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When the Bough Breaks: An Alex Delaware Novel, Book 1 | [Jonathan Kellerman]

When the Bough Breaks: An Alex Delaware Novel, Book 1

Dr. Morton Handler practiced a strange brand of psychiatry. Among his specialties were fraud, extortion, and sexual manipulation. Handler paid for his sins when he was brutally murdered in his luxurious Pacific Palisades apartment. The police have no leads, but they do have one possible witness: seven-year-old Melody Quinn.
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Publisher's Summary

In the first Alex Delaware novel, Dr. Morton Handler practiced a strange brand of psychiatry. Among his specialties were fraud, extortion, and sexual manipulation. Handler paid for his sins when he was brutally murdered in his luxurious Pacific Palisades apartment. The police have no leads, but they do have one possible witness: seven-year-old Melody Quinn.

It's psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware's job to try to unlock the terrible secret buried in Melody's memory. But as the sinister shadows in the girl's mind begin to take shape, Alex discovers that the mystery touches a shocking incident in his own past.

This connection is only the beginning, a single link in a 40-year-old conspiracy. And behind it lies an unspeakable evil that Alex Delaware must expose before it claims another innocent victim: Melody Quinn.

©2003 Jonathan Kellerman (P)2012 Random House

What the Critics Say

"An engrossing thriller.... this knockout of an entertainment is the kind of book which establishes a career in one stroke." (New York Newsday)
"Suspenseful, neatly spun, fascinating." (Philadelphia Daily News)
"Grab yourself a copy soon." (Los Angeles Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (299 )
5 star
 (83)
4 star
 (134)
3 star
 (51)
2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.9 (256 )
5 star
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3 star
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1 star
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Story
4.0 (260 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (12)
Performance
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  •  
    Martie Pretoria, South Africa 08-02-13
    Martie Pretoria, South Africa 08-02-13 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Entertaining"

    I've been a big fan of Kellerman's for a while and have read all of his books except this one, which is the first in the series about Alex and Milo. This is not his best work, but very entertaining - once you get over the idea that an ordinary psychologist can suddenly turn into a ruthless and tough PI (with more luck than anyone could hope for). Although the story deals with gruesome subject matter, I really enjoyed the story.

    The narrator must be one of the best I’ve heard thus far and does an excellent job.

    Definitely worth a credit if you are not too sensitive.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SUNEET Malaysia 07-21-13
    SUNEET Malaysia 07-21-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
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    47
    16
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    Story
    "Good story, great narration"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Don't know. I'm not a writer. Personally, I would have preferred more cerebral work from Alex Delaware, and less action. Not that I dislike action; it's just that Delaware is a psychologist, and it hurts my sense of balance that he seems more skilled below the clavicles than above. I wouldn't have minded his policeman friend Milo doing the action stuff. I guess that's why Kellerman had Delaware doing all the Karate training.


    Has When the Bough Breaks turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Not at all.


    What does Alexander Adams bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He brings the characters quite to life. He's one of the best in my opinion.


    Was When the Bough Breaks worth the listening time?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    The story was interesting: what's the audio equivalent of "unputdownable"? The plot is good. A little far-fetched, but within the acceptable range for fiction.
    I like Kellerman's style of writing, though. And I will read another Kellerman.
    Adams gets at least 5/5 for the narration..

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela Dale Foster Sykesville, MD 07-21-13
    Pamela Dale Foster Sykesville, MD 07-21-13 Member Since 2010

    I listen to and have recently started to write reviews. I've found the reviews have helped me to select books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    132
    ratings
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    155
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    Story
    "Those Who Know Too Much"
    Would you consider the audio edition of When the Bough Breaks to be better than the print version?

    I enjoyed the audio edition very much. I have never read the printed version,


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    My favorite character was Professor Garth Vandergraff. He was in his nineties but was definitely an interesting man. He had an extraordinary insight into people. He didn't live a life of illusions. When Dr. Alex Delaware went to visit him to learn as much as he could about Dr. Toll, Professor Garth Vandergraff was able to see through his false portrayal of a journalist. However, he was willing to give Dr. Delaware the information that he needed to solve a 40-year-old conspiracy. The Professor understood the importance of providing the truth in order to stop the vicious cycle of deceit, cruelty and crime that had went on for far too many years. Dr. Delaware needed to find the weak link that surrounded the conspiracy and he knew that his friend, Detective Milo, would take care of the rest with the help of the LAPD.


    What does Alexander Adams bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Alexander Adams was able to provide the character's with a personality. I felt the story happening around me. His ability to use the many voice variations provided reality to a story. The more I listen to audible books the better listening becomes.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The moment that moved me was when Dr. Alex Delaware was able to rescue Melody Quinn from the evil element in her life that could have destroyed her.


    Any additional comments?

