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)
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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 FletcherCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved