Guilt (Alex Delaware Series #28)

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 

In an upscale L.A. neighborhood, a backyard renovation unearths an infant’s body, buried sixty years ago. Soon thereafter, in a nearby park, another disturbingly bizarre discovery is made not far from the body of a young woman shot in the head. Helping LAPD homicide detective Milo Sturgis to link these eerie incidents is brilliant psychologist Alex Delaware. But even the good doctor’s vast experience with matters both clinical and criminal might ...

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2013 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 378 p. Alex Delaware Novels. Audience: General/trade. The new complex and masterfully ... plotted psychological thriller from Jonathan Kellerman, the No. 1 bestselling author and creator of Alex Delaware-The Crime Reader. When a young couple takes possession of their dream home, they can't wait to remodel the neglected mansion. That is until they make a gruesome discovery of a rusted metal strongbox containing two rotting leather doctor's bags. And inside each bag, swaddled in sheets of sixty-year-old newspaper, lies a tiny human skeleton. The case hits the media, and theories abound. The most likely culprit is a mysterious woman, employed as private nurse to wealthy L.A. families during World War Two and Lieutenant Milo Sturgis consults psychologist Alex Delaware for insight into the perpetrator's motives. But the horror is just beginning. Two more bags are discovered, but this time the infants inside have been dead l Read more Show Less

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Guilt (Alex Delaware Series #28)

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Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 

In an upscale L.A. neighborhood, a backyard renovation unearths an infant’s body, buried sixty years ago. Soon thereafter, in a nearby park, another disturbingly bizarre discovery is made not far from the body of a young woman shot in the head. Helping LAPD homicide detective Milo Sturgis to link these eerie incidents is brilliant psychologist Alex Delaware. But even the good doctor’s vast experience with matters both clinical and criminal might not be enough to cut down to the bone of this chilling case. Backtracking six decades into the past stirs up tales of a beautiful nurse with a mystery lover, a handsome, wealthy doctor who seems too good to be true, and a hospital with a notorious reputation—all of them long gone, along with any records of a newborn, and destined for anonymity. But the specter of fame rears its head when the case unexpectedly twists in the direction of the highest echelons of celebrity privilege. Entering this sheltered world, Alex little imagines the macabre layer just below the surface—a decadent quagmire of unholy rituals and grisly sacrifice.
 
Don’t miss the excerpt of Jonathan Kellerman’s Killer in the back of the book!

Praise for Jonathan Kellerman and Guilt
 
“A solid, poignant tale of violence against the innocent . . . cool, brisk and polished.”—The Washington Post
 
“Action-packed . . . Kellerman proves he can keep readers entertained and engrossed in a story that keeps them on the edge of their seats to the final page.”—Wichita Falls Times Record News

“Certainly one of [Kellerman’s] best offerings to date . . . Do not miss this one.”Bookreporter
 
“Jonathan Kellerman’s psychology skills and dark imagination are a potent literary mix.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“The combination of Alex Delaware [and] Detective Milo Sturgis . . . makes for the most original whodunit duo since Watson and Holmes.”—Forbes
 
“Jonathan Kellerman’s novels are an obsession; once started it is hard to quit.”—Orlando Sentinel
 
“Kellerman doesn’t just write psychological thrillers—he owns the genre.”—Detroit Free Press

