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Therapy (Alex Delaware Series #18)

Therapy (Alex Delaware Series #18)

3.2 29
by Jonathan Kellerman

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Behind the yellow crime-scene tape, a brutal tableau awaits. On a lonely lovers’ lane in the hills of Los Angeles, a young couple lies murdered in a car. Each victim bears a single gunshot wound to the head. Though the female remains unidentified, her male companion has a name—Gavin


Behind the yellow crime-scene tape, a brutal tableau awaits. On a lonely lovers’ lane in the hills of Los Angeles, a young couple lies murdered in a car. Each victim bears a single gunshot wound to the head. Though the female remains unidentified, her male companion has a name—Gavin Quick—and a troubled past that had landed him on a therapist’s couch.
“Labyrinthine twists, excellent pacing, and hard-boiled, swaggering dialogue.”—The Washington Post
It’s there, on familiar turf, that psychologist-sleuth Alex Delaware hopes to find vital clues. And that means going head-to-head with Dr. Mary Lou Koppel, a celebrity psychologist who fiercely guards the privacy of her clients . . . alive or dead. As Delaware follows a chain of greed, corruption, and betrayal snaking hideously through the profession he thought he knew, he’ll cross into territory even he never dreamed of treading.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Immensely enjoyable . . . There’s even a shocking surprise.”—Associated Press
“A tight, engaging . . . brainteaser.”—New York Daily News
The New York Times
Mr. Kellerman's Therapy is...thick with coincidence. Somehow he manages to take the story of a lovers' lane double murder near Mulholland Drive to the point where it involves human rights atrocities in Rwanda. Along the way Mr. Kellerman packs in the descriptive detail that is one of his hallmarks and one of the incidental attractions in his fiction.—Janet Maslin
Publishers Weekly
In this audio adaptation of Kellerman's newest thriller (after The Conspiracy Club), psychologist Alex Delaware and his partner, LAPD homicide detective Milo Sturgis, tackle a gruesome lover's lane murder. The story is packed with a full list of suspects and witnesses, including a supercilious television shrink whose practice employs two other equally loathsome therapists. Stage and screen performer Rubinstein takes all their measures in stride, smoothly shifting genders, emotions and attitudes. In one instance, he subtly provides a self-styled pacifist karate instructor with barely checked anger, and in another, he lends a sleazy sex club entrepreneur just a hint of humanity. The highlight of his performance, however, is his dead-on interpretation of the seemingly odd-coupled best friends, Delaware and Sturgis. Having narrated numerous Kellerman audios, Rubinstein has developed distinctive vocal profiles for the urbane Delaware and the gruff-voiced, emotional Sturgis. It would be hard to imagine anybody else giving voice to these vivid characters. Simultaneous release with the Ballantine hardcover (Forecasts, Apr. 5). (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Forbes Magazine
Here we find Kellerman's longtime protagonists, Alex Delaware, a psychologist who consults for the LAPD, and Milo Sturgis, a homicide detective, at work. This story starts with a double murder at the local lovers' lane. The woman--unidentifiable--was impaled, as well as shot. A real sicko is loose here. Once again the author explores a wide range of people and topics, including an off-putting-yet-media-popular psychologist and her unattractive ex-husband; the 1994 Rwandan genocide; and the various scams people use to defraud Medi-Cal, California's health plan for low-income residents. (20 Jun 2005)
—Steve Forbes
Library Journal
To help solve a young couple's murder, Alex Delaware needs to dig secrets out of a testy celebrity psychologist. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Alex Delaware Series , #18
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.30(d)

Read an Excerpt


A few years ago a psychopath burned down my house.

The night it happened, I was out to dinner with the woman who’d designed the house and lived in it with me. We were driving up Beverly Glen when the sirens cut through the darkness, ululating, like coyote death wails.

The noise died quickly, indicating a nearby disaster, but there was no reason to assume the worst. Unless you’re the worst kind of fatalist, you think: “Something lousy happened to some poor devil.”

