At nearly one hundred years old, Thalia Mars is a far cry from the patients that child psychologist Alex Delaware normally treats. But the charming, witty woman convinces Alex to meet with her in a suite at the Aventura, a luxury hotel with a checkered history.
What Thalia wants from Alex are answers to unsettling questions — about guilt, patterns of criminal behavior, victim selection. When Alex asks the reason for her morbid fascination, Thalia promises to tell all during their next session. But when he shows up the following morning, he is met with silence: Thalia is dead in her room.
When questions arise about how Thalia perished, Alex and homicide detective Milo Sturgis must peel back the layers of a fascinating but elusive woman’s life and embark on one of the most baffling investigations either of them has ever experienced. For Thalia Mars is a victim like no other, an enigma who harbored nearly a century of secrets and whose life and death draw those around her into a vortex of violence.
Thieves, liars, killers, and conspirators – it's a criminal world out there, and someone has got to write about it. An eclectic collection of the year's best reportage, The Best American Crime Reporting 2008 brings together the murderers and the masterminds, the mysteries and missteps that make for brilliant stories, told by the aces of the true-crime genre. This latest addition to the highly acclaimed series features guest editor Jonathan Kellerman, bestselling author of more than twenty crime novels, most recently Compulsion and the forthcoming Bones.
A brilliant, deeply dedicated psychologist, Grace Blades has a gift for treating troubled souls and tormented psyches — perhaps because she bears her own invisible scars: Only five years old when she witnessed her parents’ deaths in a bloody murder-suicide, Grace took refuge in her fierce intellect and found comfort in the loving couple who adopted her. But even as an adult with an accomplished professional life, Grace still has a dark, secret side. When her two worlds shockingly converge, Grace’s harrowing past returns with a vengeance.
Both Grace and her newest patient are stunned when they recognize each other from a recent encounter. Haunted by his bleak past, mild-mannered Andrew Toner is desperate for Grace’s renowned therapeutic expertise and more than willing to ignore their connection. And while Grace is tempted to explore his case, which seems to eerily echo her grim early years, she refuses — a decision she regrets when a homicide detective appears on her doorstep.
An evil she thought she’d outrun has reared its head again, but Grace fears that a police inquiry will expose her double life. Launching her own personal investigation leads her to a murderously manipulative foe, one whose warped craving for power forces Grace back into the chaos and madness she’d long ago fled.
Psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware meets beautiful and emotionally fragile TV actress Zelda Chase when called upon to evaluate her five-year-old son, Ovid. Years later, Alex is unexpectedly reunited with Zelda when she is involuntarily committed after a bizarre psychotic episode. Shortly after Zelda’s release, an already sad situation turns tragic when she is discovered dead on the grounds of a palatial Bel Air estate. Having experienced more than enough of L.A.’s dark side to recognize the scent of evil, Alex turns to his friend LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis for help in finding out who ended Zelda’s broken life.
At the same time, Alex is caught up in another quest: the search for Zelda’s missing son. And when other victims vanish from the same upscale neighborhood, worry turns to terror.
As Alex struggles to piece together the brief rise and steep fall of a gorgeous, talented actress, he and Milo unveil shattered dreams, the corruption of a family, and a grotesque betrayal of innocence. With each devastating revelation and damning clue, Alex’s brilliant mind is challenged as never before — and his determination grows to see a killer caged and the truth set free.
Alex Delaware is asked by a colleague to look into the case of a child who has suffered a variety of ills in her short life and has had to undergo a devastating number of medical investigations. Every time, the clinicians come up with one big zero. Could someone be inducing the symptoms?
Once again, the depths of the criminal mind and the darkest side of a glittering city fuel #1 New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman’s brilliant storytelling. And no one conducts a more harrowing and suspenseful manhunt than the modern Sherlock Holmes of the psyche, Dr. Alex Delaware.
