Analyze this about Dr. Alex Delaware: he's a guy who cleans the front grille of his Cadillac with a toothbrush before going out to meet a new woman. But there's something endearing about his actually admitting it. And fortunately for readers of a series that still ambles on confidently, he's smarter about murder than he is about love. — Janet Maslin
"This one's a twister, isn't it?" Kellerman is at it again with number 17 in his highly successful series starring smooth L.A. psychologist Alex Delaware. In this latest installment, Delaware is called in (via Homicide pal Milo Sturgis) to consult on a string of bizarre murders of fringe artists on the verge of stardom. The victims-a bluesman out of rehab, a punk diva screaming her way toward a record deal, a rising young concert pianist and an abstract painter-seem utterly unrelated. Their only connection, as Delaware shrewdly notes, is that each is "[a] gifted, damaged soul snuffed out violently, during the first blush of comeback." Rounding out the investigative team is Det. Petra Connor (reprising her role from previous Kellerman books), this time paired with spooky, skinny Eric Stahl, a silent ex-soldier with a sweaty fear of hospitals. The clues appear in an underground zine covering art in absurdly pretentious tones ("This is DANCE as in paleo-instinctuo-bioenergetics") in articles signed by the "Faithful Scrivener," and lead the team to encounters with some of the weirder denizens of the City of Angels. Of course, Kellerman provides a meaty layer of interpersonal relationships beneath the surface of his plot, so that longtime fans can tune into the latest episode of Delaware's tense friendship with his ex, Robin, which is not where he hoped it would be, but which he handles with his usual aplomb ("When in doubt, ask about the dog"). That Robin's occupation places her squarely in the killer's crosshairs wraps things up nicely. Booksellers should have little trouble moving this along. Agent, Barney Karpfinger. Major ad/promo. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Delaware and Sturgis find themselves involved in investigating a series of murders whose common denominator is that the victims are entertainers who were either on the verge of a career breakthrough or about to make a comeback. Again, there's an abundance of intriguing characters who are credibly brought to life in an endless array of plots and subplots. (20 Jun 2005)
The sleuthing shrink returns for a 17th session. This time out, psychotherapist Alex Delaware finds himself set against a serial killer who has serious issues with performers. The list of performers is generous, comprising a blues singer, a ballet dancer, a painter, a punk-rocker, a concert pianist, and a saxophone player. But where's the tie that binds? Of course, all of them, even the painter, succeed only when they satisfy their audiences, but Alex (The Murder Book, 2002, etc.) suspects a deeper, sicker bond. Accompanied by cast regulars Milo Sturgis and Petra Connor of LAPD homicide-with Petra's semi-mute new partner Eric Stahl as an added starter-Alex sets out to discover what the link among the late performers might be. Together they follow a corkscrew path to, then deep into, the twisted pathology of a ruthless killer who views murder as just a heightened kind of performance. Complicating Alex's sleuthing, however, is the manifest need for some self-investigation. Without his having planned or in any way prepared for this complication, the number of fetching ladies in his life has risen to two. It's a situation with a definite downside, since Alex finds to his dismay that if he can't be near the charmer he loves, he loves the charmer he's near. Detective fiction's best-loved shrink, handsome, intrepid, immeasurably sensitive, is in top form, even though the 400 pages of his latest case might have called for some shrinking themselves. Agent: Barney Karpfinger/Karpfinger Agency