That night, I learned different.

Since then, the Klaxon of an ambulance or a fire truck in my neighborhood sets off something inside me—a crimp of shoulder, a catch of breath, an arrhythmic flutter of the plum-colored thing in my chest.

Pavlov was right.

I’m trained as a clinical psychologist, could do something about it but have chosen not to. Sometimes anxiety makes me feel alive.

When the sirens shrieked, Milo and I were having dinner at an Italian place at the top of the Glen. It was ten-thirty on a cool June night. The restaurant closes at eleven, but we were the last patrons, and the waiter was looking tired. The woman I was now seeing was teaching a night course in abnormal psychology at the U., and Milo’s partner, Rick Silverman, was busy at the Cedars-Sinai ER trying to salvage the five most seriously injured victims of a ten-car pileup on the Santa Monica Freeway.

Milo had just closed the file on a robbery-turned-to-multiple- homicide at a liquor store on Pico Boulevard. The solve had taken more persistence than brainwork. He was in a position to pick his cases, and no new ones had crossed his desk.

I’d finally finished testifying at the seemingly endless child-custody hearings waged by a famous director and his famous actress wife. I’d begun the consult with some optimism. The director had once been an actor, and both he and his ex knew how to perform. Now, three years later, two kids who’d started out in pretty good shape were basket cases living in France.

Milo and I chewed our way through focaccia and baby artichoke salad, orrechiati stuffed with spinach, veal pounded to paper. Neither of us felt like talking. A bottle of decent white wine smoothed the silence. Both of us were strangely content; life wasn’t fair, but we’d done our jobs well.

When sirens came, I kept my eyes on my plate. Milo stopped eating. The napkin he’d tucked in his shirt collar was spotted with spinach and olive oil.

“Don’t worry,” he said. “Not a fire.”

“Who’s worrying?”

He pushed hair off his forehead, picked up his fork and knife, speared, chewed, swallowed.

I said, “How can you tell?”

“That it’s not a big-red? Trust me, Alex. It’s a black-and-white. I know the frequency.”

A second cruiser wailed by. Then a third.

He pulled his tiny blue cell phone out of his pocket and punched a button. A preset number rang.

I raised my eyebrows.

“Just curious,” he said. His connection went through, and he told the phone, “This is Lieutenant Sturgis. What call just went out in the vicinity of upper Beverly Glen? Yeah, near Mulholland.” He waited, green eyes dimmed to near brown in the miserly light of the restaurant. Under the spotted napkin was a baby blue polo shirt that really didn’t work well with his pallid complexion. His acne pits were flagrant, his jowls gravid as freshly filled wineskins. Long white sideburns frizzed his big face, a pair of skunkish stripes that seemed to sprout artificially from his black hair. He’s a gay policeman and my best friend.

“That so,” he said. “Any detective assigned, yet? Okay, listen, I happen to be right near there, can make it over in ten—no make that fifteen—make it twenty minutes. Yeah, yeah, sure.”

He snapped the little phone shut. “Double homicide, two bodies in a car. Being this close, I figured I should have a look. The crime scene’s still being secured, and the techs haven’t gotten there, so we can still have dessert. How are you with cannoli?”

We split the check, and he offered to drive me home, but neither of us took that seriously.

“In that case,” he said, “we’ll take the Seville.”

I drove quickly. The crime scene was on the west side of the intersection between the Glen and Mulholland, up a skinny, decomposed, granite road marked private that climbed through sycamore-crowned hillside.

A police cruiser was stationed at the mouth of the road. Staked to a tree several feet up was a for sale sign bearing the logo of a Westside Realtor. Milo flashed the badge to the uniform in the car, and we drove through.

At the top of the road was a house behind high, night-blackened hedges. Two more black-and-whites kept us ten yards back. We parked and continued on foot. The sky was purplish, the air still bitter with the smolder of two early-summer brush fires, one up near Camarillo, the other past Tujunga. Both had just been vanquished. One had been set by a fireman.

