Evidence (Alex Delaware Series #24)

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Overview

"In the half-built skeleton of a monstrously vulgar mansion in one of L.A.'s toniest neighborhoods, a watchman stumbles on the bodies of a young couple - murdered in flagrante and left in a gruesome postmortem embrace. Though he's cracked some of the city's worst slayings, veteran homicide cop Milo Sturgis is still shocked at the grisly sight: a twisted crime that only Milo's killer instincts - and psychologist Alex Delaware's keen insights - can hope to solve." "While the female victim's identity remains a question mark, her companion is ID'd as ...

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Evidence (Alex Delaware Series #24)

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Overview

"In the half-built skeleton of a monstrously vulgar mansion in one of L.A.'s toniest neighborhoods, a watchman stumbles on the bodies of a young couple - murdered in flagrante and left in a gruesome postmortem embrace. Though he's cracked some of the city's worst slayings, veteran homicide cop Milo Sturgis is still shocked at the grisly sight: a twisted crime that only Milo's killer instincts - and psychologist Alex Delaware's keen insights - can hope to solve." "While the female victim's identity remains a question mark, her companion is ID'd as eco-friendly architect Desmond Backer, who in life disdained the sort of grandiose superstructure he's been found dead in. And the late Mr. Backer, it's revealed, was also notorious for his power to seduce women." The rare exception is his ex-boss, Helga Gemein, who's as indifferent to Desmond's death as she apparently was to his advances. Though Milo and Alex place her on their short list of suspects, the deeper they dig for clues the longer the list grows. An elusive prince who appears to harbor decidedly American appetites, an eccentric blue-blood with an ax to grind, one of Desmond's restless ex-lovers and her cuckolded husband - all are in the homicidal mix spiced with blackmail, conspiracy, and a vendetta that runs deep. But when the investigation veers suddenly in a startling direction, it's the investigators who, may wind up on the wrong end of a cornered predator's final fury.\

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The double murder could not have been more grisly; a young couple slaughtered in the midst of sex and posed grotesquely. From the first, psychologist Alex Delaware and LAPD detective Milo Sturgis are convinced that they are confronting a twisted madman incapable of resting on his grisly laurels. Before long, however, they begin to suspect that there might be more than one madman lurking in the wings…. Jonathan Kellerman's Evidence builds suspense like a Hitchcock thriller.
Publishers Weekly
L.A. police lieutenant Milo Sturgis investigates a double homicide at the site of an unfinished, obscenely large mansion in bestseller Kellerman's nerve-tingling 24th Alex Delaware novel (after Bones). Construction halted on the house two years earlier, and ownership can be traced only to a defunct holding company in Washington, D.C. The male victim is easily identified—Desmond Backer, who worked for an odd little architectural firm—but the female victim's identity isn't immediately apparent. Alex serves as a sounding board while Milo pursues assorted rumors and false leads: the site owners are Arabs, Asians, Muslims; the killings were vengeance; the victims were eco-terrorists; the deaths are linked to the disappearance of a Swedish or Swiss woman years before. Without magic, just steady, inspired police work, including horse-trading with the FBI and skillful interrogations, Milo uncovers the unsavory truth. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
“Jonathan Kellerman’s novels are an obsession; once started it is hard to quit.”—Orlando Sentinel
 
“Kellerman really knows how to keep those pages turning.”New York Times Book Review
 
“Kellerman doesn’t just write psychological thrillers—he owns the genre.”—Detroit Free Press
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345495198
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/23/2010
  • Series: Alex Delaware Series , #24
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 186,362
  • Product dimensions: 4.28 (w) x 7.52 (h) x 1.07 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Kellerman

Jonathan Kellerman is one of the world’s most popular authors. He has brought his expertise as a clinical psychologist to more than thirty bestselling crime novels, including the Alex Delaware series, The Butcher’s Theater, Billy Straight, The Conspiracy Club, Twisted, and True Detectives. With his wife, the novelist Faye Kellerman, he co-authored the bestsellers Double Homicide and Capital Crimes. He is the author of numerous essays, short stories, scientific articles, two children’s books, and three volumes of psychology, including Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children, as well as the lavishly illustrated With Strings Attached: The Art and Beauty of Vintage Guitars. He has won the Goldwyn, Edgar, and Anthony awards and has been nominated for a Shamus Award.

Jonathan and Faye Kellerman live in California and New Mexico. Their four children include the novelist Jesse Kellerman.

