Survival of the Fittest (Alex Delaware Series #12)

Survival of the Fittest (Alex Delaware Series #12)

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by Jonathan Kellerman

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*A New York Times Bestseller

The nonstop action leaves you breathless . . . in this typically complicated, exciting Kellerman page-turner. -- starred, Publishers Weekly

When a slightly retarded fifteen-year-old girl dies on a school trip, LAPD detective Milo Sturgis and his friend psychologist Alex Delaware are stumped. There's no sign of a struggle and


*A New York Times Bestseller

The nonstop action leaves you breathless . . . in this typically complicated, exciting Kellerman page-turner. -- starred, Publishers Weekly

When a slightly retarded fifteen-year-old girl dies on a school trip, LAPD detective Milo Sturgis and his friend psychologist Alex Delaware are stumped. There's no sign of a struggle and no evidence of sexual assault. Just an innocent young girl -- dead. Alex finds himself ensnared in one of the most menacing cases of his career.

Editorial Reviews
When a young, mentally disabled Israeli girl is found brutally murdered with the letters DVLL inscribed on her pocket, Alex Delaware and detective Milo Sturgis jump on the case. This is not an isolated incident, as Delaware and Sturgis are soon to discover, but an elaborate and psychotic scheme by a maniacal group to "cleanse" the human race.

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Alex Delaware Series, #12
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.84(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

Hooray for Hollywood.

Brass stars with celebrities' names were inlaid in the sidewalk but the stars of the night were toxin merchants, strong-arm specialists, and fifteen-year-olds running from family values turned vicious.

Open twenty-four hours a day, Go-Ji's welcomed them all. The coffee shop sat on the north side of Hollywood Boulevard, east of Vine, between a tattoo parlor and a thrash-metal bar.

At 3:00 a.m., a Mexican boy was sweeping the sidewalk when Nolan Dahl pulled his cruiser into the front loading zone. The boy lacked documentation but the sight of the policeman didn't alter his rhythm; cops could care less about inmigraci¾n. From what the boy had observed after a month, no one in L.A. cared much about anything.

Nolan Dahl locked the black-and-white and entered the restaurant, sauntering the way only 220 pounds of young, muscular cop laden with baton, belt, radio, flashlight, and holstered nine-millimeter could saunter. The place smelled rancid and the aisle of deep red carpet between the duct-taped orange booths was stained beyond redemption. Dahl settled at the rear, allowing himself a view of the Filipino cashier.

The next booth was occupied by a twenty-three-year-old pimp from Compton named Terrell Cochrane and one of his employees, a chubby sixteen-year-old mother of two named Germadine Batts, formerly of Checkpoint, Oklahoma. Fifteen minutes ago, the two had sat around the corner in Terrell's white Lexus, where Germadine had rolled up a blue, spangled legging and shot fifteen dollars' worth of tar heroin into a faltering ankle vein. Now nicely numbed and hypoglycemic, she was on her second diluted jumbo Coke,sucking ice and fooling with the pink plastic stirrer.

Terrell had mixed heroin and cocaine into a speedball and was feeling as perfectly balanced as a tightrope walker. He slouched, forked holes in his cheeseburger, simulated the Olympic logo with five flaccid onion rings while pretending not to watch the big blond cop.

Nolan Dahl couldn't have cared less about either of them, or the five other things scattered around the bright room. Elevator rock played softly. A slim, pretty waitress the color of molasses hurried down the aisle and stopped at Nolan's booth, smiling. Nolan smiled back, waved away a menu, and asked for coconut cream pie and coffee, please.

"New on the night shift?" asked the waitress. She'd come from Ethiopia five years ago and spoke beautiful English with a pleasant accent.

Nolan smiled again and shook his head. He'd been working Hollywood night shift for three months but had never patronized Go-Ji's, getting his sugar rush from a Dunkin' on Highland recommended by Wes Baker. Cops and doughnuts. Big joke.

"Never seen you before, Officer—Dahl."

"Well," he said, "life's full of new experiences."

The waitress laughed. "Well, hmm." She left for the pastry counter and Nolan watched her before shifting his blue eyes, making contact with Terrell Cochrane.

Scruffy thing.

Nolan Dahl was twenty-seven and had been formed, to a large extent, by TV. Before joining the force, his notion of pimps had been red velvet suits and big hats with feathers. Soon he'd learned you couldn't prepare for anything.


He scanned Terrell and the hooker, who had to be a minor. This month the pimp was into coarse, oversized, insipid plaid shirts over black T-shirts, abbreviated cornrows above shaved temples. Last month had been black leather; before that, African prince.

The cop's stare bothered Terrell. Hoping it was someone else under scrutiny, he looked across the aisle at the three transsexuals giggling and whispering and making a big deal out of eating french fries.

He eased back to the cop.

The cop was smiling at him. A weird smile—almost sad. What did that mean?

