BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Jonathan Kellerman's Victims.No one conducts a more chilling, suspenseful, thoroughly engrossing tour through the winding corridors of criminal behavior and the secret chambers of psychopathology than Jonathan Kellerman, the bestselling "master of the psychological thriller" (People). Now the incomparable team of psychologist Alex Delaware and homicide cop Milo Sturgis embark on their most dangerous excursion yet, into the dark places where risk runs high and blood runs cold. It's a story tailor-made for the nightly news: Dylan Meserve and Michaela Brand, young lovers and fellow acting students, vanish on the way home from a rehearsal. Three days later, the two of them are found in the remote mountains of Malibu -battered and terrified after a harrowing ordeal at the hands of a sadistic abductor. The details of the nightmarish event are shocking and brutal: The couple was carjacked at gunpoint by a masked assailant and subjected to a horrific regimen of confinement, starvation and assault. But before long, doubts arise about the couple's story, and as forensic details unfold, the abduction is exposed as a hoax. Charged as criminals themselves, the aspiring actors claim emotional problems, and the court orders psychological evaluation for both. Michaela is examined by Alex Delaware, who finds that her claims of depression and stress ring true enough. But they don't explain her lies, and Alex is certain that there are hidden layers in this sordid psychodrama that even he hasn't been able to penetrate. Nevertheless, the case is closed-only to be violently reopened when Michaela is savagely murdered. When the police look for Dylan, they find that he's gone. Is he the killer or a victim himself? Casting their dragnet into the murkiest corners of L.A., Delaware and Sturgis unearth more questions than answers-including a host of eerily identical killings. What really happened to the couple who cried wolf? And what bizarre and brutal epidemic is infecting the city with terror, madness, and sudden, twisted death?
In bestseller Kellerman's pulse-pounding 20th Alex Delaware novel (after 2005's Rage), the Los Angeles psychologist looks into the murder of attractive 23-year-old Michaela Brand, an aspiring actress. Soon after Michaela and a fellow acting student, 24-year-old Dylan Meserve, achieve their 15 minutes of fame by staging their abduction, their hoax is exposed and Michaela turns up dead in circumstances reminiscent of her faked assault. Delaware joins forces with his sometimes official partner in crime, LAPD detective Milo Sturgis, and together they pursue an investigative trail littered with corpses leading to an unconventional acting school and the family of the eccentric woman who runs it. While the murderer's identity may not be that surprising, the author's ability to convey the unrelenting sadness of his characters' lives and his deep psychological insights will satisfy those looking for more than mere thrills. (On sale Mar. 28) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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1 . Excellent
Posted May 12, 2009 by Jenn , TorontoThis book was gripping and had lots of twists and turns. One of his best books yet.
February 26, 2007
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Excerpt from Gone by Jonathan Kellerman
She nearly killed an innocent man.
Creighton "Charley" Bondurant drove carefully because his life depended on it. Latigo Canyon was mile after mile of neck-wrenching, hairpin twists. Charley had no use for government meddlers but the 15 mph signs posted along the road were smart.
He lived ten miles up from Kanan Dume Road, on a four-acre remnant of the ranch his grandfather had owned during Coolidge's time. All those Arabians and Tennessee walkers and the mules Grandpa kept around because he liked the creatures' spirit. Charley had grown up with families like his. No-nonsense ranchers, a few rich folk who were still okay when they came up to ride on weekends. Now all you had were rich pretenders.
Diabetic and rheumatoid and depressed, Charley lived in a two-room cabin with a view of oak-covered crests and the ocean beyond. Sixty-eight, never married. Poor excuse for a man, he'd scold himself on nights when the medicines mixed with the beer and his mood sank low.
On happier days, he pretended to be an old cowboy.
This morning, he was somewhere between those extremes. His bunions hurt like hell. Two horses had died last winter and he was down to three skinny white mares and a half-blind sheepdog. Feed and hay bills ate up most of his Social Security. But the nights had been warm for October, and he hadn't dreamed bad and his bones felt okay.
It was hay that got him up at seven that morning, rolling out of bed, gulping coffee, chewing on a stale sweet roll, to hell with his blood sugar. A little time-out to get the internal plumbing going and by eight he was dressed and starting up the pickup.
Coasting in neutral down the dirt road that fed to Latigo, he looked both ways a couple of times, cleared the crust from his eyes, shifted into first, and rolled down. The Topanga Feed Bin was a twenty-minute ride south and he figured to stop along the way at the Malibu Stop & Shop for a few six-packs, a tin of Skoal, and some Pringles.
Nice morning, a big old blue sky with just a few clouds from the east, sweet air blowing up from the Pacific. Switching on his eight-track, he listened to Ray Price and drove slow enough to stop for deer. Not too many of the pests before dark but you never knew what to expect up in the mountains.
The naked girl jumped out at him a lot faster than any deer.
Eyes full of terror, mouth stretched so wide Charley swore he could see her tonsils.
She ran across the road, straight in the path of his truck, hair blowing wild, waving her arms.
Stomping the brake pedal hard, Charley felt the pickup lurch, wobble, and sway. Then the sharp skid to the left, straight at the battered guardrail that separated him from a thousand foot of nothing.
Hurtling toward blue sky.
He kept hitting the brake. Kept flying. Said his prayers and opened the door and prepared to bail.
His damn shirt stuck on the door handle. Eternity looked real close. What a stupid way to go!
Hands ripping at his shirt fabric, mouth working in a combination of curses and benedictions, Charley's gnarled body tightened, his legs turned to iron bars, and his sore foot pressed that brake pedal down to the damn floorboard.
The truck kept going, fishtailed, slid, spattered gravel.
Shuddered. Rolled. Bumped the guard.
Charley could hear the rail groan.
The truck stopped.
Charley freed his shirt and got out. His chest was tight and he couldn't suck any breath into his lungs. Wouldn't that be the shits: spared a free fall to oblivion only to drop dead of a damned heart attack.
He gasped and swallowed air, felt his field of vision grow black and braced himself against the truck. The chassis creaked and Charley jumped back, felt himself going down again.