The Conspiracy Club, by Jonathan Kellerman

Jeremy is a hospital psychiatrist trying to put his life back together after his girlfriend was brutally murdered. The police seem to suspect him, and when another victim is found, he can't provide a convincing alibi so remains under suspicion. Then Jeremy is befriended by Arthur, an elderly pathologist who invites him to dinner with a group of his friends, and shortly afterwards disappears. Then Jeremy begins to receive postcards and notes which seem to hint at the identity of the murderer, and encourage him to embark on his own investigations.

This book is slow-moving, has no sympathetic characters, and has an implausible plot, full of non sequiturs. I think it was partly, but not entirely, due to the voices that the reader used for the main characters, but I didn't like them at all and so couldn't feel any empathy for the situation, even if it had been remotely believable.

It's not satisfactorily explained why Arthur and co., who seem to have a pretty good idea of who the killer is, don't just tell the police rather than sending obscure clues to Jeremy. Jeremy's first guess at the killer's identity is wrong, but is based on that person behaving fairly oddly, and having been in the same place at the same time as previous murders. When that suspect is eliminated, there's no explanation offered for this: must just have been coincidence I suppose.

Also, Jeremy's job appears to be just to sit with patients and talk to them to make them feel better about their illnesses, or forthcoming operations. Is that all psychiatrists in a hospital do? Maybe so.

I wanted to listen to the whole book in case there was some twist at the end which made sense of the rest of it, but there wasn't. The writing style was efficient enough, but I'm not going to rush out for any of his other books.

Completed : 18-Dec-2004 (audiobook)

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