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post - Gerald Bartell
A briskly paced investigation…with the collected, deliberate Delaware and the punchy, aggressive Sturgis pulling at strands of information and bouncing hypotheses off each other in scenes that crackle with sharp banter. But it's Delaware's confident demeanor as a professional psychologist that largely sets the thriller's tone, which is cool, brisk and polished.
Publishers Weekly
Three decades after the debut of Kellerman's psychologist detective, the 28th entry (after 2012's Victims) is a lackluster one and shows the series' age. Newcomers are unlikely to be impressed either by Delaware's psychological or deductive insights. He tells a celebrity patient at her first session that "happiness comes from taking all the credit and none of the blame." A witness's failure to know her sister Adriana Betts' number by heart, relying instead on pressing a button on her cell to automatically place the call, is ‘evidence' that she hadn't been in close contact with her. Betts has turned up dead of a gunshot wound in the same L.A. park as a defleshed baby's corpse. The infant's remains turned up during excavation of a drainage ditch—and that grim discovery followed the unearthing of an older baby's skeleton in a backyard. The investigations Delaware and his longtime LAPD ally Milo Sturgis conduct are strictly by the numbers, and their solutions are unremarkable. Whatever was innovative in this series is long gone. (Feb)
Kirkus Reviews
The only clue to a buried baby's identity is a vintage Duesenberg. The new owners of the fixer-upper Victorian in LA's posh Cheviot Hills area are appalled when a storm reveals an old metal hospital box containing the skeleton of a dead baby in their yard. The LAPD's Milo Sturgis, who catches the case, drags along his pal, consulting psychologist Alex Delaware (Victims, 2012, etc.). Tracking down former house tenants turns up a pediatric nurse often visited late at night by someone driving a rare Duesenberg, whose ownership leads to a late doctor with severe war wounds who may have provided abortions back in the days before Roe v. Wade. The case is further complicated when another baby, more recently buried, is found in a nearby park with a woman, possibly its mother, lying dead nearby. Would a serial killer space his crimes over 50 years apart? Would he even have the appetite for murder so many years later? The new infant's bones have been picked clean by flesh-eating beetles, then coated with beeswax. The woman turns out to be a missing nanny whose last job was for superstars Prema Moon and Donny Rader, now sequestered on their vast estate with their four adopted kids. The couple's marriage is a sham, their estate manager turns up with a bullet in his head, and another of their nannies has also departed without notice. After Alex tails Prema, she decides that she'll pay $300 for a 45-minute session with him, and that lets loose a three-hankie tale of marital woe that ends with Milo and a forensic crew surrounding the film stars' living complex. Too slick, too generous with coincidences and too cute by far. One pet pooch in particular is so endearing she ought to be in a Disney movie.
From the Publisher
Praise for Jonathan Kellerman and Guilt
 
“A solid, poignant tale of violence against the innocent . . . cool, brisk and polished.”—The Washington Post
 
“Action-packed . . . Kellerman proves he can keep readers entertained and engrossed in a story that keeps them on the edge of their seats to the final page.”—Wichita Falls Times Record News

“Certainly one of [Kellerman’s] best offerings to date . . . Do not miss this one.”Bookreporter
 
“Jonathan Kellerman’s psychology skills and dark imagination are a potent literary mix.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“The combination of Alex Delaware [and] Detective Milo Sturgis . . . makes for the most original whodunit duo since Watson and Holmes.”—Forbes
 
“Jonathan Kellerman’s novels are an obsession; once started it is hard to quit.”—Orlando Sentinel
 
“Kellerman doesn’t just write psychological thrillers—he owns the genre.”—Detroit Free Press

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345505736
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/12/2013
  • Series: Alex Delaware Series , #28
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Kellerman

Jonathan Kellerman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 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, bestselling novelist Faye Kellerman, he co-authored Double Homicide and Capital Crimes. He is also the author of two children’s books and numerous nonfiction works, including Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children and 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, New Mexico, and New York.

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

All mine!

The house, the life growing inside her.

The husband.

Holly finished her fifth circuit of the back room that looked out to the yard. She paused for breath. The baby—Aimee—had started pushing against her diaphragm.

Since escrow had closed, Holly had done a hundred circuits, imagining. Loving every inch of the place despite the odors embedded in ninety-year-old plaster: cat pee, mildew, overripe vegetable soup. Old person.

In a few days the painting would begin and the aroma of fresh latex would bury all that, and cheerful colors would mask the discouraging gray-beige of Holly’s ten-room dream. Not counting bathrooms.

The house was a brick-faced Tudor on a quarter-acre lot at the southern edge of Cheviot Hills, built when construction was meant to last and adorned by moldings, wainscoting, arched mahogany doors, quarter-sawn oak floors. Parquet in the cute little study that would be Matt’s home office when he needed to bring work home.

