Flesh and Blood (Alex Delaware Series #15)

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Overview

Lauren Teague is a beautiful, defiant, borderline delinquent teenager when her parents bring her to Alex Delaware's office. But for all Alex's skill and effort, Lauren resists - angrily, provocatively. Reluctantly, the psychologist chalks Lauren up as one of the inevitable failures of a challenging profession. But years later, when Alex comes face-to-face with Lauren in a shocking encounter, both doctor and patient are stricken with shame. And then the ultimate horror takes place when, soon after, Lauren's ...
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Flesh and Blood (Alex Delaware Series #15)

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Overview

Lauren Teague is a beautiful, defiant, borderline delinquent teenager when her parents bring her to Alex Delaware's office. But for all Alex's skill and effort, Lauren resists - angrily, provocatively. Reluctantly, the psychologist chalks Lauren up as one of the inevitable failures of a challenging profession. But years later, when Alex comes face-to-face with Lauren in a shocking encounter, both doctor and patient are stricken with shame. And then the ultimate horror takes place when, soon after, Lauren's brutalized corpse is found dumped in an alley. Alex disregards the advice of his trusted friend LAPD detective Milo Sturgis, and jeopardizes his relationship with his longtime lover, Robin Castagna, in order to pursue Lauren's murderer. As he investigates his young patient's troubled past, Alex enters the shadowy worlds of fringe psychological experimentation and the sex industry, and then steps into mortal danger where lust and big money collide in Southern California.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“[KELLERMAN] HAS SHAPED THE PSYCHOLOGICAL MYSTERY NOVEL INTO AN ART FORM.”
–Los Angeles Times Book Review

“VIBRANT . . . [Kellerman] can always be counted on to deliver a smooth and satisfying adventure as he makes his way through the darker sides of Los Angeles.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345413895
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/1/2002
  • Series: Alex Delaware Series , #15
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 0.74 (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 sixteen consecutive bestselling novels of suspense, including The Butcher's Theater, a story of killing in Jerusalem; Billy Straight; and fourteen Alex Delaware novels -- which have been translated into two dozen languages -- before Flesh and Blood. He is also the author of numerous essays, short stories, and scientific articles, two children's books, and three volumes on psychology, including Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children.

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 1

Sad truth: Had she been just a patient, I probably wouldn’t have remembered her.

All those years listening, so many faces. There was a time I recalled every one of them. Forgetting comes with experience. It doesn’t bother me as much as it used to.

Her mother phoned my service on a Saturday morning soon after New Year’s.

“A Mrs. Jane Abbot,” said the operator. “She says her daughter’s an old patient. Lauren Teague.”

Jane Abbot’s name meant nothing to me, but Lauren Teague sparked an uneasy nostalgia. It was an 818 number, somewhere in the Valley. When I’d known the family they’d lived in West L.A. I searched my old case files before returning the call.

Teague, Lauren Lee. Intake date, ten years ago, the tail end of my Wilshire Boulevard practice. Shortly after, I cashed in some real estate profits, tried to drop out, met a beautiful woman, became friends with a sad, brilliant detective, learned more than I wanted to know about bad things. Since then I’d avoided the commitment of long-term therapy cases, stuck to court consults and forensic work, the kinds of puzzles that removed me from the confines of my office.

Lauren had been fifteen at referral. Thin file: one history-taking meeting with the parents followed by two sessions with the girl. Then a missed appointment, no explanation. The next day the father left a message canceling any future treatment. Unpaid balance for the final session; I’d made a halfhearted effort to collect, then written it off.

When old patients get in touch it’s usually because they’re doing great and want tobrag, or exactly the opposite. Either way they tend to be people with whom I’ve connected. Lauren Teague didn’t qualify. Far from it. If anything, I was the last person she’d want to see. Why was her mother contacting me now?