A tipsy young woman seeking aid on a desolate highway disappears into the inky black night. A retired schoolteacher is stabbed to death in broad daylight. Two women are butchered after closing time in a small-town beauty parlor. These and other bizarre acts of cruelty and psychopathology are linked only by the killer’s use of luxury vehicles and a baffling lack of motive. The ultimate whodunits, these crimes demand the attention of LAPD detective Milo Sturgis and his collaborator on the crime beat, psychologist Alex Delaware.
What begins with a solitary bloodstain in a stolen sedan quickly spirals outward in odd and unexpected directions, leading Delaware and Sturgis from the well-heeled center of L.A. society to its desperate edges; across the paths of commodities brokers and transvestite hookers; and as far away as New York City, where the search thaws out a long-cold case and exposes a grotesque homicidal crusade. The killer proves to be a fleeting shape-shifter, defying identification, leaving behind dazed witnesses and death – and compelling Alex and Milo to confront the true face of murderous madness.
"[Kellerman] has shaped the psychological mystery novel into an art form." – Los Angeles Times Book Review
"More than satisfying… Kellerman delves deep into the psyche of his characters, peeling back the layers of secrets to uncover a stunning truth." -The Orlando Sentinel
"Kellerman uses bloody killings, psychological intrigue and a straight-ahead writing style to keep readers turning pages well into the night." -The Denver Post
"Often, mystery writers can either plot like devils or create believable characters. Kellerman stands out because he can do both. Masterfully." – USA Today
"[An] intriguing thriller… A heady blend of criminal profiling and police procedural and another surefire hit for the bestselling Kellerman." -Booklist
People are voluntarily dying before their time in California. Some call it assisted suicide when cancer or heart disease or painful old age make the quality of life unbearable. Others say it is murder, that no-one has the right to help others take their own life.
As the debate rages over whether euthanasia should be legalised or not the man at the centre of the row, nick-named Doctor Death, continues his work. Dr Alex Delaware joins in the argument, but when Detective Milo Sturgis comes to him with the suspicion that some of Doctor Death's patients are not willing collaborators, Delaware finds himself on the front line of the affair, and increasingly believes that euthanasia is not the prime motivation. So what is driving Doctor Death to kill so many?
TRUE DETECTIVES follows Moe Reed and Aaron Fox on the twisted trail of a missing girl, a dark, baffling whodunit that forces the brothers to put aside their mutual animus – and to confront the unresolved family mystery that turned them into enemies. PIs can do things, legally, that cops can't. And cops have access to resources denied their private counterparts. Only by pooling their efforts – and by consulting a man both brothers respect, psychologist Alex Delaware, do Fox and Reed stand a chance of peeling back the secrets in high places that explain the fate of an outwardly innocent young woman. And, by doing so, the brothers learn about much more than murder.
Dr Alex Delaware doesn't see many private patients any more, but for a young woman called Lucy Lowell he's prepared to make an exception. Referred to him by the police detective Milo Sturgis, Lucy had been a juror at the harrowing trial of a serial killer, and having survived that trauma is now being subjected to further emotional stress: a recurrent nightmare of a young child in a forest at night, watching something as furtive as it is disturbing.
Now Lucy's dream is starting to disrupt her waking life, and Alex believes the power of the dream and its grip on her emotions may be a repressed childhood memory of something very real.
The cheerful chaos of a California schoolyard is shattered one autumn day by gunfire. No children are hurt, but a sniper is shot down – and psychologist Dr Alex Delaware is called in to help the kids cope with the trauma. Then comes another stunning surprise: the identity of the sniper. And Delaware is intrigued by the chance to explore intimately the forces that created such a twisted personality. But as he becomes more deeply involved, he discovers an ever-widening net of malice has been cast – one that reaches far beyond the school compound, and which may already have claimed innocent lives… TIME BOMB is a masterpiece of psychological suspense which shocks…and shocks again.
