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4.0 out of 5 starsearly-days for Delaware and Sturgis
Reviewed in the United States on April 11, 2019
In the first half-dozen or so Alex Delaware books - of which this is the second - Kellerman was still writing and writing and writing, providing sometimes maybe too much information but definitely not yet stripping the stories down to a standard three-act story with little meat. 'Blood Test' is a good book but does suffer a bit from some sub-plots that never truly resolve or offer anything of substance to the main story. Still, Kellerman knows his stuff, and both Delaware and Sturgis are great characters. I've been reading the series in order for years, and if you have an interest in digging into a great and enduring series, I'd recommend doing the same, with the inclusion of this book.
4.0 out of 5 starsA thoroughly satisfying thriller
Reviewed in the United States on May 9, 2016
Alex Delaware is a child psychologist, and obviously a very good one. At the age of 35, he’s also independently wealthy as a result of investments that paid off well that has allowed him to retire from his practice. Part-time, he works as a consultant to the LAPD. And, by the way, he’s also devilishly good-looking and a karate master. So what’s not to like? Well, it turns out that Alex also has a terrible habit for sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong and stupidly risking his life. You even end up feeling sorry for the guy!
Child psychology can get you into trouble
In Jonathan Kellerman’s Blood Test, the second in his Alex Delaware series, Alex is confronted with not just one but two troubling cases virtually at the outset. He has just testified in court to support a young woman seeking a divorce from a violent husband who is (to my layman’s eyes, at least) clinically insane. No sooner does he leave the courthouse, than the husband attacks him physically. Karate moves save Alex, allowing him to flee with only a black eye. Then, still under the threat of retaliation by the husband, he is called to the pediatric oncology ward at a hospital where he previously practiced to lend a hand to support the oncologist treating a very sick little boy. The boy’s parents won’t allow the recommended chemotherapy, and the excitable oncologist is on the verge of violence.
Not the usual set-up for a detective novel, eh? Yes, Blood Test is a detective novel. Even though Alex is the principal investigator and is not himself a detective, he works with the brilliant LAPD homicide detective Mike Sturgis. Call this story a thriller: it’s long on suspense and full of surprises.
As the story unfolds, Alex’s expertise in child psychology proves crucial again and again. Kellerman is himself a psychologist, so he knows whereof he writes. He appears to be very, very good at his profession, if the scenes he depicts in his writing are any indication.
About the author
Jonathan Kellerman has written 31 books featuring Alex Delaware and another 17 in other series or as standalone novels. He has also written five nonfiction books about subjects as diverse as childhood cancer and vintage guitars. (Both topics figure in Blood Test.) He has won awards both for his writing and for his work in psychology.
The plot seemed too contrived. The descriptive language was very labored and pretty much failed to evoke images. I was particularly irritated by the physical descriptions of each character. I didn't need or want to know the physical characteristics in such depth plus the descriptions failed to convey an image. Also the medicine didn't ring true which might be because the book is old now (2019 vs 1986/7)
I'd read this book before -- I've read all the Alex Delaware books, and loved them all. But it was fun to reread this one, see again the early days of Alex and Milo. Milo is the best second-lead in the whole publishing industry. As a unique but not quirky character, Milo has everything going for him, and in the (few) books where he doesn't play much of a part, he's missed.
But it's not just Milo. There are so many things to love about Kellerman's books -- the fast pace, the un-put-downable suspense, the unique view into some local sub-culture, and most certainly all the Los Angeles lore, which he does better than any other writer. And Alex's personal life, which ebbs and flows throughout the books, which is always told with restraint. There are no red-hot love scenes here, no untoward bad language, just Alex, who comes across as a profoundly decent and honorable man, something that's not all that common anymore. An Alex Delaware book is like a visit with old friends -- and rereading one is just as good as it was the first time.
Prof.Delaware is his usual genial self, pacing through pages of incest, nymphomania, cult sex, child prostitution, rape, cocaine, murders, court appearances, family counseling, helicopters, SWAT teams, secret recordings, secret passages, secret journals, breaking and entering, beatings, arson and horticultural experiments with succulents and poisons - and through it all he doesn't raise a sweat because it's just another day at the office for the psychologist who chooses the Bel Air Hotel when he wants to hide out. That's the problem with this character... Delaware is so uninvolved and unattached to reality that he can watch the nymphomaniac teenaged anti-heroine, stunningly beautiful and ever ready for action, be railroaded by the cops for a clear case of self defense, when she saved Delaware's life. It's a strange end to the novel and remains unexplained, I guess because Delaware is just too cool to be bothered. Maybe his readers should be too.