Presenting problems: poor school achiev., noncompliance at home. Clin. impressions: fath. angry; moth. possib. deprssd. Tension bet moth and father—marital strss? Parents agree re: Lauren’s behavior as the prim. prob. Uneventful birth hx, only child, no sig. health probs., contact pediatric M.D. to verify. School: per Mom: “Lauren’s always been smart.” “Used to love to read, now hates it.” B2 aver. till last year, then “change of attitude,” new friends—“bums” (fath), some truancy, C’s and D’s. Basic mood is “sullen.” “No communic.” Parents try to talk, get no resp. Suspect drug use.

As I leafed through the file, Jane and Lyle Teague’s faces came into semifocus. She, thin, blond, edgy, a former flight attendant, now a “full-time mom.” A heavy smoker—forty-five minutes without tobacco had been torture.

Lauren’s father had been slit-eyed, blank-faced, reluctant to engage. His wife had talked fast . . . nervous hands, moist eyes. When she’d looked to him for support, he’d turned away.

They were both thirty-nine, but he looked older. . . . He’d done something in the building trades . . . here it was, elect. contractr. A powerful-looking man, fighting the advent of middle age with long hair, sprayed in place, that fringed his shoulders. Black pelt of beard. Muscles made obvious by a too-tight polo shirt and pressed jeans. Crude but well-balanced features . . . gold chain circling a ruddy neck . . . gold I.D. bracelet—how did I remember that? Put him in buckskins and he could’ve been a grizzly hunter.

Lyle Teague had sat with his legs spread wide, consulted his watch every few minutes, fondled his beeper as if hoping for intrusion. Unable to maintain eye contact—lapsing into dreamy stares. That had made me wonder about attention deficit, something he might’ve passed on to Lauren. But when I raised the topic of academic testing, he didn’t stir defensively, and his wife said Lauren had been examined two years before by a school psychologist and found to be “normal and extremely bright.”

“Bright,” he said, putting no praise into the word. “Nothing wrong with her brain that a little discipline won’t cure.” Accusing glance at his wife.

Her mouth twisted, but she said, “That’s what we’re here to learn.”

Lyle Teague smirked.

I said, “Mr. Teague, do you think anything else is going on, besides Lauren’s being spoiled?”

“Nah, basic teenage garbage.” Another look at his wife, this time seeking confirmation.

She said, “Lauren’s a good girl.”

Lyle Teague laughed threateningly. “Then why the hell are we here?”

“Honey—”

“Yeah, yeah, fine.” He tried to tune out, but I stuck with him, finally got him talking about Lauren, how different she was from the “cute little kid” he’d once taken to job sites in his truck. As he reminisced, his face darkened and his speech got choppy, and by the end of the speech he pronounced his daughter “a real hassle. Hope to hell you can do something with her.”

Two days later Lauren showed up in my waiting room, alone, five minutes late. A tall, slender, conspicuously busted, brown-haired girl, treated kindly by puberty.

Fifteen, but she could’ve passed for twenty. She wore a white jersey tank top, skimpy, snug blue-denim shorts, and ludicrously high-heeled white sandals. Smooth, tan arms and long, tan legs were showcased by the minimal clothing. Pink-polished toes glinted at the tips of her sandals. The strap of a small black patent leather purse striped a bare shoulder. If she’d been studying the hookers on Sunset for fashion tips, she’d learned well.

When young girls flaunt, the result is often a comic loss of equilibrium. Lauren Teague seemed perfectly at ease advertising her body—like father, like daughter?

She favored her father in coloring, her mother in structure, but bore no striking resemblance to either. The brown hair was burnt umber sparked with rust, thick and straight, hanging halfway down her back, parted dead center and flipped into extravagant wings at the temples. High cheekbones, wide mouth glossed pink, dominant but perfectly proportioned cleft chin, heavily lined, azure-shadowed blue eyes—mocking eyes. A strong, straight, uptilted nose was dashed by freckles she’d tried to obliterate with makeup. Lots of makeup. It stuccoed her from brow to jaw, creating a too-beige mask.

