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85 of 99 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kellerman delivers again
The combination of Milo Sturgis and Alex Deleware is a well worn workable mix that is a constant hit. Together these two could find Judge Crater. As it is a pretty pregnant lady named Holly fussing around in her yard finds a buried box and there is a body in the box of a baby about 13-14 months old. This brings in the LAPD and Alex is in lockstep with Milo.
The...
Published 22 months ago by Ruth B. Ingram

versus
157 of 170 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mildly Entertaining Police Procedural - 3 Stars
The body of an infant is found buried in someone's backyard and the evidence indicates that it's been there for decades. Murder, or something else? Then a couple more bodies show up, and the case is on.

Back when he first started the Delaware series, Kellerman centered it around Delaware's expertise as a psychologist who used his skills and training to solve...
Published 21 months ago by Brian Baker


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157 of 170 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mildly Entertaining Police Procedural - 3 Stars, January 10, 2013
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Brian Baker (Santa Clarita, CA) - See all my reviews
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The body of an infant is found buried in someone's backyard and the evidence indicates that it's been there for decades. Murder, or something else? Then a couple more bodies show up, and the case is on.

Back when he first started the Delaware series, Kellerman centered it around Delaware's expertise as a psychologist who used his skills and training to solve crimes that stumped the LAPD. His sidekick Milo Sturgis was just that: the sidekick who came to Delaware for help in solving crimes that had him (Sturgis) up a tree, and even that wasn't true in every book. In some cases, Delaware himself stumbled upon a crime in the course of his psychology practice.

The cases were very complex; Delaware would become invested and deeply involved in the outcome, both emotionally and intellectually, and the reader would consequently become so, too. These were very satisfying reading experiences; truly "psychological thrillers".

Over the last ... oh, decade or so, Kellerman has radically changed his entire formula for the series. The books are now pretty straightforward police procedurals, with former sidekick Sturgis now pretty much the central character driving the story with Delaware along for the ride as a sounding board - allowing Kellerman to explicate and write expository matter as "dialogue" between Sturgis and Delaware. Delaware's expertise as a psychologist is pretty much irrelevant anymore, other than in the most superficial manner; in this case, a very minor sub plot about the emotional reaction of a woman who finds a body that opens the story.

I find Kellerman's new style to be detached and emotionally unengaging. As I wrote in my headline, it is mildly entertaining, but solely on an intellectual level. It was "interesting". But so is the recipe for escargots. The idea of eating snails is "interesting", too.

I found it to be a pleasant way to pass a few hours, but if I hadn't read this book I don't think I'd have been missing much.

Those who aren't familiar with Kellerman's earlier works will probably enjoy this (and his other recent books) much more than I did.
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85 of 99 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kellerman delivers again, December 29, 2012
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The combination of Milo Sturgis and Alex Deleware is a well worn workable mix that is a constant hit. Together these two could find Judge Crater. As it is a pretty pregnant lady named Holly fussing around in her yard finds a buried box and there is a body in the box of a baby about 13-14 months old. This brings in the LAPD and Alex is in lockstep with Milo.
The pregnant lady exhibits some issues that troubles Alex and they are both concerned about the dead baby. There is not a lot for these 2 to go on but they persist and are busy working up some clues when another body isfound. This is a grown woman and they are concerned she may be related to the dead baby. This is involved and detailed and the amount of brainwork and detection is profound. This is one you will stay involved with and not be putting it down till its done.

Any book from Jonathan Kellerman is a real treat and this one is no execption.
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41 of 48 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Standard Kellerman, January 6, 2013
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For a long time, reading Jonathan Kellerman's books were a treat. Then, as their quality declined, they merely became a habit. Finally, with his 2009 novel Bones (which I gave a two-star review), I gave up altogether. Now, several books later, I had the opportunity to sample Kellerman again. Had he changed for the better? In his new Alex Delaware novel, Guilt, it's obvious he has the same weaknesses that made me quit reading him, albeit in a slightly better plotted book than normal.

The book opens with the discovery of a metal box at an old property. Within is the skeleton of a baby. Alex's cop buddy Milo Sturgis is called in to investigate, and where Milo goes, Alex is sure to follow. It becomes readily apparent that the corpse is at least 60 years old, making this case more of a novelty than a catch-the-killer situation.

When the much newer skeleton of a second baby is found nearby, however, it turns into an active investigation. Add to that the obviously murdered young woman also found in the area, and there's suddenly a whodunit. Are the killings related? Do they involve a voodoo cult? And how are a top-tier celebrity couple (obviously based very loosely on Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) involved?

As mentioned before, the plot itself is decent, if not all that twisty. The principal flaw from a storytelling standpoint is a subplot involving the woman who found the original body: it contributes nothing to the story and just seems to exist to pad things up a bit. More significant, however, are the problems that continue to exist for these books.

Most noticeably, not much goes on this story. The book consists primarily of Alex (with or without Milo) going from person to person and just talking. There is little action beyond the minimum necessary to bring them to the next interview. There is even less suspense, with no sense of danger for any significant character.

