homicide statistics at the station house, is convinced he's stumbled upon a bizarre connection between several unsolved murders. The victims had nothing in common, yet each died by the same method, on the same date-a date that's rapidly approaching again. And that leaves Petra with little time to unravel the twisted logic of a cunning predator who's evaded detection for years-and whose terrible hour is once more at hand."Why is it so hard to put down a Kellerman thriller?" asks Publishers Weekly. "It's simple: the nonstop action leaves you breathless; the plot twists keep you guessing; the themes . . . are provocative." Those in need of still further proof that "Kellerman has shaped the psychological mystery novel into an art form" (Los Angeles Times Book Review) need look no further than Twisted.
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November 22, 2004
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Excerpt from Twisted by Jonathan Kellerman
May brought azure skies and California optimism to Hollywood. Petra Connor worked nights and slept through the blue. She had her own reason to be cheerful: solving two whodunit murders.
The first was a dead body at a wedding. The Ito-Park wedding, main ballroom of the Roosevelt Hotel, Japanese-American bride, Korean-American groom, a couple of law students whoýd met at the U. Her father, a Glendale-born surgeon; his, an immigrant appliance dealer, barely able to speak English. Petra wondered about culture clash.
The body was one of the brideýs cousins, a thirty-two-year-old CPA named Baldwin Yoshimura, found midway through the reception, in an unlocked stall of the hotel menýs room, his neck twisted so hard, he looked like something out of The Exorcist. It took strong hands to do that, the coroner pronounced, but that was where the medical wisdom terminated.
Petra, working with no partner once again, talked to every friend and relative and finally unearthed the fact that Baldwin Yoshimura had been a serious lothario whoýd made no distinction between married and unmarried conquests. As she continued to probe, she encountered nervous glances on the brideýs side. Finally, a third cousin named Wendy Sakura blurted out the truth: Baldwin had been fooling with his brother Darwinýs wife. The slut.
Darwin, a relative black sheep for this highly educated clan, was a martial arts instructor who worked at a studio in Woodland Hills. Petra forced herself to wake up during daylight, dropped in at the dojo, watched him put an advanced judo class through its paces. Stocky little guy, shaved head, pleasant demeanor. When the class was over, he approached Petra, arms extended for cuffing, saying, ýI did it. Arrest me.ý
Back at the station, he refused a lawyer, couldnýt wait to spill: Suspicious for some time, heýd followed his wife and his brother as they left the wedding and entered an unused banquet room. After passing behind a partition, said wife gave said sib enthusiastic head. Darwin allowed her to finish, waited until Baldwin went to the john, confronted his brother, did the deed.
ýWhat about your wife?ý said Petra.
ýWhat about her?ý
ýYou didnýt hurt her.ý
ýSheýs a woman,ý said Darwin Yoshimura. ýSheýs weak. Baldwin shouldýve known better.ý
The second whodunit started off as bloodstains in Los Feliz and ended up with d.b. out in Angeles Crest National Forest. This victim was a grocer named Bedros Kashigian. The blood was found in the parking lot behind his market on Edgemont. Kashigian and his five-year-old Cadillac were missing.
Two days later, forest rangers found the Caddy pulled to the side of the road in the forest, Kashigianýs body slumped behind the wheel. Dried blood had streamed out of his left ear, run onto his face and shirt, but no obvious wounds. Maggot analysis said heýd been dead the entire two days, or close to it. Meaning, instead of driving home from work, heýd made his way thirty miles east. Or had been taken there.
As far as Petra could tell, the grocer was a solid citizen, married, three kids, nice house, no outstanding debts. But a solid week of investigating Kashigianýs activities gave rise to the fact that heýd been involved in a brawl two days before his disappearance.