When the phone rings in the middle of the night, child psychologist Alex Delaware does not hesitate. Driving through the dream-lit San Fernando Valley, Alex rushes to Jamey Cadmus, the patient he had failed five years before - and who now calls with a bizarre cry for help. But by the time Alex reaches Canyon Oaks Psychiatric Hospital, Jamey is gone, surfacing a day later in the hands of the police, who believe Jamey is the infamous Lavender Slasher, a psychotic serial killer.
Wooed by a high-powered attorney to build a defense, Alex will get a chance to do what he couldn't five years ago. And when he peers into a family's troubled history and Jamey's brilliant, tormented mind, the psychologist puts himself at the heart of a high-profile case. Because Alex knows that in a realm of money, loss, and madness, something terrible pushed Jamie over the edge - or else someone is getting away with murder.
©2010 Jonathan Kellerman (P)2012 Random House Audio
"Startling...charged with suspense. This one is simply too good to miss." (Stephen King)
"Harrowing...the work of a novelist of uncommon insight and storytelling skill." (Los Angeles Times)
"High-powered.... Alex Delaware is no ordinary psychologist...he is also a born detective." (The New York Times)
No need to go over the story. Suffice it to say, it's Kellerman's early work, filled with simple sentences and ridiculous scenarios. The unlikely actions of a variety of professionals are maddening. Story has potential, and then at the end FINALLY, the explanation is too complicated. Characters are rough-hewn, except for Alex. He's perfectly rendered. Milo is still a background character and the gay card is waved about like a flag -- to denote political correctness? Because it adds only a smidgen to the story. Robin has some interesting appearances, and Alex (Kellerman's alter ego) is right there with the romance everybody dreams of -- though a bit over the top for an infraction of minor proportions. Alex knows boating and furnishings, gourmet and fashion. Alex knows psych, and what he does not know, he gets from other "experts," in this story, the experts are little geniuses.
The reader/narrator is a little stiff, but that's not the problem with him. It's his pronunciation: co-op is pronounced coop (chicken coop) cadge (twice pronounced cadged -- like tagged); other badly "read" words the narrator obviously did not know. Very distracting.
Two stars and nearly unreadable except that having read the series from end to beginning, I had something to look forward to, which never materialized. No engagement -- but long lectures on science, anatomy, South American Indians, psychotropic drugs, high finance and land development, blah, blah, blah... the story was so small, it could have been an anecdote. We have gays and gay haters, racism, sexism, rogue professionals, bikers, investigators, good cops, bad cops, astounding wealth, single moms and dirty dealings all around. And yet, there was no story, like a child's Christmas tree upon which are placed his favorite things, great and small, for the child to gaze upon and be impressed.
Let's start with the fact that most of Jonathan Kellerman's Alex Delaware books are better than most other books. That said, this one was a disappointment.
It's taken me decades to figure this out, but there's a very simple pattern to these books: Some event/crime occurs, and Alex gets called into the middle of it. Then he -- or he and his trusty (and very likable) sidekick, Milo -- try to figure out what happened. So he, or they, go around the LA area and interview all kinds of strange and weird people, some of them high-level wealthy movers and shakers, all the way down to the lowest of the low quasi-homeless. In doing so, Kellerman gives us all access to part of LA we'd never see, and insights into the kind of people most of us would never run into normally. It's heady stuff, and endlessly fascinating. I never get tired of it.
So this book starts out like that -- and steams ahead quite nicely for about 2/3 of the book, at which point Alex Delaware finds himself immersed in way too much chemistry -- actual chemistry, as in the chemical components of various hallucinogens and other mind-altering drugs. I found myself tuning out -- way way way too much technical information. I have no mental 'hooks' to hang any of this information on anyway, so it was clearly in one ear, out the other.
Unfortunately, when the book reengages, it does so with a lot of mindless characters, people who really weren't interesting -- but then, I've never found drunks interesting, either. I never could get interested in it again, just played it out to the end.
As others have noted, this was an early book in the series. It was worth listening to again, even if it was less than satisfying.
And the narrator? I'm going to give him two stars until he learns to pronounce the word "Ventura" correctly. There is no excuse for someone reading THAT many books set in the LA area to constantly, every single time, mispronounce the name of that city/county. Maybe sooner or later someone will clue him in....
One of my favorite books is brought to life in this audio version. I loved listening to it and caught several points that I missed from reading it on the page.
I'll probably be back or more of this series. I find the psychological discussions interesting, when I didn't think I would. I like the friendship between Milo and the protagonist more than I understand the relationship between the protagonist and his girlfriend. The complexity of the plot and the unreality of it were an interference, so that's why it gets 4 stars. The performance, the characters, and the tone were absorbing. If this writer matures from book to book, I'm pretty sure I'll like the later books a lot more, given that this one has promise.
Kept me guessing the whole time!
The end. Not going to spoil it.
I enjoy his clear and calm voice. I also like his character voices
I was surprised at the end. No laughter or tears.
I liked the idea of the patient disappearing but the explanation seemed a bit far-fetched.
Alex Delaware - he's the main character
Any scene with MIlo - he's the heart and soul of the story
A SECOND CHANCE TO HELP A CHILD
Anything by Jonathan Kellerman is guaranteed to be a riveting, well-written story. Thankfully his excellent story has been complimented by an excellent reader. A very enjoyable listening experience in every way.
A very early entry into the world of Dr. Alex Delaware and police detective Milo Sturgis, it was good to see how they worked together way back in the '80s, although in this particular book, they didn't start OFF working as a team. Alex, who had treated the serial killer suspect professionally 5 years before, came to wonder if Jamey Cadmus might have problems other than insanity going on. There were no lack of devious, easy-to-hate characters and certainly no lack of twists and turns either. I give it 3 stars out of 5 because I was able to outguess the ending, along with a stern reminder to myself that it's best to read all series in the order in which they're written.
Less psychobable more story
Not written it.
I've enjoyed most of Kellerman's books to varying degrees, but this one was terribly disappointing and oh, so boring. If I wanted to take a psychology course, I would have signed up for a course, not wasted a credit on this book.
"Too much detail"
No. I lost interest about a third of the way through. There was just too much minute detail which held the story back so the pace was too slow.
Probably but I'm not good with looking at the names. However, I did think he was very good and would definitely hope to hear him again.
I personally won't recommend this book despite the narration.
"Over the edge"
Great story factual content excellent, clear reading total pleasure to listen to while you're cleaning
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