Behind the hedges was stout wooden fencing. Double gates had been left open. The bodies slumped in a red Mustang convertible parked on a semicircular flagstone driveway. The house behind the drive was a vacant mansion, a big neo-Spanish thing that was probably cheerful peach in the daylight. At this hour, it was putty gray.

The driveway bordered a half acre of front yard, shaded by more sycamores—giant ones. The house looked newish and was ruined by too many weird-shaped windows, but someone had been smart enough to spare the trees.

The top was down on the little red car. I stood back and watched as Milo approached, careful to stay behind the tape. He did nothing but stare. Moments later, a pair of crime-scene techs walked onto the property lugging cases on a dolly. They talked to him briefly, then slipped under the tape.

He walked back to the Seville. “Looks like gunshot wounds to both heads, a guy and a girl, young. He’s in the driver’s seat, she’s next to him. His fly’s open, and his shirt’s half-unbuttoned. Her shirt’s clean off, tossed in the backseat along with her bra. Under the shirt she wore black leggings. They’re rolled down to her ankles, and her legs are spread.”

“Lover’s lane thing?” I said.

“Empty house,” he said. “Good neighborhood. Probably a nice view from the backyard. Seize the night and all that? Sure.”

“If they knew about the house, they could be locals.”

“He looked clean-cut, well dressed. Yeah, I’d say local is also a decent bet.”

“I wonder why the gate was left open.”

“Or maybe it wasn’t, and one of them has some connection to the house and a gate-clicker. For all we know, one of their families built the place. Crime Scene will do their thing, hopefully they’ll find IDs in the pockets. The car’s plates are being run right now.”

I said, “Any gun in sight?”

“A murder-suicide thing? Not likely.”

He rubbed his face. His hand lingered at his mouth, tugged down his lower lip and let it snap back up.

“What?” I said.

“Two head-shots plus, Alex. Someone jammed what looks to be a short spear or a crossbow bolt into the girl’s torso. Here.” He touched a spot under his breastbone. “From what I could see the damn thing went clear through her and is lodged in the seat. The impact jolted her body, she’s lying funny.”

“A spear.”

“She was skewered, Alex. A bullet to the brain wasn’t enough.”

“Overkill,” I said. “A message. Were they actually making love or were they positioned sexually?”

He flashed a frightening smile. “Now we’re veering into your territory.”

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
“Immensely enjoyable . . . There’s even a shocking surprise.”—Associated Press
“A tight, engaging . . . brainteaser.”—New York Daily News

