BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Jonathan Kellerman's Victims. Jonathan Kellerman has made the psychological thriller his own gripping province with his bestselling series of Alex Delaware novels. Now, Delaware's new adventure leads the sleuthing psychologist on a harrowing exploration into the realm he knows best: the human psyche, in all its complexity, mystery, and terrifying propensity for darkness. "Been a while since I had me a nice little whodunit," homicide detective Milo Sturgis tells Alex Delaware. But there's definitely nothing nice about the brutal tableau behind the yellow crime-scene tape. On a lonely lover's lane in the hills of Los Angeles, a young couple lies murdered in a car. Each bears a single gunshot wound to the head. The female victim has also been impaled by a metal spike. And that savage stroke of psychopathic fury tells Milo this case will call for more than standard police procedure. As he explains to Delaware, "Now we're veering into your territory." It is dark territory, indeed. The dead woman remains unidentified and seemingly unknown to everyone. But her companion has a name: Gavin Quick-and his troubled past eventually landed him on a therapist's couch. It's there, on familiar turf, that Delaware hopes to find vital clues. And that means going head-to-head with Dr. Mary Lou Koppel, a popular celebrity psychologist who fiercely guards the privacy of her clients . . . dead or alive. But when there's another gruesomely familiar murder, Delaware surmises that his investigation has struck a nerve. As he trolls the twisted wreckage of Quick's tormented last days, what he finds isn't madness, but the cold-blooded method behind it. And as he follows a chain of greed, corruption, and betrayal snaking hideously through the profession he thought he knew, he'll discover territory where even he never dreamed of treading. As provocative as it is suspenseful, Therapy is premier Kellerman that finds the award-winning author firing on all creative cylinders-and carrying readers on an electrifying ride to a place only he can take them, for an experience they won't soon forget.
Kellerman returns to series hero Alex Delaware after last year's gripping stand-alone, The Conspiracy Club. The success of the long-running Delaware series is testament to both the author's skills and the reading public's hunger for mysteries featuring compassionate, intelligent protagonists, interesting secondary characters (including complex villains), strong plot lines and clear, unpretentious writing. Kellerman delivers all these once again in a tale that opens with Alex at dinner with his best friend, L.A. police lieutenant Milo Sturgis, when the sound of a police siren calls them to a nearby double homicide. The two victims are found in a Mustang convertible; the young man's zipper is open, the young woman's pants are down and each has a bullet in the brain. The man is identified as Gavin Quick, but little is known about the woman other than she's wearing Armani perfume and Jimmy Choo shoes. Milo and Alex interview Gavin Quick's nutty mother, Sheila, and his father, Jerry, a metals dealer and all-around shady character, as well as Gavin's therapist, Mary Lou Koppel. From there, the list of characters branches into an ever-widening delta of suspects and dead bodies. The investigation marches relentlessly on as Milo and Alex run each new lead to ground, slowly constructing an intricate motive that includes abusive boyfriends, eccentric ex-husbands, Medi-Cal fraud, a bent parole officer and Rwandan genocide. This one's more methodical than suspenseful and the final shoot-out and revelations feel tacked on, but fans won't mind as Alex and Milo eventually wrap everything up nicely, and Kellerman provides intriguing details of Alex's new love interest, Allison Gwynn. (Apr. 20) Forecast: Another bestseller. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 31, 2003
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Excerpt from Therapy by Jonathan Kellerman
A few years ago a psychopath burned down my house.
The night it happened, I was out to dinner with the woman who'd designed the house and lived in it with me. We were driving up Beverly Glen when the sirens cut through the darkness, ululating, like coyote death wails.
The noise died quickly, indicating a nearby disaster, but there was no reason to assume the worst. Unless you're the worst kind of fatalist, you think: "Something lousy happened to some poor devil."
That night, I learned different.
Since then, the Klaxon of an ambulance or a fire truck in my neighborhood sets off something inside me -- a crimp of shoulder, a catch of breath, an arrhythmic flutter of the plum-colored thing in my chest.
Pavlov was right.
I'm trained as a clinical psychologist, could do something about it but have chosen not to. Sometimes anxiety makes me feel alive.
When the sirens shrieked, Milo and I were having dinner at an Italian place at the top of the Glen. It was ten-thirty on a cool June night. The restaurant closes at eleven, but we were the last patrons, and the waiter was looking tired. The woman I was now seeing was teaching a night course in abnormal psychology at the U., and Milo's partner, Rick Silverman, was busy at the Cedars-Sinai ER trying to salvage the five most seriously injured victims of a ten-car pileup on the Santa Monica Freeway.
Milo had just closed the file on a robbery-turned-to-multiple-homicide at a liquor store on Pico Boulevard. The solve had taken more persistence than brainwork. He was in a position to pick his cases, and no new ones had crossed his desk.
I'd finally finished testifying at the seemingly endless child-custody hearings waged by a famous director and his famous actress wife. I'd begun the consult with some optimism. The director had once been an actor, and both he and his ex knew how to perform. Now, three years later, two kids who'd started out in pretty good shape were basket cases living in France.