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Obsession (Alex Delaware, No. 21) Paperback – February 26, 2008

167 customer reviews
Book 21 of 30 in the Alex Delaware Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The 21st Alex Delaware novel (after 2006's Gone) from bestseller Kellerman contains fewer twists than usual for this contemporary thriller series. Once again, Delaware, an accomplished psychologist, teams with his friend Milo Sturgis, an LAPD detective, to probe a mystery, though this time there's considerable doubt as to the nature of the puzzle. Teenager Tanya Bigelow, whom Delaware treated as a child for obsessive-compulsive disorder, consults him because her aunt Patty, who raised her, conveyed a cryptic message just before she died, apparently confessing to a crime. Shortly after Delaware and Sturgis start investigating, one of Patty's former neighbors turns up dead, the first in a series of corpses that appear, possibly as a result of the duo's turning over old rocks. Since the identity of the killer is revealed relatively early on, the final sections are short on suspense. (Mar. 27)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Mega-best-selling Kellerman delivers another psychological suspense tale starring shrink hero Alex Delaware. While the Delaware novels are wildly popular, this one, at least, gets by only on plot. The characters are sketchily drawn, except for Delaware's new dog, who receives far more intensive (and ridiculous) development than any human in the book. Kellerman also takes the shortcut of having his characters deliver plot details and provide background motivations in artificial dialogue that should have been left to an omniscient narrator. But Kellerman does have a strong plot going for him (once we've waded through excessive descriptions of meals and interiors). The story centers on a young woman, whom Delaware treated as a child and who returns to tell the psychologist of the deathbed confession of her aunt and adopted mother--a woman whom Alex remembers as a heroically capable mother and nurse. The recently deceased woman allegedly told her niece that she had killed someone. The crux of the mystery is whether there was a murder at all, or whether it was the medication talking, or guilt over a patient's death. Delaware and his sidekick, detective pal Milo Sturgis, follow the tangled trail to a surprising conclusion. Good story unfairly weighed down by bad dialogue and stick characterizations. Kellerman's enormous fan base, however, will overlook the novel's flaws the way we excuse our loved ones' weaknesses. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (February 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034545264X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345452641
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (167 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #843,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Susan K. Schoonover VINE VOICE on April 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I've read every Alex Delaware novel Jonathan Kellerman has published and enjoy them for his great Southern California characters as well as the well realized LA settings. Lately I've noticed the books kind of start to fall apart and strain plausibility toward the conclusion. OBSESSION starts to fall apart quite early in the book and as others have said it is hard to suspend disbelief that the LA Police Department would take such an interest in what a respectable dying woman "confesses" with so little detail. And again like another reviewer I find Robin totally annoying and if I was writing the series would have never let Alex take her back.
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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Richard B. Schwartz TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Despite some of the misgivings in the editorial reviews you should not hesitate to buy and read this book. One of Kellerman's hallmarks is his consistency. The only weak character here is Robin and she is ongoing in her weakness. Why would Alex tolerate her betrayals? This is implausible. Plus, she is smarmy, like Spenser's Dr. Silverman. In each case, their dogs are always more interesting characters. Milo is dependably Milo; Petra is a welcome addition to the group in the recent novels, and Alex really gets a chance to play Alex, making concrete psychological judgments and handling a disorder that is of broad human interest.

The plot is complex but intelligible and the ultimate conclusion is satisfying. Handling the exposition and investigation through dialogue is perfectly OK, so long as you like the participants in the dialogue and what's not to like here?

Alex's patient and her physicist boyfriend are both interesting characters and the dysfunctional adults are sufficiently interesting to hold your attention. Jonathan Kellerman's writing seldom tends toward the extremes; his watchword is steadiness and evenness. OBSESSION is fine; go for it.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By penrod on April 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a disappointing Kellerman novel. It starts off great, although the initial premise of a deathbed quasi-confession setting off this whirlwind investigation strains credulity. However, I agree with the other reviewers who have described the story line as too contrived and convoluted. Too much of the plot wrap up is delivered by someone doing report at police HQ. There are too many characters that are not really developed. The story doesn't unfold with the finesse,depth, and development we come to expect from Kellerman. Even the interactions between Robin and Delaware seemed cliche. Dog, Blanche, was my favorite character in this one!
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Ann M. Macpherson on June 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I've been an avid reader of Kellerman and have always loved the stories with Alex and Milo. I couldn't wait to read this one. But I was bored, couldn't follow all the story lines, confused some of the characters, and to me the most telling thing------I was able to put it down at night and not stay up all night reading.Ha. I finished it but skimmed the last pages to get to the end.
As I think someone else mentioned before me, I can't see any police department taking a young woman seriously when she reports that on her death bed, the mother admitted to a possible crime. And it was a very sketchy crime at best. What criminal investigation teams would have the time to try to research something that "might have happened" in the past? Just doesn't make sense. So that part made me pretty suspicious of the plot. Guess I'm just too logical of a person.
I still like Kellerman's style of writing-usually. And I'll continue to read these books. But I do hope they get better and don't start going down hill from now on. I want to still look forward to the next book, the next story about Alex and Milo, the next "great page turner" that he's famous for writing. Please, Jonathan, take our critiques to heart and be careful so you don't lose your best fans.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on March 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Tanya Bigelow was a young girl when she first saw Dr. Alex Delaware for treatment of her obsessive-compulsive behavior (OCD). Tanya's OCD might have been a family trait since her adoptive mother (her biological aunt), Patty Bigelow also suffers from OCD behaviors.

Patty found toddler Tanya on her doorstep in the middle of the night. She had been left by her biological mother, who wanted a better life for her daughter. Later Tanya's mother (Patty's sister) died in a motorcycle accident.

Tanya is nineteen and studying to be a doctor. Her adoptive mother, Patty has recently died from cancer. On her deathbed, Patty confessed to murder and suggests that Tanya seek help from Dr. Delaware.

The people who knew Patty remember her as a hardworking, dedicated E.R. nurse who struggled to raise her child alone. No one who knew Patty could see her as capable of murder. To help Tanya, Dr. Delaware agrees to investigate and enlists the help of LAPD Det. Milo Sturgis and Officer Petra, in the search for a victim of a crime that may not have occurred.

Building on the smallest pieces of information Dr. Delaware, Det. Sturgis and Officer Petra follow a trail that goes from the sleaziest, low-rent districts of Los Angeles, to a mansion of grand proportions. They meet a former porn star turned business woman, addicts, murderers, a psychopath, a vengeful former wife and a thoughtful physics student who has more than a passing interest in Tanya.

All these people are connected to Patty and what happened years ago that could now jeopardize Tanya's safety. Patty was determined to protect her child, even if she has to confess to a crime and protect her from her grave.

Kellerman's Obsession is fast-paced and filled with twists and turns.
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