Holly could close the door and not have to hear Matt’s grumbling about moron clients incapable of keeping decent records. Meanwhile she’d be on a comfy couch, snuggling with Aimee.

She’d learned the sex of the baby at the four-month anatomical ultrasound, decided on the name right then and there. Matt didn’t know yet. He was still adjusting to the whole fatherhood thing.

Sometimes she wondered if Matt dreamed in numbers.

Resting her hands on a mahogany sill, Holly squinted to blank out the weeds and dead grass, struggling to conjure a green, flower-laden Eden.

Hard to visualize, with a mountain of tree trunk taking up all that space.

The five-story sycamore had been one of the house’s selling points, with its trunk as thick as an oil drum and dense foliage that created a moody, almost spooky ambience. Holly’s creative powers had immediately kicked into gear, visualizing a swing attached to that swooping lower branch.

Aimee giggling as she swooped up and shouted that Holly was the best mommy.

Two weeks into escrow, during a massive, unseasonal rainstorm, the sycamore’s roots had given way. Thank God the monster had teetered but hadn’t fallen. The trajectory would’ve landed it right on the house.

An agreement was drawn up: The sellers—the old woman’s son and daughter—would pay to have the monstrous thing chopped down and hauled away, the stumps ground to dust, the soil leveled. Instead, they’d cheaped out, paying a tree company only to cut down the sycamore, leaving behind a massive horror of deadwood that took up the entire rear half of the yard.

Matt had gone bananas, threatened to kill the deal.

Abrogate. What an ugly word.

Holly had cooled him off by promising to handle the situation, she’d make sure they got duly compensated, he wouldn’t have to deal with it.

Fine. As long as you actually do it.

Now Holly stared at the mountain of wood, feeling discouraged and a bit helpless. Some of the sycamore, she supposed, could be reduced to firewood. Fragments and leaves and loose pieces of bark she could rake up herself, maybe create a compost pile. But those massive columns . . .

Whatever; she’d figure it out. Meanwhile, there was cat-pee/overripe-soup/mildew/old-lady stink to deal with.

Mrs. Hannah had lived in the house for fifty-two years. Still, how did a person’s smell permeate lath and plaster? Not that Holly had anything against old people. Though she didn’t know too many.

There had to be something you could do to freshen yourself—a special deodorant—when you reached a certain age.

One way or the other, Matt would settle down. He’d come around, he always did.

Like with the house, itself. He’d never expressed any interest in design, all of a sudden he was into contemporary. Holly had toured a ton of boring white boxes, knowing Matt would always find a reason to say no because that was Matt’s thing.

By the time Holly’s dream house materialized, he didn’t care about style, just a good price.

The deal had been one of those warp-speed magical things, like when the stars are all aligned and your karma’s perfectly positioned: Old lady dies, greedy kids want quick cash and contact Coldwell and randomly get hooked up with Vanessa, and Vanessa calls Holly before the house goes on the market because she owes Holly big-time, all those nights talking Vanessa down from bad highs, listening to Vanessa’s nonstop litany of personal issues.

Toss in the biggest real estate slump in decades and the fact that Holly had been a little Ms. Scroogette working twelve-hour days as a P.R. drone since graduating college nine years ago and Matt was even tighter plus he’d gotten that raise plus that IPO they got to invest in from one of Matt’s tech buddies had paid off, and they had just enough for the down payment and to qualify for financing.

Mine!

Including the tree.

Holly struggled with a balky old brass handle—original hardware!—shoved a warped French door open, and stepped out into the yard. Making her way through the obstacle course of felled branches, death-browned leaves, and ragged pieces of bark, she reached the fence that separated her property from the neighbors.

This was her first serious look at the mess, and it was even worse than she’d thought: The tree company had sawed away with abandon, allowing the chunks to fall on unprotected ground. The result was a whole bunch of holes—craters, a real disaster.

Maybe she could use that to threaten a big-time lawsuit unless they carted everything away and cleaned up properly.

She’d need a lawyer. One who’d take it on contingency . . . God, those holes were ugly, sprouting thick, wormy masses of roots and a nasty-looking giant splinter.

