Over the course of twenty acclaimed novels of suspense, most recently The Murder Book and A Cold Heart , New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman has pitted psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware against adversaries as disturbed and dangerous as Delaware is clever and compassionate. Now in Kellerman's gripping new novel, a different hero will hold the reader spellbound: a dedicated young psychologist, unschooled in the ways of violent crime and incalculable evil-until his life is irreversibly touched by both . . . and he is thrust into a chilling hunt for a twenty-first-century Jack the Ripper. When his brief, passionate romance with nurse Jocelyn Banks is cut short by her kidnapping and brutal murder, Dr. Jeremy Carrier is left emotionally devastated, haunted by his lover's grisly demise and warily eyed by police still seeking a prime suspect in the unsolved slaying. To escape the pain, he buries himself in his work as staff psychologist at City Central Hospital-only to be drawn deeper into a waking nightmare when more women turn up murdered in the same gruesome fashion as Jocelyn Banks . . . and the suspicion surrounding Jeremy intensifies. Now, the only way to prove his innocence and put his torment to rest is to follow the trail of a cunning psychopath. Spurring on Jeremy's investigation is Dr. Arthur Chess, an enigmatic pathologist who specializes in examining the dead, but harbors a keen fascination with the darker deeds committed by the living. Arthurdraws Jeremy into an unexpected friendship, and into the confidence of a cryptic society devoted to matters unknown and unspoken. When he suddenly slips away, Jeremy is left to contend with an onslaught of anonymous clues-and the growing realization that a harrowing game of cat and mouse has been set in motion. But who besides Jeremy is playing-and who is making the rules? Before the killer strikes again, Jeremy races to connect the disturbing puzzle pieces being fed to him. Yet his search for answers only seems to yield more questions. And deepening the mystery is the undeniable presence of someone watching it all-and guiding Jeremy's investigation from behind the scenes. As the game intensifies, Jeremy must decide if a secret ally is setting him on the right path . . . or a sadistic enemy is setting him up for a fate far beyond even the most twisted imagination. From the Hardcover edition.
Kellerman re-invigorates a number of tried-and-true mystery conventions in this gripping, intricately plotted, non-Alex Delaware stand-alone novel of psychological suspense. A psychologist at City Central Hospital, Jeremy Carrier, is attempting to put his life back together after the brutal murder of his girlfriend, Jocelyn, when he is approached by elderly Dr. Arthur Chess with an offer of friendship. Jeremy, still too traumatized by Jocelyn's death to attempt even the most casual of relationships, initially rejects Chess's solicitation. After further conversation, he accepts an invitation to an elegant dinner at a very private club with Chess and five other older men and women of high intellectual and social rank, all of whom have an extreme interest in crime and the nature of evil. Just as a halting, tentative rapport with fellow doctor Angela Rios begins to develop, Jeremy receives the first in a series of mysterious, anonymous messages. By piecing these messages together with other clues from Dr. Chess, he comes to understand that someone is trying to point him toward the killer of his beloved Jocelyn and a number of other local women. Kellerman is a master at building character and slowly unfolding events, divulging just the right amount of information. Jeremy uncovers more murders, both past and present, and eventually realizes he's had everything wrong from the very beginning. Savvy mystery readers will not be surprised that the likable Jeremy finally comes to the correct conclusions and identifies the killer, earns the respect of his elderly friends and the love of his new lady. (Dec.) Forecast: Kellerman's Alex Delaware books have won just about every award in the mystery business and are perennial bestsellers. As his nonseries outings sell almost as well, and Ballantine promises a strong publicity push, booksellers can expect this one to follow suit. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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November 22, 2004
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Excerpt from The Conspiracy Club by Jonathan Kellerman
Raging emotions, dead tissue.
Polar opposites was the way Jeremy Carrier had always seen it.
In a hospital setting, no two disciplines were less connected than psychology and pathology. As a practitioner of the former, Jeremy prided himself on an open mind; a good psychotherapist worked hard at avoiding stereotypes.
But during all his years of training and clinical work at City Central Hospital, Jeremy had met few pathologists who didn't fit a mold: withdrawn, mumbly types, more comfortable with gobbets of necrosed flesh, the abstract expressionism of cell smears, and the cold-storage ambience of the basement morgue, than with living, breathing patients.
And his fellow psychologists, psychiatrists, and all the other soldiers of the mental health army, were, more often than not, overly delicate souls repelled by the sight of blood.
Not that Jeremy had actually known any pathologists, even after a decade of passing them in the hallways. The social structure of the hospital had regressed to high school sensibilities: Us-Them as religion, a lusty proliferation of castes, cliques, and cabals, endless jockeying for power and turf. Adding to that was the end-means inversion that captures every bureaucracy: the hospital had devolved from a healing place needing funds to treat patients to a large-scale municipal employer requiring patient fees to meet its staff payroll.
All that created a certain asocial flavor.
A confederacy of isolates.
At City Central, like was attracted to like, and only the last-ditch necessities of patient care led to cross-pollination: internists finally admitting defeat and calling in surgeons, gen- eralists taking deep breaths before plunging into the morass of consultation.
What reason could there be for a pathologist to contact a psychologist?
Because of all that-and because life's hellish wrist-flick had turned Jeremy Carrier into a tormented, distracted young man-he was caught off-balance by Arthur Chess's overture.