As I introduced myself she breezed past me into the office, taking long, easy strides on the impossible heels. None of the usual teenage slump—she held her back straight, thrust out her chest. A strikingly good-looking girl, made less attractive by cosmetics and blatancy.

Selecting the chair closest to mine, she sat down as if she’d been there a hundred times before. “Cool furniture.”

“Thank you.”

“Like one of those libraries in an old movie.” She batted her lashes, crossed and recrossed her legs, threw out her chest again, yawned, stretched, folded her arms across her torso, dropped them to her sides suddenly, a cartoon of vulnerability.

I asked why she thought she was there.

“My parents think I’m a loser.”

“A loser.”

“Yup.”

“What do you think of that?”

Derisive laugh, toss of hair. Her tongue tip skated across her lower lip. “May-be.” Shrug. Yawn. “So . . . time to talk about my head problems, huh?”

Jane and Lyle Teague had denied previous therapy, but Lauren’s glibness made me wonder. I asked her about it.

“Nope, never. The school counselor tried to talk to me a couple of times.”

“About?”

“My grades.”

“Did it help?”

She laughed. “Yeah, right. Okay, ready for my neurosis?”

“Neurosis,” I said.

“We have psych this year. Stupid class. Ready?”

“If you are.”

“Sure. I mean—that’s the point, right? I’m supposed to spit out all my deep, dark secrets.”

“It’s not a matter of supposed to—”

“I know, I know,” she said. “That’s what shrinks always say—no one’s gonna force you to do anything.”

“You know about shrinks.”

“I know enough. Some of my friends have seen ’em. One of them had a shrink give her that shi— That stuff about never forcing her, then the next week he committed her to a mental ward.”

“Why?”

“She tried to kill herself.”

“Sounds like a good reason,” I said.

Shrug.

“How’s your friend doing?”

“Fine—like you really care.” Her eyes rolled.

I said nothing.

“That, too,” she said. “That’s the other shrink thing—just sitting there and staring. Saying ‘Ah-ah’ and ‘Uh-huh.’ Answering questions with questions. Right?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Very funny,” she said. “At what you charge, I’m not coming here forever. And he’s probably gonna call to make sure I showed up and did a good job so let’s get going.”

“Dad’s in a hurry?”

“Yeah. So give me a good grade, okay? Tell him I was good—I don’t need any more hassles.”

“I’ll tell him you cooperated—”

“Tell him whatever you want.”

“But I’m not going to get into details, because—”

“Confidentiality, yeah, yeah. It doesn’t matter. Tell them anything.”

“No secrets from Mom and Dad?”

“What for?” She played with her hair, gave a world-weary smile. “I’ve got no cool secrets anyway. Totally boring life. Too bad for you—try not to fall asleep.”

“So,” I said, “your dad wants you to get this over with quickly.”

“Whatever.” She picked at her hair.

“What exactly did he tell you to accomplish here, Lauren?”

“Get my act together, be straight—be a good girl.” She laughed, arced one leg over the other, placed a hand on a calf and tickled.

“Be straight,” I said. “As in drugs?”

“They’re paranoid about that, along with everything else. Even though they smoke.”

“They smoke dope?”

“Dope, tobacco. Little after-dinner taste. Sometimes it’s booze— cocktails. ‘We’re mature enough to control it, Lauren.’ ” She laughed. “Jane used to be a stewardess, working all these fancy private charters. They’ve still got this collection of tiny little bottles. I like the green melon stuff—Midori. But I’m not allowed to touch pot till I’m eighteen.” She laughed. “Like I’d ever.”

“Pot’s not for you?” I said.

“Pot’s boring—too slow. Like hey, man, let’s pretend we’re in the sixties, get all wasted and sit around staring at the sky and talking about God.” Another gust of laughter, painfully lacking in joy. “Pot sure makes them boring. It’s the only time she slows down. And he just sits and veges on the TV, munches nachos, whatever. I’m not supposed to be talking about their bad habits, I’m the one who needs to change.”