She kneeled at the rim of the grossest crater, tugged at the roots. No give. Moving to a smaller pit, she dislodged only dust.

At the third hole, as she managed to tug loose a thatch of smaller roots, her fingers brushed against something cold. Metallic.

Buried treasure, aye aye, pirate booty! Wouldn’t that be justice!

Laughing, Holly brushed away soil and rocks, revealed a patch of pale blue. Then a red cross. A few more strokes and the entire top of the metal thing came into view.

A box, like a safe-deposit box but larger. Blue except for the red cross at the center.

Something medical? Or just kids burying who-knew-what in an abandoned receptacle?

Holly tried to budge the box. It shimmied but held fast. She rocked it back and forth, made some progress but was unable to free the darn thing.

Then she remembered and went to the garage and retrieved the ancient spade from the stack of rusty tools left behind by the sellers. Another broken promise, they’d pledged to clean up completely, gave the excuse that the tools were still usable, they were just trying to be nice.

Like Matt would ever use hedge clippers or a rake or a hand edger.

Returning to the hole, she wedged the spade’s flat mouth between metal and dirt and put a little weight into the pry. A creak sounded but the box only budged a tiny bit, stubborn devil. Maybe she could pop the lid to see what was inside . . . nope, the clasp was held tight by soil. She worked the spade some more, same lack of progress.

Back in the old days she would’ve borne down hard. Back when she did Zumba twice a week and yoga once a week and ran 10Ks and didn’t have to avoid sushi or carpaccio or latte or Chardonnay.

All for you, Aimee.

Now every week brought increasing fatigue, everything she’d taken for granted was an ordeal. She stood there, catching her breath. Okay, time for an alternative plan: Inserting the spade along every inch of the box’s edges, she let loose a series of tiny, sharp tugs, working methodically, careful not to strain.

After two go-rounds, she began again, had barely pushed down on the spade when the box’s left side popped up and it flew out of the hole and Holly staggered back, caught off-balance.

The spade fell from her hands as she used both arms to fight for stability.

She felt herself going down, willed herself not to, managed to stay on her feet.

Close call. She was wheezing like an asthmatic couch potato. Finally, she recovered enough to drag the blue box onto the dirt.

No lock on the latch, just a hasp and loop, rusted through. But the rest of the box had turned green from oxidation, and a patch worn through the blue paint explained that: bronze. From the weight, solid. That had to be worth something by itself.

Sucking in a lungful of air, Holly jiggled with the hasp until she freed it.

“Presto-gizmo,” she said, lifting the lid.

The bottom and sides of the box were lined with browned newspaper. Resting in the nest of clippings was something wrapped in fuzzy cloth—a satin-edged blanket, once blue, now faded mostly to tan and pale green. Purplish splotches on the satin borders.

Something worth wrapping. Burying. Excited, Holly lifted the blanket out of the box.

Feeling disappointed immediately because whatever was inside had no serious weight to it, scratch doubloons or gold bars or rose-cut diamonds.

Laying the blanket on the ground, Holly took hold of a seam and unfurled.

The thing that had been inside the blanket grinned up at her.

Then it shape-shifted, oh God, and she cried out and it fell apart in front of her eyes because all that had held it together was the tension of the blanket-wrap.

Tiny skeleton, now a scatter of loose bones.

The skull had landed right in front of her. Smiling. Black eyeholes insanely piercing.

Two minuscule tooth-thingies on the bottom jaw looked ready to bite.

Holly sat there, unable to move or breathe or think.

A bird peeped.

Silence bore down on Holly.

A leg bone rolled to one side as if by its own power and she let out a wordless retch of fear and revulsion.

That did nothing to discourage the skull. It kept staring. Like it knew something.

Holly mustered all of her strength and screamed.

Kept screaming.

CHAPTER

2

The woman was blond, pretty, white-faced, pregnant.

Her name was Holly Ruche and she sat hunched atop a tree stump, one of a dozen or so massive, chain-sawed segments taking up a good portion of the run-down backyard. Breathing hard and clutching her belly, she clenched her eyes shut. One of Milo’s cards rested between her right thumb and forefinger, crumpled beyond recognition. For the second time since I’d arrived, she waved off help from the paramedics.