Alex Delaware's relationship with his longterm partner is on the rocks. He is floored when Robin announces she's heading off on a three-month music tour. But he soon has other things to think about. He is sent an envelope with no return address. Inside, he finds an album with gold letters on it – THE MURDER BOOK. It's full of macabre pictures of murders, with brief descriptions of how, and why, the victims died. One picture is marked 'Not solved' – the horrifically mutilated body of a young woman. Unsettled, Alex calls his friend, LAPD detective Milo Sturgis, who seems strangely familiar with the case. What connects the photograph with Milo 's past? What's more, why has it been sent to Alex – and by whom? Ingenious, shocking, unpredictable, THE MURDER BOOK is a masterpiece of suspense fiction that is Jonathan Kellerman at his best.
She was found stabbed to death on a quiet, shaded street in one of Los Angeles ' safest neighbourhoods. For three months the police have found no clues to the murder of Hope Devane, psychology professor and controversial author of a pop-psych bestseller, and angry indictment of men. Now homicide detective Milo Sturgis, newly assigned to the case, turns to his friend, psychologist Dr Alex Delaware, looking for insights into Devane's life. To both men the cold stalking of Hope Devane suggests calculation fuelled by hate – an execution. They discover why as they unlock, one by one, the very private compartments of her life: her marriage, her shadowy work for a Beverly Hills clinic, the Conduct Committee she ran with an iron hand at the University, and her baffling link to another murder victim. But it is when Alex delves into her childhood that he begins to understand the formidable woman she was – and the ties that entangled her life until the horrifying act of betrayal that ended it.
After thirty years of attending to the phsical and mental health of the inhabitants of Knife Island, a tiny community in the Micronesian archipelago, Dr William Moreland feels it would be of benefit to his successor, and to his colleagues throughout the Pacific, if his records were properly analysed. Only too grateful to escape the violent atmosphere of Los Angeles and recoup their emotional resources, Dr Alex Delaware and his partner Robin accept Moreland's invitation to spend a sabbatical on the island to help him in the task. But Knife Island is not the paradise of the travel brochures. The murder of a young woman has created an atmosphere of division and fear. A potential development threatens a large part of the island with environmental pollution. And Dr Moreland is not universally regarded as the saintly healer of his own mythology. Co-habiting with cockroaches the size of dinner plates and spiders more venomous than rattlesnakes, Alex and Robin discover the doctor is concealing an older and darker mystery, a conspiracy of such startling magnitude that even Alex, with his knowledge of the depths of human depravity, is hard put to comprehend, or understand why he has been invited into such a horrific web of intrigue and abasement.
The slightly retarded fifteen-year-old daughter of a diplomat dies on a school field trip – forced or lured into a deserted corner of the Santa Monica mountains and killed in cold blood. Her father adamantly denies the possibility of a political motive, which leaves LAPD detective Milo Sturgis and his longtime friend Alex Delaware to pose the question: why? The victim's father is so intent on controlling the investigation that Alex and Milo start to wonder if he wants to bring out the truth – or make sure it stays buried. Then there is another killing, and within days Alex finds himself ensnared in one of the darkest, most menacing cases of his career. Driven to find answers, he and Milo will work closely with Inspector Daniel Sharavi, the brilliant Israeli police detective introduced in Jonathan Kellerman's The Butcher's Theatre, but it is Alex who goes undercover, alone, to expose the smug brutality of a murderous conspiracy and a terrifying contempt for human life. Weaving together the threads of a mystery that lead from a child's murder to a young scientist's suicide, Jonathan Kellerman draws one of the most chilling, frighteningly realistic portraits of evil you will ever experience.
Juliet Kipper, a gifted painter, is strangled in the LA gallery where her first solo show has opened to critical acclaim, and Milo Sturgis takes on the murder investigation as a favour to an old friend. He consults Alex Delaware, who, researching parallels with other deaths, looks for artists killed when on the verge of a breakthrough or comeback. And he finds two others. A few weeks earlier, blues player Edgar Michael 'Baby Boy' Lee was stabbed just after finishing his set at The Snakepit. The remains of China Maranga, a punk singer, were found by the Hollywood sign a month after her disappearance three years ago. And Alex discovers both were clients of Robin Castagna, his ex-lover. The investigation points to a gruesome, sadistic pattern of death, taking Milo and Alex into the dark side of the art world, and Robin into terrible danger.