“Change how?”

“Clean my room,” she singsonged. “Do my chores, get ready in the morning without calling my mom a bitch, stop saying ‘fuck’ and ‘shit’ and ‘cunt. Go to class and pay attention, build up my grades, stop breaking curfew, hang out with decent friends, not low-life.” She rotated one hand, as if spooling thread.

“And I’m supposed to get you to do all that.”

“Lyle says no way, you never will.”

“Lyle.”

Her eyes got merry. “That’s something else I’m supposed to not do. Call him by his name. He hates it, it drives him crazy.”

“So no way you’ll stop.”

She played with her hair. “Who knows what I’ll do?”


From the Audio Cassette (Unabridged) edition.

Copyright 2001 by Jonathan Kellerman
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Chapter 1

Sad truth: Had she been just a patient, I probably wouldn’t have remembered her.

All those years listening, so many faces. There was a time I recalled every one of them. Forgetting comes with experience. It doesn’t bother me as much as it used to.

Her mother phoned my service on a Saturday morning soon after New Year’s.

“A Mrs. Jane Abbot,” said the operator. “She says her daughter’s an old patient. Lauren Teague.”

Jane Abbot’s name meant nothing to me, but Lauren Teague sparked an uneasy nostalgia. It was an 818 number, somewhere in the Valley. When I’d known the family they’d lived in West L.A. I searched my old case files before returning the call.

Teague, Lauren Lee. Intake date, ten years ago, the tail end of my Wilshire Boulevard practice. Shortly after, I cashed in some real estate profits, tried to drop out, met a beautiful woman, became friends with a sad, brilliant detective, learned more than I wanted to know about bad things. Since then I’d avoided the commitment of long-term therapy cases, stuck to court consults and forensic work, the kinds of puzzles that removed me from the confines of my office.

Lauren had been fifteen at referral. Thin file: one history-taking meeting with the parents followed by two sessions with the girl. Then a missed appointment, no explanation. The next day the father left a message canceling any future treatment. Unpaid balance for the final session; I’d made a halfhearted effort to collect, then written it off.

When old patients get in touch it’s usually because they’re doing greatand want to brag, or exactly the opposite. Either way they tend to be people with whom I’ve connected. Lauren Teague didn’t qualify. Far from it. If anything, I was the last person she’d want to see. Why was her mother contacting me now?

Presenting problems: poor school achiev., noncompliance at home. Clin. impressions: fath. angry; moth. possib. deprssd. Tension bet moth and father—marital strss? Parents agree re: Lauren’s behavior as the prim. prob. Uneventful birth hx, only child, no sig. health probs., contact pediatric M.D. to verify. School: per Mom: “Lauren’s always been smart.” “Used to love to read, now hates it.” B2 aver. till last year, then “change of attitude,” new friends—“bums” (fath), some truancy, C’s and D’s. Basic mood is “sullen.” “No communic.” Parents try to talk, get no resp. Suspect drug use.

As I leafed through the file, Jane and Lyle Teague’s faces came into semifocus. She, thin, blond, edgy, a former flight attendant, now a “full-time mom.” A heavy smoker—forty-five minutes without tobacco had been torture.

Lauren’s father had been slit-eyed, blank-faced, reluctant to engage. His wife had talked fast . . . nervous hands, moist eyes. When she’d looked to him for support, he’d turned away.

They were both thirty-nine, but he looked older. . . . He’d done something in the building trades . . . here it was, elect. contractr. A powerful-looking man, fighting the advent of middle age with long hair, sprayed in place, that fringed his shoulders. Black pelt of beard. Muscles made obvious by a too-tight polo shirt and pressed jeans. Crude but well-balanced features . . . gold chain circling a ruddy neck . . . gold I.D. bracelet—how did I remember that? Put him in buckskins and he could’ve been a grizzly hunter.