Biography

"I like to say that as a psychologist I was concerned with the rules of human behavior," Jonathan Kellerman has said. "As a novelist, I'm concerned with the exceptions." Both roles are evident in Kellerman's string of bestselling psychological thrillers, in which he probes the hidden corners of the human psyche with a clinician's expertise and a novelist's dark imagination.

Kellerman worked for years as a child psychologist, but his first love was writing, which he started doing at the age of nine. After reading Ross MacDonald's Lew Archer novels, however, Kellerman found his voice as a writer -- and his calling as a suspense novelist. His first published novel, When the Bough Breaks, featured a child psychologist, Dr. Alex Delaware, who helps solve a murder case in which the only apparent witness is a traumatized seven-year-old girl. The book was an instant hit; as New York's Newsday raved, "[T]his knockout of an entertainment is the kind of book which establishes a career in one stroke."

Kellerman has since written a slew more Alex Delaware thrillers; not surprisingly, the series hero shares much of Kellerman's own background. The books often center on problems of family psychopathology—something Kellerman had ample chance to observe in his day job. The Delaware novels have also chronicled the shifting social and cultural landscape of Los Angeles, where Kellerman lives with his wife (who is also a health care practitioner-turned-novelist) and their four children.

A prolific author who averages one book a year, Kellerman dislikes the suggestion that he simply cranks them out. He has a disciplined work schedule, and sits down to write in his office five days a week, whether he feels "inspired" or not. "I sit down and start typing. I think it's important to deromanticize the process and not to get puffed up about one's abilities," he said in a 1998 chat on Barnes & Noble.com. "Writing fiction's the greatest job in the world, but it's still a job. All the successful novelists I know share two qualities: talent and a good work ethic."

And he does plenty of research, drawing on medical databases and current journals as well as his own experience as a practicing psychologist. Then there are the field trips: before writing Monster, Kellerman spent time at a state hospital for the criminally insane.

Kellerman has taken periodic breaks from his Alex Delaware series to produce highly successful stand-alone novels that he claims have helped him to gain some needed distance from the series characters. It's a testament to Kellerman's storytelling powers that the series books and the stand-alones have both gone over well with readers; clearly, Kellerman's appeal lies more in his dexterity than in his reliance on a formula. "Often mystery writers can either plot like devils or create believable characters," wrote one USA Today reviewer. "Kellerman stands out because he can do both. Masterfully."

Good To Know

Some outtakes from our interview with Jonathan Kellerman:
"I am the proud husband of a brilliant novelist, Faye Kellerman. I am the proud father of a brilliant novelist, Jesse Kellerman. And three lovely, gifted daughters, one of whom, Aliza, may turn out to be one of the greatest novelists/poets of this century. "

"My first job was selling newspapers on a corner, age 12. Then I delivered liquor, age 16 -- the most engaging part of that gig was schlepping cartons of bottles up stairways in building without elevators. Adding insult to injury, tips generally ranged from a dime to a quarter. And, I was too young to sample the wares. Subsequent jobs included guitar teacher, freelance musician, newspaper cartoonist, Sunday School teacher, youth leader, research/teaching assistant. All of that simplified when I was 24 and earned a Ph.D. in psychology. Another great job. Then novelist? Oh, my, an embarrassment of riches. Thank you, thank you, thank you, kind readers. I'm the luckiest guy in the world.

"I paint, I play the guitar, I like to hang out with intelligent people whose thought processes aren't by stereotype, punditry, political correctness, etc. But enough about me. The important thing is The Book."

More fun facts:
After Kellerman called his literary agent to say that his wife, Faye, had written a novel, the agent reluctantly agreed to take a look ("Later, he told me his eyes rolled all the way back in his head," Kellerman said in an online chat). Two weeks later, a publisher snapped up Faye Kellerman's first book, The Ritual Bath. Faye Kellerman has since written many more mysteries featuring L.A. cop Peter Decker and his wife Rina Lazarus, including the bestsellers Justice and Jupiter's Bones.

When Kellerman wrote When the Bough Breaks in 1981, crime novels featuring gay characters were nearly nonexistent, so Alex Delaware's gay detective friend, Milo Sturgis, was a rarity. Kellerman admits it can be difficult for a straight writer to portray a gay character, but says the feedback he's gotten from readers -- gay and straight -- has been mostly positive.

In his spare time, Kellerman is a musician who collects vintage guitars. He once placed the winning online auction bid for a guitar signed by Don Henley and his bandmates from the Eagles; proceeds from the sale were donated to the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas.

In addition to his novels, Kellerman has written two children's books and three nonfiction books, including Savage Spawn, about the backgrounds and behaviors of child psychopaths.

