The doctors call it Munchausen by proxy, the terrifying disease that causes parents to induce illness in their own children. Now, in his most frightening case, Dr. Alex Delaware may have to prove that a child's own mother or father is making her sick. Twenty-one-month-old Cassie Jones is bright, energetic, the picture of health. Yet her parents rush her to the emergency room night after night with medical symptoms no doctor can explain. Cassie's parents seem sympathetic and deeply concerned. Her favorite nurse is a model of devotion. Yet when child psychologist Alex Delaware is called in to investigate, instinct tells him that one of them may be a monster. Then a physician at the hospital is brutally murdered. A shadowy death is revealed. And Alex and his friend LAPD detective Milo Sturgis have only hours to uncover the link between these shocking events and the fate of an innocent child. From the Paperback edition.
Kellerman's psychologist/sleuth Alex Delaware nimbly executes tricky steps of his own when called in to consult on the mysterious ailments afflicting a baby being seen at his training hospital in Los Angeles. In his seventh appearance (after Private Eyes ), Delaware is in top form, carefully pursuing the possibility that 21-month-old Cassie Jones may be the victim of Munchausen's Disease by Proxy, a complex syndrome in which a parent, usually the mother, secretly causes the symptoms that endanger the child. That Cassie is the only grandchild of the hospital's new CEO, a corporate hotshot who has demoralized the staff with cutbacks and a new administration of ``paramilitary types,'' adds political twists to the case's knotty psychological aspects. After a doctor involved in computer research is murdered in the hospital parking lot, Delaware calls on his friend Milo, a gay LAPD homicide cop currently serving as an input clerk. They link an earlier murder to the hospital and then key into a secret federal investigation, all the while trying to keep Cassie safe. With familiar characters, including Delaware's woodworking girlfriend Robin, and some well-developed new ones, notably the hospital's thuggish security head and an uptight pediatric nurse, Kellerman steadily turns up the suspense, reserving some surprises to spring near the end of this intricate tale, the best of recent Alex Delaware stories. (Jan.) -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 01, 2003
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