Lyle Teague had sat with his legs spread wide, consulted his watch every few minutes, fondled his beeper as if hoping for intrusion. Unable to maintain eye contact—lapsing into dreamy stares. That had made me wonder about attention deficit, something he might’ve passed on to Lauren. But when I raised the topic of academic testing, he didn’t stir defensively, and his wife said Lauren had been examined two years before by a school psychologist and found to be “normal and extremely bright.”

“Bright,” he said, putting no praise into the word. “Nothing wrong with her brain that a little discipline won’t cure.” Accusing glance at his wife.

Her mouth twisted, but she said, “That’s what we’re here to learn.”

Lyle Teague smirked.

I said, “Mr. Teague, do you think anything else is going on, besides Lauren’s being spoiled?”

“Nah, basic teenage garbage.” Another look at his wife, this time seeking confirmation.

She said, “Lauren’s a good girl.”

Lyle Teague laughed threateningly. “Then why the hell are we here?”

“Honey—”

“Yeah, yeah, fine.” He tried to tune out, but I stuck with him, finally got him talking about Lauren, how different she was from the “cute little kid” he’d once taken to job sites in his truck. As he reminisced, his face darkened and his speech got choppy, and by the end of the speech he pronounced his daughter “a real hassle. Hope to hell you can do something with her.”

Two days later Lauren showed up in my waiting room, alone, five minutes late. A tall, slender, conspicuously busted, brown-haired girl, treated kindly by puberty.

Fifteen, but she could’ve passed for twenty. She wore a white jersey tank top, skimpy, snug blue-denim shorts, and ludicrously high-heeled white sandals. Smooth, tan arms and long, tan legs were showcased by the minimal clothing. Pink-polished toes glinted at the tips of her sandals. The strap of a small black patent leather purse striped a bare shoulder. If she’d been studying the hookers on Sunset for fashion tips, she’d learned well.

When young girls flaunt, the result is often a comic loss of equilibrium. Lauren Teague seemed perfectly at ease advertising her body—like father, like daughter?

She favored her father in coloring, her mother in structure, but bore no striking resemblance to either. The brown hair was burnt umber sparked with rust, thick and straight, hanging halfway down her back, parted dead center and flipped into extravagant wings at the temples. High cheekbones, wide mouth glossed pink, dominant but perfectly proportioned cleft chin, heavily lined, azure-shadowed blue eyes—mocking eyes. A strong, straight, uptilted nose was dashed by freckles she’d tried to obliterate with makeup. Lots of makeup. It stuccoed her from brow to jaw, creating a too-beige mask.

As I introduced myself she breezed past me into the office, taking long, easy strides on the impossible heels. None of the usual teenage slump—she held her back straight, thrust out her chest. A strikingly good-looking girl, made less attractive by cosmetics and blatancy.

Selecting the chair closest to mine, she sat down as if she’d been there a hundred times before. “Cool furniture.”

“Thank you.”

“Like one of those libraries in an old movie.” She batted her lashes, crossed and recrossed her legs, threw out her chest again, yawned, stretched, folded her arms across her torso, dropped them to her sides suddenly, a cartoon of vulnerability.

I asked why she thought she was there.

“My parents think I’m a loser.”

“A loser.”

“Yup.”

“What do you think of that?”

Derisive laugh, toss of hair. Her tongue tip skated across her lower lip. “May-be.” Shrug. Yawn. “So . . . time to talk about my head problems, huh?”

Jane and Lyle Teague had denied previous therapy, but Lauren’s glibness made me wonder. I asked her about it.

“Nope, never. The school counselor tried to talk to me a couple of times.”

“About?”

“My grades.”

“Did it help?”

She laughed. “Yeah, right. Okay, ready for my neurosis?”

“Neurosis,” I said.

“We have psych this year. Stupid class. Ready?”

“If you are.”

“Sure. I mean—that’s the point, right? I’m supposed to spit out all my deep, dark secrets.”

“It’s not a matter of supposed to—”

“I know, I know,” she said. “That’s what shrinks always say—no one’s gonna force you to do anything.”