But for a 1986 television adaptation of When the Bough Breaks, none of Kellerman's work has yet made it to screen. "I wish I could say that Hollywood's beating a path to my door," he said in a Barnes & Noble.com chat in 1998, "but the powers-that-be at the studios don't seem to feel that my books lend themselves to film adaptation. The most frequent problem cited is too much complexity."

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    1. Hometown:
      Beverly Hills, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 9, 1949
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A. in psychology, University of California-Los Angeles; Ph.D., University of Southern California, 1974
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I tell the truth. They lie.
I'm strong. They're weak.
I'm good.
They're bad.

This was a zero job but Doyle was getting paid.

Why anyone would shell out fifteen bucks an hour, three hours a day, five times a week, to check out the empty shell of a rich-idiot monster-house was something he'd never get.

The look-see took fifteen minutes. If he walked slow. Rest of the time, Doyle sat around, ate his lunch, listened to Cheap Trick on his Walkman.

Thinking about being a real cop if his knee hadn't screwed up.

The company said go there, he went.

Disability all run out, he swallowed part-time, no benefits. Paying to launder his own uniform.

One time he heard a couple of the other guys talking behind his back.

Gimp's lucky to get anything.

Like it was his fault. His blood level had been .05, which wasn't even close to illegal. That tree had jumped out of nowhere.

Gimp made Doyle go all hot in the face and the chest but he kept his mouth shut like he always did. One day . . .

He parked the Taurus on the patch of dirt just outside the chainlink, tucked his shirt tighter.

Seven a.m., quiet except for the stupid crows squawking.

Rich-idiot neighborhood but the sky was a crappy milky gray just like in Burbank where Doyle's apartment was.

Nothing moving on Borodi Lane. As usual. The few times Doyle saw anyone it was maids and gardeners. Rich idiots paying to live here but never living here, one monster-mansion after another, blocked by big trees and high gates. No sidewalks, either. What was that all about?

Every once in a while, some tucked-tight blonde in Rodeo Drive sweats would come jogging down the middle of the road looking miserable. Never before ten, that type slept late, had breakfast in bed, massages, whatever. Laying around in satin sheets, getting waited on by maids and butlers before building up the energy to shake those skinny butts and long legs.

Bouncing along in the middle of the road, some Rolls-Royce comes speeding down and kaboom. Wouldn't that be something?

Doyle collected his camouflage-patterned lunch box from the trunk, made his way toward the three-story plywood shell. The third being that idiot castle thing-the turret. Unfinished skeleton of a house that would've been as big as a . . . as a . . . Disneyland castle.

Fantasyland. Doyle had done some pacing, figured twenty thousand square feet, minimum. Two-acre lot, maybe two and a half.

Framed up and skinned with plywood, for some reason, he could never find out why, everything stopped and now the heap was all gray, warping, striped with rusty nail-drips.

Crappy gray sky leaking in through rotting rafters. On hot days, Doyle tucked himself into a corner for shade.

Out behind in the bulldozed brown dirt was an old Andy Gump accidentally left behind, chemicals still in the john. The door didn't close good and sometimes Doyle found coyote scat inside, sometimes mouse droppings.

When he felt like it, he just whizzed into the dirt.

Someone paying all that money to build Fantasyland, then just stopping. Go figure.

He'd brought a good lunch today, roast beef sandwich from Arby's, too bad there was nothing to heat the gravy with. Opening the box, he sniffed. Not bad. He moved toward the chain-link swing gate . . . what the-

Stupid thing was pulled as wide as the chain allowed, which was about two, two and a half feet. Easy for anyone but a fat idiot to squeeze through.

The chain had always been too long to really draw the gate tight, making the lock useless, but Doyle was careful to twist it up, make it look secure when he left each day.

Some idiot had monkeyed with it.

He'd told the company about the chain, got ignored. What was the point of hiring a professional when you didn't listen to his advice?

Sidling through the gap, he rearranged the chain nice and tight. Leaving his lunch box atop raw-concrete steps, he began his routine. Standing in the middle of the first floor, saying, "Hel-lo," and listening to his voice echo. He'd done that first day on the job, liked the echo, kinda like honking in a tunnel. Now it was a habit.

Didn't take long to see everything was okay on the first floor. Space was huge, big as a . . . as a . . . some rooms framed up but mostly pretty open so you had clear views everywhere. Like peeking through the skeleton bones of some dinosaur. In the middle of what would've been the entry hall was a humongous, swooping, double staircase. Just plywood, no railings, Doyle had to be careful, all he needed was a fall, screw up some other body part.