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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Therapy (Alex Delaware Series #18) 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A young man and woman are found dead, both shot at close range in the head, the woman, in addition to being shot, is impaled by a metal spike. Homicide detective Milo Sturgis responds to the call and brings his good friend, psychologist, Alex Delaware with him. The crime scene holds no information about the young woman, but the man is found to be Gavin Quick, a troubled soul whose past landed him on a therapist¿s couch. Alex begins looking into Gavin¿s background to find a man who, once he suffered a major head-injury, had wild mood swings and began obsessing about certain women. As a result of an incident with a woman he admired, Gavin was forced to see Dr. Mary Lou Koppel, a popular psychologist who guards the privacy of her patient¿alive or dead. Alex desperately needs the help of Dr. Koppel, but her resistance to divulge information leaves him cold, then a shocking discovery has him questioning her about the death of another one of her patients. Alex and Milo start digging deeper through Gavin¿s past only to find more questions that need answering, until another woman is found impaled and the investigation takes a surprising turn. `Therapy¿ is the best Alex Delaware book is years. Once begun the book can¿t be put down. Expert pacing and a masterful plot will keep you racing through the pages to find out who did it and why. Jonathan Kellerman has made the psychological thriller genre his own and `Therapy¿, his most powerful and suspenseful novel, shows him at the top of his game. Set aside some time because you¿ll be up all night reading! Nick Gonnella
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sorry, but this was my first experience with Jonathan Kellerman and my last! While I know that the author needs to give details and make you feel and 'live' the experince sort of speak, there is a limit. I think that he took it over board! Too many non-relevant details, breakfast, coffee, couches, etc. I got bored to my teeth into my 2nd chapter and yet I still, hung in there to the 5th!!! that is all I could take! Sorry.. he might be a great therapist but Jon, stick witk your arena!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been an avid Kellerman fan for the better part of two years, mainly of his Alex Delaware novels. I have never read a bad Kellerman novel and don't expect to ever do so. He delivers top-notch reading from cover to cover. Threrapy is no exception, the story was packed with so many psychological twists and turns, all leading up to a hyped-up ending. I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Kellerman continues to have his lead character roam the streets of Beverly Hills and West Los Angeles with geographic accuracy and interest. Delaware is once again drawn into a case of murder by his long time friend Milo Sturgis, this time with a practice of psychotherapists as the main suspects. And it's this wonderful Delaware formula of mystery that has kept readers going back to this fine series of novels. This one, however, falls short of some of his best, and the numerous plot turns arn't enough to save it. There are just so many characters covered that few are 'fleshed' out very well and, at times, you find yourself not caring about most of the others. But the biggest disappointment is Dr Delaware himself. He has become an 'all knowing' shrink/cop/intellectual that is now even conducting Police interrogations while the career Detective stands by and listens. What happened to the semi-retired shrink with the wonderful character flaws and emotional vulnerabilities? When will we again see Delaware get in over his head (and even get beat up now and then)? I miss the old Dr Delaware and would like to see him back in the next novel !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Watvhed him fearfully. "How do I know that?" She asked. (Sorry had piano practice)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
60catladay More than 1 year ago
Older book which gives some background on Alex & Robin's relationship (Spike as well!). The book is as always very good and a good example of how Alex & Milo work together.
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Mystery7 More than 1 year ago
Excellent read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Therapy was a pretty cool psychological thriller. Like the rest of Kellerman's stories this one started off with a dreadful murder of a young couple. So Alex & Milo come along to unfold this case which leads to crazy turns outs that doesn't quite matches the first murder. Or at least close by the ending. But it was all still good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story was a decent mystery and did a great job depicting the many characters. Some parts were a bit boring and drawn out more than necessary.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Johnathan Kellerman's 'Therapy' was a huge disappointment. I love the Alex Delaware and Milo characters, but this time around, the storyline moved along very slow, I found myself skipping paragraphs to get to the really interesting parts and it just didn't happen. Hopefully Kellerman's next novel will read like his previous best sellers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was so looking forward to this book and I was very disappointed. Alex's love life has gotton just plain weird. It was almost like the book didn't know which to go so it kept meandering around. Hopefully he gets back to more of the psychological side of Alex. Truly a disappointment
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't finish this one, it got boring. There was too much theorizing and not enough substance in the story line.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just finished this latest Kellerman novel and found it definitely lacking. I have read several of the Alex Delaware novels and found the plot of this one rather dull. There is no character identification here and Milo and Alex really aren't taxed greatly in this whodunnit. I wouldn't invest in this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have read most of Kellerman's books and this one is not up to his usual high standard and good reads. No reason to delve into plot. Pass on this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read all the Kellermans' books, both Jon and Faye. Both spouses have had bombs on their resumes as well as home runs. I never bothered finishing this one--and in addition, I skipped to the last few pages to find out how it ended! And I did not care. Hey, Faye, let's have more Pete Decker.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Like other reviewers, I too have read all of Kellerman's Alex Delaware novels. I'd rate this one somewhere in the middle. Not the worst ('The Web' no doubt has that honor) but not the best either. The story moves at pretty slow pace and offers few surprises along the way (particularly if you're in tune with Kellerman's style). It might be worth 'checking out' .... but don't expect too much!