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Obsession (Alex Delaware, No. 21) Paperback – February 26, 2008
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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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
I read this series, hit and miss out of order, for years. When I got my first Kindle I decided read the series in order from the beginning. Now I've just completed this book, number 21, and feel compelled to review, not just the one book but the series so far.
Characters... I'm really fond of some of the secondary characters, especially Milo, Robin and, of course, the dogs. Oddly enough, I've never developed any affection for Alex, the main character. After 21 stories he's beginning to seem incredibly self-involved and self-indulgent with an ego that seems nearly out of control. He's begun to see himself as the primary crime solver versus his original role of being a consultant to Milo - to the point he's using expired police credentials to gain access to suspects and witnesses. Really? Milo wouldn't be called on the carpet for this at some point? I love Milo. Milo's gay. Okay. Obviously, it's going to be mentioned somewhere near the beginning of each book for new readers but why is it, more and more, being repeatedly brought up, obsessively worked into nearly every chapter? Who is it that's having a problem with Milo's sexuality - the reader, Alex or the author? I love Robin, so glad she's back! Dr. Kellerman's descriptions of his characters are lengthy and detailed. Some readers might find them a bit too much but I enjoy them and find the author is a master of defining both the physical and behavioral aspects of the people he writes about.
Locale... Beautiful descriptions of the greater Los Angeles area. I lived there for many years, even worked for the LAPD for a time, and it's so much fun revisiting the city through the author's eyes. Well done!
Storylines... The plots are generally intriguing and keep me guessing until close to the end. This particular book really is an exception, not nearly as well written as its predecessors. As the series has progressed, the preoccupation with sexual situations has escalated. I acknowledge that many murders, especially serial murders, have sexual overtones. It seems, however, that the sexual component is being brought into play more and more, even when it has no real bearing on the story. Increasingly, many pages are being devoted to idle (and erroneous) crime speculation between Alex and Milo. It's beginning to seem more like idle filler than plot enhancement.
Overall, I've enjoyed these books and will continue with the series. I hope to find that, at some point in time, Dr. Kellerman has taken a deep breath and looked back at some of his work with fresh eyes. Later books have become progressively lacking in the elements that made the earlier books so good. I hope he has Alex get back to using more psychology and less super-sleuthing.