Here we go, pain with every step. Stairs creaked like a mother but felt structurally okay. You could just could imagine what it would be like with marble on it. Like a . . . big castle staircase.

Nineteen steps, each one killed.

The second floor was just as empty as the first, big surprise. Stopping to rub his knee and take in the western treetop view, he continued toward the rear, stopped again, kneaded some more but it didn't do much good. Continuing to the back, he reached the smaller staircase, thirteen steps but real curvy, a killer, tucked behind a narrow wall, you had to know where to find it.

Whoever had paid for all this was some rich idiot who didn't appreciate what he had. If Doyle had a hundredth-a two-hundredth of something like this, he'd thank God every day.

He'd asked the company who the owner was. They said, "Don't pry."

Climbing the curvy staircase, every step crunching his knee,

the pain riding up to his hip, he began counting out the thirteen stairs like he always did, trying to take his mind off the burning in his leg.

When he called out "Nine," he saw it.

Oh Jesus.

Heart thumping, mouth suddenly dry as tissue paper, he backed down two steps, reached along the right side of his gear belt.

Touching air.

Now he was the idiot, there'd been no gun for a long time, not since he stopped guarding jewelry stores downtown.

Company gave him a flashlight, period, and it was in the trunk of the Taurus.

He forced himself to look.

Two of them.

No one else, one good thing about the turret, it was round, mostly open to the sky, nowhere to hide.

Doyle kept looking, felt his guts heave.

The way they were lying, him on top of her, her legs up, one hooked around his back, it was pretty clear what they'd been doing.

Before . . .

Doyle felt short of breath, like someone was choking him. Struggling to regain his air, he finally succeeded. Reached for his phone.

Right in his pocket. At least something was going okay.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 136 )
Rating Distribution

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(41)

4 Star

(41)

3 Star

(25)

2 Star

(14)

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(15)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 136 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    A little disappointing

    I don't recommend this book. In it, Alex Delaware acts as if he's Milo's assistant. He seems always at Milo's beck & call. There is no feeling that he has a private practice (even though he mentions that he turned down an offer of full-time work with the LAPD because his own practice was so much more lucrative and in one scene he tends to his billing). There's no real reason for Alex, the ostensible protagonist of Jonathan Kellerman's series, to even be involved in this story--he makes little contribution except to drive Milo around and occasionally provide him with food to eat.

    Please bring back the plots where this child psychologist uses his training & expertise--and maybe interactions with his current or previous patients--to help solve the case.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 13, 2010

    where's the psychology?

    The narrator and main character of the story is a psychologist. The author is a psychologist. So, where's the psychology? Evidence reads like a typical police procedural without any real reference to psychology. I have always enjoyed Kellerman's earlier works, but his recent books have lost the psychological aspect that separated his works from the myriad other crime stories; and, unfortunately, he is not as good a writer as some other crime writers. Without his unique perspective as a psychologist, there is no real reason to read this work. Quite frankly, it was tedious and dull in style. In other words, boring.

    Notably, and most irritatingly, he left numerous threads unexplained. And, Kellerman's method of getting away with unanswered questions? Get rid of the villians.

    In the end, Evidence was a shallow story and I had hoped for better from Kellerman.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is one of Jonathan Kellerman's best works in the long running serie

    In Los Angeles Doyle is hired to watch over the Borodi property where a mansion remains empty. It is a tedious job as nothing ever occurs until he finds the corpses of a man and woman posing as if they were making love when they died.

    LAPD homicide cop Milo Sturgis accompanied by consulting psychologist Alex Delaware look at the crime scene. The woman remains a Jane Doe, but her companion possesses an ID in the name of Desmond Backer. The pair tracks down Des' boss Helga Gemein, the head of a disbanding architectural firm. She states that the late Becker was promiscuous; a fact backed up by his sister who says he left $50,000 in her rented storage room. They also discover that the Borodi property belongs to Prince Tariq Asman who went by the name Teddi and is the brother of the island nation Sranil. There are rumors that Teddi fled to his island home after killing a woman. The body of the Jane Doe is identified by Des' sister as her late brother's friend Darlene Fredd. When the mansion they were killed in is torched, Miles and Alex easily theorize that the homicides and arson are linked, but neither can figure out by who or what while a deadly predator watches them connecting the dots one at a time.

    This is one of Jonathan Kellerman's best works in the long running series as Alex narrates so that the audience sees the investigation through his filter, but Milo is actually the star. He fights the stereotypical uncooperative toads in the road (his superiors, the FBI and foreign VIPs) to obtain the information he needs to solve the case. EVIDENCE is a cerebral entertaining police procedural in which the hero's approach seems credible leading to reader satisfaction as Milo and Alex work an enthralling complex whodunit.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Alex Delaware

    Alex Delaware is Jonathon Kellerman's best character. The suspense keeps coming. I love the love between him and Milo Sturgis.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2010

    Griping!Exciting!