And, as always, there's Alex, a virtual non-character who is rather dull, little more than a bland observer and puzzle solver. Any attempts to add dimension to his character fall flat; his long-time girlfriend puts in a few brief appearances but does little. I suppose if you have enjoyed Kellerman's recent efforts, you'll probably like this one as well; on the other hand, if you're like me and have found these books pale shadows of what they once were, you should probably just skip this one altogether.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars One tired series, March 26, 2013
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According to the "Books by Jonathan Kellerman" page, the first Alex Delaware novel appeared in 1985 ("When the Bough Breaks"). While Alex Delaware's contribution to the police procedural was never unique, his use of psychological techniques to analyze crime scenes and suspects was unusual enough in the late '80s to be interesting; and Delaware's friends were intriguing, particularly Milo, a gay police lieutenant struggling to survive in a homophobic police department. I also enjoyed the tension between Delaware and Robin, his artistic, emotionally fragile girlfriend struggling with her feelings for the intelligent, but distant, Alex. Plots were intricate, crimes were horrific, and Delaware's observations about the foolishness and decadence of southern California culture were always fun to read.

All of that is missing from "Guilt". "Guilt" presents three crimes for Milo and Alex to solve. A dead newborn baby is found buried under a tree, and shortly thereafter, another baby and a young woman are found murdered in a nearby park. Those are the mysteries to be solved and Alex, with little help from Milo, solves them.

My real problem with this book, and the reason I'm writing this review, is to bemoan the decline of a series I once enjoyed. With countless profilers, forensic scientists and "mentalists" all competing for attention, Dr. Delaware's skill set is no longer as interesting as it once was. Nothing to be done about that, but the series would still be interesting if anything at all was going on outside the police procedural part. But it isn't. Milo's gluttony has become his most defining character trait, and Robin no longer leaves her
workshop except to have sex with Alex or go to dinner at a restaurant which Alex, thankfully, still has time to look down his nose at.
I'm not even sure whether this novel is set in 2013 or 1985, as nothing at all seems to change for these people. I'm very afraid this is a series that has simply run out of gas.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A comfortable read, February 12, 2013
3.5/5
Guilt is the 28th (!) entry in Jonathan Kellerman's long running Dr. Alex Delaware series. I've been following this series for many years, but the last few books have fallen short for me. But, old habits are hard to break, so I was willing to see what was in store with this latest offering.

Alex is a psychologist who consults with the LAPD - specifically with Homicide Detective Milo Sturgis. "Most homicides are mundane and on the way to clearance within a day or two. Milo sometimes calls me on 'the interesting ones.'" Milo is an outsider within the ranks, but he has one of the highest clearance ranks in the department. Together this pair make an interesting investigative duo, with each bringing different strengths and outlooks to the cases.

In Guilt, a new homeowner discovers a metal box buried in the backyard. But, the contents are unexpected - they're the bones of a baby. The remains are determined to be sixty years old, but of course must be investigated. Then a young woman is found dead in a nearby park with another set of infant bones close by - and this time they're more recent.

Kellerman lets us follow along as Alex and Milo scour the past and pursue the present in search of answers. Alex takes the lead role in Guilt, striking out on his own many times, using his own connections and pursuing threads he believes will lead to answers. I did find sone leaps to leads rather circumstantial and a bit hard to buy, and the title appears to have been drawn from a note that is never fully explained.

Kellerman is a psychologist himself and the character of Alex is especially well developed because of this background. His conversations and mannerisms ring true. In Guilt, Alex practices more counselling than he has in the last few outings. Milo still remains my favourite character, but he takes more a backseat in Guilt. Blanche the bulldog does seem to steal a lot of scenes as well.

Reading the latest Jonathan Kellerman is like slipping on a favourite pair of slippers - they're comfortable and you know how they'll fit. Guilt was a good read to keep me entertained on a recent train trip
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31 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kellerman in top form, January 2, 2013
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DavidT (Georgia USA) - See all my reviews
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All too many authors on a book-a-year schedule find it difficult to maintain the quality that first won them acclaim. Kellerman, 28 years after he introduced Dr. Alex Delaware in WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS, is still earning his popularity and reputation with top-flight suspense thrillers. Here, the discovery of a baby's skeleton more than 50 years after it was buried in a suburban backyard launches a case that encompasses all the things Kellerman does best -- vivid characters, sharp dialogue, unexpected plot turns, and a logical role for his child psychologist-hero to play in the story. I whipped through this one in a day and a half and enjoyed it thoroughly.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars very disappointing, October 13, 2013
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bookloverFLA (south of Sarasota FL) - See all my reviews
The reason I gave only one star--which is rare for me--is that I usually enjoy this author's books. Kellerman is a talented writer but "Guilt" left me regretting the time spent reading it. It felt voyeuristic with characters that felt paper-thin and crime that didn't make sense except to titillate the reader. Very National Enquirer in atmosphere.

I read it to the end because the writing is very seductive but immediately after finishing it I though "Ugh".