    The first book in the Dr. Alex Delaware series was a worthwhile read. It has laid a good foundation leaving me with the desire to continue reading the next book in the series. I'm also contented to have Robin, Dr. Delaware's girlfriend, introduced in the first book. That relationship starts out strong and I would hope that will continue. Romance can be a good thing, just so the reader isn't inundated with it. The topic of pedophilia is tough subject matter but if this book can make more people aware of its precedence in our world and the emotional pain that it imprints on our youth, I compliment the author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Santa Cruz, US, Canada 07-20-13
    Jennifer Santa Cruz, US, Canada 07-20-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Perhaps its better than my rating"

    I'm giving Kellerman another listen. This one is pretty sick, as in the historical meaning of the term. The killings were done by one sick person -- or was it more than one, I can't recall at the moment. The reasons kind of made some vague sense, maybe. The vision is pretty depressing. Yet, I like the protagonist and his friendship with a cop. I see a future in there somewhere and have downloaded the next in the series. I'm hoping this will be like Jan Burke, where each books gets better than the previous. Also, Delaware is a Psychologist and his examinations of human illnesses is interesting. This is set in West L.A. where I grew up, so that helps a bit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bookbums United States 07-11-13
    Bookbums United States 07-11-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
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    "The Start of the Series"
    Any additional comments?

    This is the first book in the series; I had read the others but somehow missed this one. It filled in gaps in the backstory by introducing the other characters who appear in all or most of the later books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Harry Springfield, OH, United States 05-24-13
    Harry Springfield, OH, United States 05-24-13 Member Since 2011
    ratings
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    18
    3
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    Performance
    Story
    "Boreing"
    What would have made When the Bough Breaks better?

    The performer is lackluster and disappointing making a great story dull and boring.


    What didn’t you like about Alexander Adams’s performance?

    Monotone, lack luster and disappointing.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P. Giorgio Illinois 05-24-13
    P. Giorgio Illinois 05-24-13 Member Since 2001

    TheWriter

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Tedious, trite and unbelievable."

    I know this is an oldie, and we cannot judge it by Kellerman's recent work, but really, it was a little too preposterous. ALERT: There are scenes that describe graphic child sexual abuse here. There are words/phrases that would be unspeakable in today's sensitive times. But we cannot slight JK for that -- that was then and this is now.

    No, my complaints are about the way the story unfolds. First there is some detective work that combines Milo & Alex, then Milo disappears and Alex is a psychologist, detective, and near-mercenary. There are some nice homey scenes between Milo and Alex and their respective amours, but not enough of them.

    At any rate, the bad guys are rounded up and the most hated of them have stories to tell; long, stories, told in retrospect, as if it justified their adult behavior.

    Alex treks to other states, gets in fights, shoots, captures and threatens people until the truth comes out. When it does, all the truths link up into a somewhat surprising outcome.

    I am glad that JK decided to take the weapons away from Alex in his later, more mature books.

    I know it was the launch of the series, so for me, having read all the subsequent books, this one lacks the cohesiveness and logic of the best and most modern of the Alex/Milo canon.

    I would not recommend this book, however, because of the graphic descriptions of child sexual abuse. I would feel responsible to someone who read it on my recommendation and encountered this content. I would not recommend it to anyone who loves the Milo/Alex pairings because this one does not illustrate their relationship as we have come to expect.

    For a first time reader of JK, it is always best to begin a series at the beginning, and this one, because of some of the content, might turn someone away.

    I had to check to be sure, but there is a movie (1994) of the same title, which seems to include some aspects of this plot, though it doesn't seem an exact rendering.







    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janels Highlands Ranch, CO, United States 05-23-13
    Janels Highlands Ranch, CO, United States 05-23-13 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Every sentence artfully crafted, witty--a delight!"

    I didn't remember Kellerman's novels being so incredibly well-written, witty, and so very thoroughly enjoyable! The narrator was perfect, but somehow I couldn't help but be reminded of the books by David Rosenfelt, and his Andy Carpenter character--could have been a brother to Alex Delaware. I loved Rosenfelt's clever books, and Kellerman somehow succeeds at bringing incredible depth of character, while artfully crafting every word and every sentence so that the result is an uninterrupted and hilarious delight.

    Alex Delaware, a wise-cracking, self-effacing delight of a psychologist, best buddy of gay detective Milo Sturgis, somehow deduces his way into the midst of unsolvable crimes, and escapes by the skin of his teeth. It is a joy-ride to amble through peoples' minds with him.

    I am going to stock up on more Kellerman books; I was sorry this ended!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Bee Toronto 04-21-13
    Ryan Bee Toronto 04-21-13

    RyanBee

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A wee bit long in the tooth....."
    Would you consider the audio edition of When the Bough Breaks to be better than the print version?

    I haven't read the print version, but the narrator was clear and interesting.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    It did, however his use of quite a bit of purple prose and overly descriptive language took away from some of the suspense.


    What does Alexander Adams bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I thought his voice work was above average, and the characters were unique.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Dr. Delaware's compassion towards children. He truly cares.


    Any additional comments?

    A great introduction to a thus far interesting series. Just finished book 2 and am going back for more. You can tell the author is/was a medical professional by his proper use of terminology.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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