    One of those books you can't put down. Jonathan Kellerman's intense writing style and well written characters keep you intrigued throughout the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Beware the ice maiden....

    I love Alex Delaware, but the "evidence" here is a bit thin. Stock characters set the stage for the investigation, and the stereotypes are a bit lame. It's a quick read and a good story, though. Another beach read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Evidence

    Alex Delaware is back in Jonathan Kellerman's new book "Evidence". But he is more like Milo Sturgis' sidekick after Milo takes on the case of a double murder in an abandoned and unfinished mansion. Tracking down the owner of the property and the connection between the dead couple seems to be the main theme of the story. Why Delaware is tagging along, as the narrator of the story? We don't get to delve into the psychology of the individuals but more into how Milo solves the case. Kellerman is a superb author and I enjoy the Delaware novels, but this was not as intense as his earlier books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2013

    Very good.

    I liked the part where Milo turned down dinner with Alex and Robin because Rick wanted him to come to the hospital and have dinner there.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2012

    Interesting

    Good series, but need to space books in series out.

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  • Posted August 23, 2012

    This is my first Alex Delaware book and it will be my last. The

    This is my first Alex Delaware book and it will be my last. The story
    was boring and too slow-paced. I didn't care about any of the
    characters, because they were not fully written. Perhaps in the other
    books they are, but I couldn't figure out why Alex Delaware was even in
    this book. He added nothing to the case. I almost stopped reading the
    book a few times I was so bored with it, but I rarely don't finish a
    book, so I continued on. My e-book was 311 pages, and it was the
    longest 311 pages I ever read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2012

    Another goodie

    Kelleerman has a style you can't beat!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2010

    Kellerman does it again

    Kellerman has done it again. He manages to take characters that we know well (Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis) and keep them fresh and interesting. The use of a psychologist working in conjunction with the gifted detective is different than most of the thriller novels in the market. And the twists and turns keep this a page turner untill the end.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2010

    same old stuff

    hey if you are into this alex delaware series, you will be neither
    surprised or disappointed.
    It has gotten too standard/formula writing.
    Fun to escape and read familiar characters and plot line.
    Worth reading.
    Hope in the future some newer more interesting plot/character
    twist can be developed.

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  • Posted January 25, 2010

    Top notch, like all of Kellerman's Delaware novels. Loved it!

    I eagerly wait for each new Kellerman Alex Delaware novel...have them all...I'm definitely addicted. Only problem is when I finish each one, I usually have to wait many months for the next one.

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  • Posted January 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Even Strange for L.A.

    Alex and Milo manage to find another killer even stranger than the usual Los Angeles psychopaths. The story is an open commentary on environmentalism as much as it is a murder mystery. The events are not dramatic, but they are unusual enough to keep your interest. The characters are also extreme and unique. The story moves along at a sluggish pace but it eventually gets there. Unfortunately, we require a tearful confession and a detailed explanation from the killer to understand what happened. Interesting if you like abnormal psychology, but you may like others in the Alex Delaware series better.

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  • Posted December 8, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    New Alex Delaware

    I have just started this one however it is true to form Alex Delaware and I am enjoying it immensely. If you are a Delawareian(I just made that up)
    hurry on out and get it.

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  • Posted December 8, 2009

    Not the best Delaware adventure

    Enjoy seeing Robin and Milo again, but this is not the most exciting Delaware mystery yet. Feels like everybody's geting a little tired.

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  • Posted December 7, 2009

    NOT MUCH GOOD ABOUT IT

    PLOT WAS VERY JUMPY-- NOT EASY TO FOLLOW-- A LOT OF CHARACTERS HAD VERY LITTLE TO DO WITH THE STORY
    FINISHED IT ONLY BE CAUSE I PAID FOR IT -- SORRY TO SAY

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  • Posted December 6, 2009

    Kellerman is the Best

    This is another excellent and captivating book by Jonathan Kellerman. HIs character development and plot twists are among the best I have read. If you like a good mystery you will love this book.

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  • Posted December 6, 2009

    Kellerman does it again.

    One of his best works! I've loved reading about the cases that Dr. Delaware and Detective Milo Sturgis team up on. Delaware's insight and Sturgis' cynicism feed off each other. Once you start reading this one, it's hard to put down!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 136 Customer Reviews

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