“Bones,” by Jonathan Kellerman; read by John Rubinstein; Random House Audio (unabridged, 10 CDs, 12 hours, $44.95). In print: Ballantine Books ($9.99, paperback, $27, hardcover)

By now, it’s no secret that Jonathan Kellerman has solidified the formula for his thrillers about L.A. psychologist Alex Delaware whose job as a consultant puts him in one adventure after another.

First, there’s the crime, usually in a high-profile area of L.A. or in a secluded little area that’s so interesting but not well known; followed by a drive through L.A.’s neighborhoods with L.A.P.D. Lt. Milo Sturgis, meeting an array of odd characters from the highest and lowest strata of society. The plot will twist and turn with an ending guaranteed to surprise.

That Kellerman doesn’t break new ground with his series or delve into issues about contemporary society or even straddle the line of literary novel and mystery aren’t really concerns. What Kellerman does is entertain.

“Bones,” Kellerman’s 23rd novel in this series, works because the author has that formula polished to a fine sheen. Alex and Milo investigate when a skeleton is found at the Bird Marsh, a nature sanctuary near Marina del Rey. More skeletons are uncovered, including that of a young piano teacher who worked for a wealthy family who can’t be found.

As the longtime reader for Kellerman’s series, veteran actor John Rubinstein never falters. Rubinstein has become so closely aligned to this series that he is the only reader who knows how to bring Kellerman’s characters to life.

Rubinstein and Kellerman are the perfect match.


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