I know, not much of a review but I doubt I will continue reading Kellerman in the future. The are many other writers of better books.
If this had been a book by an unknown-to-me writer I would have put it down much earlier. It was a disappointment.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Murder, Celebrity, and a Historical Twist, January 26, 2013
By 
E. Griffin (Wilton, CT, USA) - See all my reviews
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Guilt is the most recent installment in the long running series featuring Dr. Alex Delaware, a a forensic psychologist who also has a background in child psychology. The story begins when the skeleton of a young baby is found in a suburban Los Angeles neighborhood. However, it's apparent that the bones are old, and discovering the identity of the baby and what happened is a low priority. Shortly afterwards, the bones of another baby and the body of a murdered young woman are discovered nearby, leading to a high profile case for the Los Angeles police department. Milo Sturgis, an unconventional but highly effective Los Angeles police officer leads resolving the case, aided by Dr. Delaware.

Lieutenant Sturgis and Dr. Delaware have teamed up in more than 20 other books, approaching each with a mix of pragmatic cynicism (Sturgis) and intellectual rigor (Dr. Delaware). In Guilt, the two work through a complex scenario that begins with the dead baby and young woman and leads to wealthy, reclusive celebrities to drug abuse and mental illness. Wrapped around the current murders is the discovery of the older baby skeleton and how it came to be secretly buried--are the cases connected? Is it a coincidence? Is a new killer taking advantage of the sensationalism of an older crime?

Guilt is, as always, a high quality book by Jonathan Kellerman. My experience is that many authors struggle to maintain a long-running series, sacrificing character consistency or believability to keep the franchise going. So far, that has never happened with the Alex Delaware series, and I enjoy some of later books, which introduce and focus on new and external characters, more than some of the earlier stories that overly involved Dr. Delaware or Lieutenant Sturgis. Guilt is a fine addition to the series, and a novel that can be enjoyed by both new readers and long time fans.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kellerman on top again, February 12, 2013
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Mr. Kellerman has produced another fine psychological thriller starring our favorite team: psychologist-sleuth Alex Delaware and police detective Milo Sturgis. Their interaction, as they pursue the bad guys, is what makes these books work. Leads are discussed, clues examined, and most importantly, possible reasons for the crime or crimes. Doctor Delaware delves deeply into the psyche of various actors in the story as well as that of the possible perpetrator when he or she shows up.

This book starts with the discovery under a potting bench of a rusting strongbox containing two baby skeletons wrapped in newspaper sixty years old. As a cold case detective Milo gets the assignment and turns immediately to Alex for help in tracing the line of owners of the house which leads to a mystery woman, a nurse to several of the previous owners. But when two more recently dead infant skeletons are discovered the case shifts from cold to hot and a modern day malevolent killer must be found.

The writing is taut, finely honed and delightfully perceptive. How can you not like this description of a witness: "The duration and warmth of Grace Monahan's smile said life was just grand in her eighth decade. One of those women who'd been a knockout from birth and had avoided addiction to youth."

Nor is Mr. Kellerman parsimonious with commas, as too many writers are these days. To read his sentences is to hear the pauses and breaks that occur in everyday talk whether serious or humorous. His characters live.

Whether you are a long-time fan or a newcomer to these books, grab up GUILT and prepare for a "can't put it down" read.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good addition to the series, January 4, 2013
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I am reviewing Jonathan Kellerman's newest book, "Guilt", in comparison to his previous books in the Alex Delaware series. I am a long-time fan of Kellerman's and have read all but his latest-before-this book. The reason the book must be compared to it's predecessors is that most people reading the review will be fans of Kellerman, checking out his "latest".

Kellerman's been writing his Delaware books for about 20 or so years. He's a trained psychologist in real life and much of his writing involves a psychological perspective as voiced by Dr Delaware. Alex Delaware is joined in the stories by Lt Milo Sturgis of the LAPD, who uses Delaware as a sounding board in many of his cases. In this book, "Guilt", a baby's bones have been found in the yard of a newly sold house. The bones are reckoned to be about 60 years old but soon after the discovery, a woman's body and bones of a new baby were found in a city park in the area. The case goes from "cold" to "hot" with the finding of the new bodies.

Kellerman's writing has become more violent and gorier in his last ten or so books. The murders - and there are always quite a few - are graphically described in the investigation process. For some reason, this book seemed almost "sweeter" than previous ones. The crimes aren't quite so bad - they're still bad enough - but the characters are drawn less black/white as they have been in the past. It's a difficult thing for me to describe, but the main characters in the crime part are not mere caricatures as they've been in the past. There's one main character who evolves from a caricature to a more nuanced figure. (I don't want to give anything away here, so I'm not identifying the character.)

Kellerman also has several small peripheral plots to the main one. He writes these with a new sensitivity that I hadn't noticed in his previous books. He continues the interplay between Milo and Alex and the relationship is based on respect and liking, one to the other. The only way Kellerman fails is in the "love scenes" between Alex and his long-time girlfriend, Robin. Note to Jonathan: please don't write love scenes; they're really awkward.

"Guilt" is a good read for Kellerman fans. I'll be interested to know if anyone else has picked up on a - possibly - "kinder and gentler" Jonathan Kellerman.
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