Perennial bestseller and acknowledged master of the psychological thriller, Jonathan Kellerman has created his most riveting and memorable work to date in the Alex Delaware novel about a troubled and elusive young woman whose brutal murder forces the brilliant psychologist-detective to confront his own fallibility.Lauren Teague is a beautiful, defiant, borderline-delinquent teenager when her parents bring her to Alex Delaware's office. But for all Alex's skill and effort, Lauren resists-angrily, provocatively. Reluctantly, the psychologist chalks Lauren up as one of the inevitable failures of a challenging profession. But years later, when Alex encounters Lauren as a stag party's featured entertainment, both doctor and patient are sticken with shame. And the ultimate horror takes place when, soon after, Lauren's brutalized corpse is found dumped in an alley. Alex disregards the advice of his trusted friend, LAPD detective Milo Sturgis, and jeopardizes his relationship with longtime lover, Robin Castagna, in order to pursue Lauren's murderer.
Alex Delaware investigates when a teenaged patient he couldn't help winds up dead. Publication was bumped from December to maximize Christmas sales. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 31, 2000
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Excerpt from Flesh and Blood by Jonathan Kellerman
Sad truth: Had she been just a patient, I probably wouldnýt have remembered her.
All those years listening, so many faces. There was a time I recalled every one of them. Forgetting comes with experience. It doesnýt bother me as much as it used to.
Her mother phoned my service on a Saturday morning soon after New Yearýs.
ýA Mrs. Jane Abbot,ý said the operator. ýShe says her daughterýs an old patient. Lauren Teague.ý
Jane Abbotýs name meant nothing to me, but Lauren Teague sparked an uneasy nostalgia. It was an 818 number, somewhere in the Valley. When Iýd known the family theyýd lived in West L.A. I searched my old case files before returning the call.
Teague, Lauren Lee. Intake date, ten years ago, the tail end of my Wilshire Boulevard practice. Shortly after, I cashed in some real estate profits, tried to drop out, met a beautiful woman, became friends with a sad, brilliant detective, learned more than I wanted to know about bad things. Since then Iýd avoided the commitment of long-term therapy cases, stuck to court consults and forensic work, the kinds of puzzles that removed me from the confines of my office.
Lauren had been fifteen at referral. Thin file: one history-taking meeting with the parents followed by two sessions with the girl. Then a missed appointment, no explanation. The next day the father left a message canceling any future treatment. Unpaid balance for the final session; Iýd made a halfhearted effort to collect, then written it off.
When old patients get in touch itýs usually because theyýre doing great and want to brag, or exactly the opposite. Either way they tend to be people with whom Iýve connected. Lauren Teague didnýt qualify. Far from it. If anything, I was the last person sheýd want to see. Why was her mother contacting me now?
Presenting problems: poor school achiev., noncompliance at home. Clin. impressions: fath. angry; moth. possib. deprssd. Tension bet moth and fatherýmarital strss? Parents agree re: Laurenýs behavior as the prim. prob. Uneventful birth hx, only child, no sig. health probs., contact pediatric M.D. to verify. School: per Mom: ýLaurenýs always been smart.ý ýUsed to love to read, now hates it.ý B2 aver. till last year, then ýchange of attitude,ý new friendsýýbumsý (fath), some truancy, Cýs and Dýs. Basic mood is ýsullen.ý ýNo communic.ý Parents try to talk, get no resp. Suspect drug use.