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.
Dedicated young psychologist Dr. Jeremy Carrier is unschooled in the ways of violent crime and incalculable evil – until his life is irreversibly touched by both. When his romance with nurse Jocelyn Banks is cut short by her kidnapping and brutal murder, he is left emotionally devastated and being warily eyed by police seeking a prime suspect in the unsolved killing. To escape the pain, he buries himself in his work. But when more women turn up murdered in the same gruesome fashion as Jocelyn, the suspicion surrounding Jeremy intensifies and the only way for him to prove his innocence is to follow the trail of a cunning psychopath.
Spurring on Jeremy's investigation is Dr. Arthur Chess, an enigmatic pathologist who harbors a keen fascination with the darker deeds committed by the living. Arthur draws Jeremy into the confidence of a cryptic society devoted to matters unknown and unspoken. But when Arthur suddenly slips away, Jeremy is left to contend with an onslaught of anonymous clues – and the growing realization that a harrowing game of cat and mouse has been set in motion.
Psychologist Dr Alex Delaware has always looked on Melissa Dickinson as one of his greatest triumphs. A terrified, tormented seven-year-old when she first appeared in his Los Angeles surgery, Melissa after two years seemed totally recovered. But nine years later Melissa contacts Alex again, anxious this time for her mother. As Alex recalls, weatlthy widow Gina Dickinson has problems of her own. For two decades she has hidden herself away from the eyes of the world – ever since a vicious acid attack destroyed the face of Hollywood actress Gina Prince. Then the reclusive Gina climbs into her car – and totally disappears. And as Alex and Detective Milo Sturgis lead the search for her, they find their quest taking them out of the here and now and into a grotesque, labyrinthine private history as violent and sinister as any bad dream… How well did Alex ever understand his star patient Melissa? How could he have 'cured' her when he never even guessed at the evil and hatred that formed her inheritance?
When Alex Delaware first saw Lauren Teague she was a sullen teenager with the usual problems: bad grades at school, moody, uncommunicative with her parents – which is why they thought she needed to see a psychologist. Then years later, a shock: at a bachelor party for a fellow doctor, Delaware finds himself uncomfortably watching two strippers going through a degrading display – and one of them is Lauren Teague. And now her mother is pleading for help once again. Lauren has disappeared – and she thinks Delaware can find her. He's not so sure – but when her disappearance turns into a murder investigation, he knows he owes it to the dead girl to find out what demons drove her to such a horrifying end
It came in a plain brown wrapper, no return address – a tape recording of a horrifying, soul-lacerating scream, followed by the sound of a childlike voice delivering the enigmatic and haunting message:
'Bad love. Bad love. Don't give me the bad love…'
For child psychologist Dr Alex Delaware, the chant, repeated over and over like a twisted nursery rhyme, is the first intimation that he is about to enter a living nightmare. Others soon follow: disquieting laughter echoing over a phone line that suddenly goes dead, a chilling trespass outside his home, a sickening act of vandalism. A carefully orchestrated campaign of vague threats and intimidation rapidly builds to a crescendo as harassment turns to terror, mischief to madness.
Searching his memory for the phrase 'bad love', Alex recalls a symposium he attended over a decade ago commemorating the work of Dr Andres de Bosch who ran a clinic for troubled adolescents. But when he tries to contact the other delegates, Alex discovers a seemingly random series of violent deaths amongst them.
As he delves deeper into the history of the clinic, the escalating pattern of violence becomes inescapably clear. And if Alex fails to decipher the twisted logic of the stalker's mind-games, he will be the next one to die.