They hung around anyway, paying scant attention to the uniforms and the coroner’s crew. Everyone standing around looking superfluous; it would take an anthropologist to make sense of this.

Milo had phoned the EMTs first. “Priorities. It’s not like there’s any emergency to the rest of it.”

The rest of it was an assortment of brown bones that had once been a baby’s skeleton, scattered on an old blanket. Not a random toss, the general shape was of a tiny, disarticulated human body.

Open sutures in the skull and a couple of dental eruptions in the mandible made my guess four to six months, but my Ph.D.’s in the wrong science for that kind of prophecy. The smallest bones—fingers, toes—weren’t much thicker than toothpicks.

Looking at the poor little thing made my eyes hurt. I shifted my attention to details.

Beneath the blanket was a wad of newspaper clippings from 1951 lining a blue metal box around two feet long. The paper was the L.A. Daily News, defunct since 1954. A sticker on the side of the box read Property Swedish Benevolent Hospital and Infirmary, 232 Central Avenue, Los Angeles, Ca.—an institution just confirmed by Milo to have shut down in ’52.

The homely, squat Tudor house fronting the yard looked to be older than that, probably from the twenties when so much of L.A. had taken shape.

Holly Ruche began crying.

A paramedic approached again. “Ma’am?”

“I’m fine . . .” Swollen-eyed, hair cut in an off-kilter bob mussed by nervous hands, she focused on Milo, as if for the first time, shifted to me, shook her head, stood.

Folding her arms across her occupied abdomen, she said, “When can I have my house back, Detective?”

“Soon as we finish processing, Ms. Ruche.”

She regarded me again.

Milo said, “This is Dr. Delaware, our consulting psychologist—”

“Psychologist? Is someone worried about my mental health?”

“No, ma’am. We sometimes call Dr. Delaware in when—”

“Thanks but I’m fine.” Shuddering, she glanced back to where she’d found the bones. “So horrible.”

Milo said, “How deeply was the box buried?”

“I don’t know—not deep, I was able to pull it up, wasn’t I? You don’t really think this is a real crime, do you? I mean a new one. It’s historical, not for the police, right? The house was constructed in 1927 but it could’ve even been there way before, the land used to be bean fields and grapevines, if you dug up the neighborhood—any neighborhood—who knows what you’d find.”

She placed a hand on her chest. Seemed to be fighting for oxygen.

Milo said, “Maybe you should sit down, ma’am.”

“Don’t worry, I promise I’m okay.”

“How about we let the paramedics take a look at you—”

“I’ve already been looked at,” she said. “By a real doctor, yesterday, my ob-gyn, everything’s perfect.”

“How far along are you?”

“Five months.” Her smile was frigid. “What could possibly not be okay? I own a gorgeous house. Even though you’re processing it.” She hmmphed. “It’s their fault, all I wanted to do was have them get rid of the tree, if they hadn’t done it sloppy, this would never have happened.”

“The previous owners?”

“The Hannahs, Mark and Brenda, it was their mother’s, she died, they couldn’t wait to cash out . . . hey, here’s something for you, Detective . . . I’m sorry, what’d you say your name was?”

“Lieutenant Sturgis.”

“Here’s something, Lieutenant Sturgis: The old woman was ninety-three when she died, she lived here for a long time, the house still smells of her. So she could easily have . . . done that.”

“We’ll look into it, Ms. Ruche.”

“What exactly does processing mean?”

“Depends on what else we find.”

She reached into a jean pocket and drew out a phone that she jabbed angrily. “C’mon, answer already—oh, I got you. Finally. Listen, I need you to come over . . . to the house. You won’t believe what happened . . . what? No, I can’t—okay, soon as the meeting’s finished . . . no, don’t call, just come over.”

She hung up.

Milo said, “Your husband?”

“He’s an accountant.” As if that explained it. “So what’s processing?”

“Our first step will be bringing some dogs in to sniff around, depending upon what they come up with, maybe a below-ground sonar to see if anything else is buried down there.”