“You know about shrinks.”

“I know enough. Some of my friends have seen ’em. One of them had a shrink give her that shi— That stuff about never forcing her, then the next week he committed her to a mental ward.”

“Why?”

“She tried to kill herself.”

“Sounds like a good reason,” I said.

Shrug.

“How’s your friend doing?”

“Fine—like you really care.” Her eyes rolled.

I said nothing.

“That, too,” she said. “That’s the other shrink thing—just sitting there and staring. Saying ‘Ah-ah’ and ‘Uh-huh.’ Answering questions with questions. Right?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Very funny,” she said. “At what you charge, I’m not coming here forever. And he’s probably gonna call to make sure I showed up and did a good job so let’s get going.”

“Dad’s in a hurry?”

“Yeah. So give me a good grade, okay? Tell him I was good—I don’t need any more hassles.”

“I’ll tell him you cooperated—”

“Tell him whatever you want.”

“But I’m not going to get into details, because—”

“Confidentiality, yeah, yeah. It doesn’t matter. Tell them anything.”

“No secrets from Mom and Dad?”

“What for?” She played with her hair, gave a world-weary smile. “I’ve got no cool secrets anyway. Totally boring life. Too bad for you—try not to fall asleep.”

“So,” I said, “your dad wants you to get this over with quickly.”

“Whatever.” She picked at her hair.

“What exactly did he tell you to accomplish here, Lauren?”

“Get my act together, be straight—be a good girl.” She laughed, arced one leg over the other, placed a hand on a calf and tickled.

“Be straight,” I said. “As in drugs?”

“They’re paranoid about that, along with everything else. Even though they smoke.”

“They smoke dope?”

“Dope, tobacco. Little after-dinner taste. Sometimes it’s booze— cocktails. ‘We’re mature enough to control it, Lauren.’ ” She laughed. “Jane used to be a stewardess, working all these fancy private charters. They’ve still got this collection of tiny little bottles. I like the green melon stuff—Midori. But I’m not allowed to touch pot till I’m eighteen.” She laughed. “Like I’d ever.”

“Pot’s not for you?” I said.

“Pot’s boring—too slow. Like hey, man, let’s pretend we’re in the sixties, get all wasted and sit around staring at the sky and talking about God.” Another gust of laughter, painfully lacking in joy. “Pot sure makes them boring. It’s the only time she slows down. And he just sits and veges on the TV, munches nachos, whatever. I’m not supposed to be talking about their bad habits, I’m the one who needs to change.”

“Change how?”

“Clean my room,” she singsonged. “Do my chores, get ready in the morning without calling my mom a bitch, stop saying ‘fuck’ and ‘shit’ and ‘cunt. Go to class and pay attention, build up my grades, stop breaking curfew, hang out with decent friends, not low-life.” She rotated one hand, as if spooling thread.

“And I’m supposed to get you to do all that.”

“Lyle says no way, you never will.”

“Lyle.”

Her eyes got merry. “That’s something else I’m supposed to not do. Call him by his name. He hates it, it drives him crazy.”

“So no way you’ll stop.”

She played with her hair. “Who knows what I’ll do?”

Copyright 2001 by Jonathan Kellerman
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 24 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 28, 2012

    I have enjoyed all the Alex Delaware stories.

    I love the way Kellerman writes, with his elaborate discriptions of individuals and settings. This one focused on the relationship/bond between Alex and Milo. Alex acts more as a police officer in the partneship with Milo. He also shows his humanity in not helping Lauren enough.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    An Outstanding Crime Tale

    This was an excellent story. The supense & thrill knocks your socks off. I would recommend anyone to read this novel. Especially the audio book. John Rubinstein narrorates the characters beautifully and in great tone of each scene.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2004

    I loved it!

    This novel was just as good as all of Jonathan Kellerman's other Alex Delaware books. The slowness of his books is what makes it good -- you twist and squirm and can't wait to find out 'who done it.'