2.0 out of 5 starsGlad I only paid $1.99 for this one.
Reviewed in the United States on April 1, 2015
My first introduction to Mr. Kellerman was a more recent book he wrote, Mystery and I loved it. Several people had told me they enjoyed his early works more so I decided to try his Book #2 in the series. While interesting with some twists I was very disappointed in this book. I felt there was way too much explicit sexual content that was not really needed to move the story along. It was almost as if he needed to fill the pages so he just added lots of sex that rambled on and went no where. Being a more mature reader, I don't really enjoy that kind of writing and feel he could have made the same point without telling every graphic detail. The concept of the story was a good one, just not told very well.
I am glad to see, as with most writers, he has matured and his writing is much better, at least in the one I read prior to this one.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 3, 2020
I am slowly making my way through this series and as said previously am mindful of them being written a long time ago. The storyline is good, if somewhat plodding but there are some moments of action. Again, it could just be me but there is such a lot of emphasis on describing things, places etc that it really began to irritate me. The scene in which he visits with the lawyer went on far too long and the description of the plants, fruits etc would have had me running for the hills had I not scrolled past it all. I am going to persevere with them as I remember liking the couple I read a few years ago. The story when revealed did come across a bit too contrived and the interlinking of seemingly separate characters had me a bit confused and thinking it was too far fetched. That being said it was okay, I read it in a day.....skipping unnecessary parts made it quick. I'll keep going, I do expect them to get better and improve as the time scale creeps up after all there are quite a few!!!!
4.0 out of 5 starsBlood Test Such was my enjoyment of Kellerman's first Alex Delaware thriller that I felt ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 19, 2017
Such was my enjoyment of Kellerman's first Alex Delaware thriller that I felt I had to have a look at the second in the series. Dr Alex Delaware is a Psychologist specialising in matters that impact on children.
Delaware is asked by a Senior Oncologist at a local hospital to liaise with the parents of a child suffering from cancer. There are fears that the parents may stop their son's treatment because of pressure from external holistic medicine practitioners.
However the child is kidnapped before Delaware can do anything and the family disappears. However shortly afterwards the parents bodies are discovered having been brutally murdered. In addition Delaware is threatened by the father of two children following a court decision that prevents the father having access to his children. Are the two matters connected?
Delaware's enquiries bring him into contact with a reclusive cult, officious sheriff and a driven doctor all of whom have their own agenda to follow. In the meantime can he discover the whereabouts of the child with cancer before it is too late?
An excellent follow-up to Kellerman's original book. The character of Alex Delaware continues to develop under the hand of a master storyteller and makes me think that it will not be to long before I have a look at the third in the series.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 14, 2020
This is the second book in the Alex Delaware series, I read lots of the books in this series many years ago and I'm now making my way through them all to cover what I missed and include all the recent ones I didnt get to. I really enjoyed it, the story was interesting and although I found some parts slightly predictable I did really enjoy it. Excited to start book 3.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 24, 2013
This is the second book in Kellermans' Alex Delaware series (the first is "When The Bough Breaks- a great introduction). I really like the Alex Delaware character- he is one of those so well written that you can visualise and feel what the character is about very easily... Alex is both a forensic psychologist and a child psychologist and has a wonderful way when dealing with any children in the books which endears you to him. The plot and all characters are well described and plausible...and his Police friend Milo is a welcome addition to the goings on...not easy being a gay cop in LAPD when this was written. I's not overly complicated, but it's good. I don't like spoilers- so just read the synopsis and make your own mind up. I would recommend this is you like the Robert Crais "Elvis Cole" novels..or Harlen Cobens "Myron Bolitar" ..
4.0 out of 5 stars5 Star Book - 4 Star Presentation
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 10, 2014
I have long been a fan of the Dr Delaware books by Jonathan Kelland and having a Kindle is giving me the chance to collect the whole series from the beginning. The books are great, psychologically based crime with enough human interest about Dr Delaware himself, his partner and friends and way of life and, of course, a satisfactory conclusion to the story. So, a 5 Star book but only a 4 Star rating for the Kindle edition because of one really annoying typographical error - long words are constantly split into two by having a space inserted in the middle, eg. inter national.