“Else?” said Holly Ruche. “Why would there be anything else?”

“No reason, but we need to be thorough.”

“You’re saying my home is a graveyard? That’s disgusting. All you’ve got is some old bones, there’s no reason to think there’s more.”

“I’m sure you’re right—”

“Of course I’m right, I own this place. The house and the land.”

A hand fluttered to her abdomen. She massaged. “My baby’s developing perfectly.”

“That’s great, Ms. Ruche.”

She stared at Milo, gave out a tiny squeak. Her eyes rolled back, her mouth went slack, she pitched backward.

Milo and I both caught her. Her skin was dank, clammy. As she went limp, the paramedics rushed over, looking oddly satisfied.

I-told-you-so nods. One of them said, “It’s always the stubborn ones. We’ll take it from here, Lieutenant.”

Milo said, “You sure as hell will,” and went to call the anthropologist.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 113 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(33)

4 Star

(37)

3 Star

(23)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(14)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 113 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    Kept my interest.

    Fits the series. Creepy story but kept with the Kellerman's interesting cast of characters. Book was worth the money.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 18, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    A Lilac Wolf and Stuff Review Let's see...it's the 28th novel i

    A Lilac Wolf and Stuff Review

    Let's see...it's the 28th novel in the Alex Delaware series. I think it rocks, honestly. The main characters are Alex Delaware (duh) and Milo Sturgis, Milo is the detective that Alex helps out on occasion (in every single book - *giggle*). There was much more tension between Alex and Milo in this book. In the last novel Alex had saved Milo's life, add to that all the extra footwork Alex put into this one that the captain noticed and commented on while criticizing Milo.

    We also got to see a few of Alex's buttons get pushed. He had a rough childhood and it's really colored his life as an adult. But basically Alex is a retired child psychologist. He did the hardest work for years, working with children with terminal illness, usually cancer. He had invested wisely, so now he works when he wants too. Yeah, I'm jealous. lol

    I love these novels because it's like reading an episode of Law and Order. I don't have to worry about the kids seeing it, they don't read over my shoulder yet. It has all the crime, tension and interpersonal drama that one could ask for. Being that it's a series, it includes the loves of both Alex and Milo.

    "'She didn't die pretty.'"
    "An outraged activist might call that blaming the victim. Anyone with homicide experience would call it logic."

    Hey all, did you know that Milo is a gay lieutenant who is basically given free reign to solve whatever he wants because he has the highest solve rate ever? It's a good thing, because being gay in a police department can't be easy. Kudos to Mr. Kellerman for including that bit of reality in this series.

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted February 16, 2013

    Terrible!!!!!

    Terrible!!!! Had 50 pages left three days ago - have 30 pages left now.
    Kellerman should feel 'guilty' writing such nonsense.
    Boring!!!! Kept waiting for the book to get better - it didn't.
    Plot is Thin, Thin, Thin!!!!
    Oh, yeah, what plot?!!!!!

    6 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 14, 2013

    A decent read but not up to his usual standards.

    A decent read but not up to his usual standards.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 26, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Great Who-dun-it!

    Jonathan Kellerman just keeps on ticking in his 28th book about forensic psychologist Alex Delaware! Although Alex's role in this book wasn't so much the main character as the 'go-to' guy for Milo Sturgis, his long-time friend and LAPD Investigator. Through the years and books, the dynamics have changed, Milo has grown to be the main character with his own strong personality and way of doing things while Alex is now a consultant. Their interaction has remained well-done, though!

    The story starts with the skeletal remains of an infant long dead being dug up during a backyard renovation. Within a day, in a local park, another infant's remains are found near the body of a young nanny who has been shot, 'execution' style. Further investigation finds she is not the only nanny to be killed or is missing.

    Getting to the bottom of this mystery is not a straight line, we find our heroes working with theories and little else. The author has added enough twists and turns to keep you guessing until those final pages!

    Filled with emotional details, past histories and characters that you either love or find annoying, Jonathan Kellerman did a good job of putting me in the story, in the scenes. His style as a mystery writer has remained one that I enjoy!

    This edition was provided by NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 1, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Oh Jonathan ~~~ what happened?? I've been reading Jonathan Kell

    Oh Jonathan ~~~ what happened?? I've been reading Jonathan Kellerman's books for 20 (?) years now and rarely have I come across a book I did not like. Guilt is without a doubt the worst book he's ever written! Am thinking he should stick to painting. It took me at least 200 pages to even get into it a bit. Still couldn't tell you the plot. It was so hard to keep reading it; was like reading a puzzle!?! Even his star character, Milo, was certainly not up to par. A complete waste of paper. Maybe the time has come to leave it to your wife and children. At least Faye turns out a decent mystery and always well written. I can only say ~~~ this was a book of nothing; totally disjointed. Sorry, Jonathan, b ut had to be truthful.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2013

    Another Great Book

    Loved it. Loved the characters for the suspects! The end when they get the killer is great. Kellerman shines a light on our society that is enlightening & thought provoking.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted February 18, 2013

    Not His Best.

    Have read most of this author's books This one did not live up to the other's.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted August 22, 2013

    Stagnant Characters

    I've been reading JK since 1983 and believe that "Time Bomb" is the best Delaware installment yet. Since then the books have been passable but quickly became repeatative. I could not tell you the plot of any of them since 2000!

    But my main disappointment is how stale all of the players are. They never change or grow nor do their lives ever develop. It's like they live in a bubble:

    Alex still lies to Robin and she still plays along; Milo is still emotionally volatile with no clear direction in life and no apparent plans for a family life with Rick; Alex's family are all ghosts, Milo's too and even Robin's.

    It feels like JK is milking this series dead because of how deeply boring and stagnant the characters have been.

    Borrow don't buy this one. Forgettable. Again.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted April 16, 2013

    Slow

    Not impressed. Way too slow.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted March 17, 2013

    Not up to par for Kellerman. Kept skipping pages...boring...too

    Not up to par for Kellerman. Kept skipping pages...boring...too much meandering. Frustrating read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted March 12, 2013

    Not up to par. I'm a hugh fan of Alex and Milo, but couldn't ge

    Not up to par. I'm a hugh fan of Alex and Milo, but couldn't get into this one. I read the first 115 pages, then skipped to the last chapter to find out who did it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted February 21, 2013

    Terrific .

    All authors have their ups and downs with books but I must say that JK has waaaaaaay more ups than downs. His previous novel was terrific and while this one wasn't quite as good I can honestly say that the man can't write a bad book. I think that Alex and Milo are 2 of the most interesting and complex "buddy teams" out there and make every JK novel just a little different, in a great way. I ALWAYS buy his books without even reading a sample and will be devastated when he retires!


    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2013

    KAT

    Lite. Book was reasonably good but far fom being up to his past writing performance. I will buy his next book but if it is only at this level, i will buy no more.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted June 2, 2014

    Aiex Delaware IsSuperberb!

    I have read several of this series. Iam not diapointed by the team of Alex and Milo. It seems to be an unusual relationship.between the two of them but they seem to compliment each other. I will continue reading about these two.

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

    Posted May 5, 2014

    This book is really bad....thin plot,,so much dialog that goes n

    This book is really bad....thin plot,,so much dialog that goes nowhere,boring characters......just BAD!!!!

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

    Posted January 25, 2014

    I usually am hooked in a few pages. Not this time. Not up to his

    I usually am hooked in a few pages. Not this time. Not up to his standards. Put book in recycle half way thru.

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

    Posted January 11, 2014

    Mediocre

    Not Kellerman's best by far. I have always loved Alex and Milo bit it seemed he tried to develop some tension between the characters by having Milo put down by his Chief while Alex is made out to be the superior detective. This was really a turnoff for me as I am a fan of Milo.

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

    Posted January 7, 2014

    Another great story.

    Alex Delaware, always a hit.

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

    Posted September 8, 2013

    Very good.

    I liked the part where Alex and Milo went to Cafe Mogul.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 113 Customer Reviews

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