Terrell returned to his burger, feeling a little out of balance.

The Ethiopian waitress brought Nolan's order and watched as he tasted a forkful of pie.

"Good," he said, though the coconut tasted like bad pi±a-colada mix and the cream was gluey. He was a practiced culinary liar. As a kid, when his mother had served swill he'd said, "Delish," along with Helena and Dad.

"Anything else, Officer Dahl?"

"Not for now, thanks." Nothing you've got.

"Okay, just let me know."

Nolan smiled again and she left.

Terrell Cochrane thought, That smile—one happy fucker. No reason for a cop to be happy 'ceptin' he busted some rodney with no video going.

Nolan ate more pie and again aimed his smile at Terrell. Then he shrugged.

The pimp looked sideways at Germadine, by now nodding half-comatose into her Coke. Few minutes more, bitch, then back outside for more gravel-knee.

The cop ate the rest of the pie, finished his coffee and his water, and the waitress was there right away with refills.

Bitch. After bringing Terrell's and Germadine's food, she'd mostly ignored them.

Terrell lifted his burger and watched her say something to the cop. The cop just kept smiling and shaking his head. The bitch gave the cop his check and the cop gave her money and she turned all grinny.

A twenty, keep it, was the reason.

Fuckers always tipped big, but this? All that smiling, must be celebrating something.

The cop looked into his empty coffee cup.

Then something came out from under the table.

His gun.

He was smiling at Terrell again. Showing him the gun!

The cop's arm stretched.

Terrell's bowels gave way as he ducked under the table, not bothering to push down on Germadine's head though he'd had plenty of practice doing that.

The other patrons saw Terrell's dive. The transsexuals and the drunken long-haul truck driver behind them and the toothless, senile, ninety-year-old man in the first booth.

Everyone ducked.

Except the Ethiopian waitress, who'd been talking to the Filipino cashier. She stared, too terrified to move.

Nolan Dahl nodded at the waitress. Smiled.

She thought, A sad smile, what's with this guy?

Nolan closed his eyes, almost as if he were praying. Opening them, he slid the nine-millimeter between his lips and, sucking like a baby, fixed his gaze on the waitress's pretty face.

She was still unable to move. He saw her terror, softened his eyes, trying to let her know it was okay, the only way.

A beautiful, black, final image. God this place smelled crappy.

He pulled the trigger.

From the Audio Cassette edition.

Meet the Author

Jonathan Kellerman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than three dozen 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. With his son, bestselling novelist Jesse Kellerman, he co-authored the first book of a new series, The Golem of Hollywood. 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.

Brief Biography

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

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Survival of the Fittest (Alex Delaware Series #12) 4.1 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 27 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
bmamca36 More than 1 year ago
When Alex Delaware is working a case with Milo Sturgis it always leads to interesting reading. They are joined by by Daniel Sharavi who becomes involved due to the murder of a diplomats daughter. The daughter is deaf and they begin seeing murders of other handicapped inviduals which they conclude is the motive for the murders. The belief is the murderers believe only the fit should survive. Many twists and turns and all are not predictable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Written well but it's revenge laden with an overly strong we- can-control-anything tone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LTRA More than 1 year ago
A mystery that will surely hold your interest. Because, a child of a foreign diplomat was one of the victims. The wonder is who and why. The team of Milo and Alex is on the case by default, and the surprise is in their answers.
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Mystery7 More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't get enough of Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis!! What a wonderfully paired duo and how well they complement each other. An odd couple that works. Jonathan Kellerman never ceases to keep me turning pages and staying up later than I should.
GracieVS More than 1 year ago
Jonathon Kellerman's characters may seem a little too-well defined, but this makes them all the more compelling. Kellerman's skill as a word smith never disappoints. I always have a clear mental snap-shot of his characters, down to their shoe laces and pink plastic clip-ons. Like all his novels, "Survival of the Fittest" gives no peace. Even when I'm done reading, the topic teases and taunts. The romantic threads among the characters are anything but...they ebb and flow with aching realism. Milo is a gem! A surprise bonus is that his spin-off characters hold their shape and color. Characters by Kellerman are sure to please and keep you up all night.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is my first jonathan kellerman novel. i dont think ill be reading any others. its not a bad book it just seemed too coincidential and unreal. its hard to get caught up in the book and feel the experiences of the characters. its interesting and keeps you hooked though. also the ending seemed to come to together too too much of a happy ending.
Guest More than 1 year ago
nothing can be better than this. makaes u experince it
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my first book by Kellerman. I have never been a reader of crime/mystery novels, but I was unable to put it down once I started reading it. He is so decriptive and his writing makes you not want it to end. I loved it so much I went out and bought The Clinic which I am now reading. It is also wonderful. As a student of Psychology I was able to relate much of my knowledge to Alex Delware the main character. I cannot wait to read all 12 of his books.