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2002

    Another Great Work from Kellerman

    I have read almost all of Kellerman's books & unlike many authors he gets better & better! This one will keep the pages turning.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 1, 2013

    Truly Mesmerizing

    My favorite Alex Deleware book yet! Couldn't put it down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2013

    Really good.

    I liked the part where Spike was wanting some attention while Alex and Robin were kissing. I also liked the part where Milo was trying to spare Alex from looking at his dead patient's body.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 29, 2009

    Excellent read

    One of his best.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2003

    can put the book down

    we need more writers like JK. Keep them coming

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2003

    Horrible

    I got this and the Murder Book at around the same time, and I sure hope the Murder Book is better than this lame excuse for a novel. WAY to much filler, details that don't even matter. 1st chapter was interesting, but it all went downhill from there. Disappointing and a waste of time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2002

    Painful and unrealistic at times

    I agree with the others here who felt this novel was painful to read. I have read a few of the author's other books , and have truly enjoyed his wife's series of mystery/crime novels . This book contained some very painfully raw sexual relationships. I always wonder how Alex Delaware has the time to seemingly devote his entire career to a single case , helping his friend Milo Sturgis - a very overworked police detective. Yet Dr. Delaware , always referred to as Alex , seems to have no pressing psych. practice to attend to. Actually Milo seems to be the only truly real characterization in the book , IMO. I was disappointed in the book and share the ' I am so glad this is over ' remark. Sorry but I found that Faye Kellerman's novels are more interesting , realistic and caring .

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2002

    LOVED IT

    I LOVED THIS BOOK I NEVER WANTED TO EVEN PUT IT DOWN.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2002

    Too Easy

    I agree with 'Painful & Idiotic'. I enjoy mystery novels, letting the story take me for a ride with only an obstructed view of the path ahead. Anticipation makes for an adventure, trying to get one step ahead of the author. On several occasions, the investigation is benefited from amazing coincidences that just fall into place. As 'painful' describes, all Alex needs to do to solve all his problems is to get in the car or kayak. It would make more sense if the author would just come out with the revelation that Alex's success as a sleuth is not due to his firm grasp on deduction, but rather clairvoyance. My patience was tested and questions in my head rang, 'what is the point?', 'when will this chapter end?' I judge a book by how I feel when I'm done reading. Upon completion, I was void of any feeling, except 'finally, it's over.' I didn't feel any sense of accomplishment or need to talk to others about, 'this cool story'. Thanks to the public library it didn't cost me a dime.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2002

    Psychology Redux

    Flesh and Blood chronicles one of those eerie deja vue events we've all experienced. But what happened between the first experience . . . the seminal impressions . . . and the remembrances?Whatever happened, the result was MURDER! Wow!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2002

    one of his best

    I thought this was by far one of Jonathan Kellerman's best books, I have read them all as I am a big fan and this one is the best.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2002

    interesting read

    I enjoyed this book thoroughly and it flowed quite well. I would recommend it highly to others.

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

    Posted December 21, 2001

    Painful to read and idiotic!

    In real life, detectives have to track down every possible lead and interview everyone with the slightest possible information about their case. Most of it amounts to nothing...which is why we read thrillers. Unfortunately, Kellerman takes us along on all the useless interviews and dead ends while protagonist Alex Delaware uses psychobabble to speculate about possible motives. And whenever the investigation stalls, Delaware decides to jump in his car and go for a ride 'to clear his head' -and amazingly stumbles upon a hot new lead each time! Overwritten and tiresome, FLESH AND BLOOD will try your patience. For a truly taut and exciting thriller, I strongly recommend PURSUIT by Thomas Perry.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2001

    kellerman fan

    I happened to stumble upon Jonathan Kellerman several years ago, and have read all of his books!! This one did not disappoint me, I thought the story was well written and kept me engrossed until the end!! Alex Delaware is my favorite sleuth and the characters are like friends to me.. this is a must read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews

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