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Publisher's Summary

A new patient, 24-year-old Lucy Lowell, has come to the semi-retired psychologist Alex Delaware, straight from the jury of a serial killer's grisly trial. The trial was harrowing enough, but now it's triggered a recurring and haunting dream in which Lucy, as a little girl, watches a gang of men bury a young woman's body in the woods.

Dr. Delaware hopes to find the creepy dream's origin through hypnosis and to bring to the surface what seems to be Lucy's buried childhood memory. When she becomes adamant that her life is in grave danger, it's up to Dr. Delaware to find out if her fears are imagined or if a desperate killer wants to eliminate a witness to a 20-year-old murder.

Psyched? Listen to all of Jonathan Kellerman's Dr. Alex Delaware thrillers.
©1995 Jonathan Kellerman (P)1995 Books on Tape Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Exciting....Loaded with tension and packed with titillating insights." (The New York Times Book Review) "Kellerman at his best." (USA Today) "Satisfying...suspenseful." (Playboy)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Margaret
  • College Station, TX, USA
  • 11-03-08

One of Better Books in Delaware/Sturgis Series

One of Kellerman's better books in his Alex Delaware/Milo Sturgis series (Book 9 out of 22 to date). The narrator of this audiobook version, Alexander Adams, is very good. The plot has many twists and turns, as well as a largely interesting cast of dysfunctional characters. Milo Sturgis is further fleshed out through his friendship with Lucy Lowell. He befriends Lucy after she serves as a juror for the trial of a vicious murderer. The trial causes Lucy to develop nightmares. These turn out to be repressed 21-year old memories of the burial of a young woman which she witnessed at age 4. Milo, of course, refers Lucy to his psychologist friend Alex Delaware. Delaware does more detective work than psychotherapy, inevitably nearly getting himself and his patient killed, but for Milo. Nonetheless, Delaware does unravel the mystery to a satisfying conclusion. Kellerman's use of hypnosis on Lucy is a weak point, but keeping Delaware's stick figure girlfriend, Robin, in the background a plus. She rarely adds anything to this series. Kellerman fans of the Delaware series should enjoy this book and also other fans of this genre.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

great disappointment

Love his work usually, all in fact, except this one. Very boring! He's never been a 'page' turner type author but involved, human kind of stories. This was limped along and on and on and on.....

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Edward
  • Hooksett, NH, USA
  • 01-05-09

Long and Drawn Out

This author has written far better books. This one was so long and drawn out. It could have been written in half the pages/discs.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Deborah
  • DONALSONVILLE, GA, United States
  • 11-30-16

Foul language!

We could not get into the story due to the language!
We do not recommend this one at all! We love Alex Delaware but not this one. 😠

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Fantastic, but poorly narrated

I thought the book was fantastic as are most Kellerman novels but I was not a fan of the narration. The narrator's voice was very sharp and was a bit challenging to listen to for me. I listen while I am driving, and my truck makes a lot of noise. For this reason I have to listen to the books at a high volume. This narrator's sharp voice made me wince at times, which may not be an issue for others who don't have to listen to the books at such a high volume.

As usual, I thought the story was fantastic. There were several times when I could follow the bread crumbs a little easier than Alex, but that still didn't detract from the story making twists and turns I did not expect.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Solid work

A good performance as usual by Alexander Adams. Average story by Kellerman standards. The story line kept my interest throughout.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great Story...Didnt like narrator

Where does Self-Defense rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I LOVE all of Jonathan Kellerman's novels

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

The plot didn't give me an 'edge of my seat' feeling...It was predictable

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

I am just a HUGE fan of John Rubinstein...He is AWESOME

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes for the story line...No because of the narrator

Any additional comments?

All Jonathan Kellerman novels should be read by John Rubinstein ONLY

  • Overall


This was an excellent listen, as always with Kellerman books.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful