NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
The daughter of a diplomat disappears on a school field trip—lured into the Santa Monica Mountains and killed in cold blood. Her father denies the possibility of a political motive. There are no signs of struggle and no evidence of sexual assault, leaving psychologist Alex Delaware and his friend LAPD homicide detective Milo Sturgis to pose the essential question: Why?
“Feverish in pace and rich in characters . . . a chilling and irresistible thriller.”—People
Working with Daniel Sharavi, a brilliant Israeli police inspector, Delaware and Sturgis soon find themselves ensnared in one of the darkest, most menacing cases of their careers. And when death strikes again, it is Alex who must go undercover, alone, to expose an unthinkable conspiracy of self-righteous brutality and total contempt for human life.
About 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.
Hometown:Beverly Hills, California
Date of Birth:August 9, 1949
Place of Birth:New York, New York
Education:B.A. in psychology, University of California-Los Angeles; Ph.D., University of Southern California, 1974
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, OfficerDahl."
"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.
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 smilealmost 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 smileone 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.
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.
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.
Table of Contents
On Wednesday, November 19th, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Jonathan Kellerman to discuss SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST.
Moderator: Good evening, Mr. Kellerman. Thanks for joining us. Is this your first online chat?
Jonathan Kellerman: Hi, it's a pleasure to be here. It's not my first chat, but the first this year.
Keith from Corsicana, Texas: Hello, Dr. Kellerman. I first want to tell you how impressed I am with your novels. I found out about you late -- the first book I read was BAD LOVE. I have since read all your books and look forward eagerly to each new one. My question is two-part: Do you still do any consultation work in the psychology field and do you base your stories on actual case histories? (I am a behavioralist for individuals with dual diagnoses.) Second, do you intend to do any book signings in the Dallas, Texas, area in the near future? Keep up the good work. You are definitely a literary treasure.
Jonathan Kellerman: First of all, thanks, Keith, for your kind words. Writing's an isolated and isolating business, and it's always nice to hear from real people. I haven't worked as a psychologist since 1988. I did write three novels while in full-time practice, but eventually it just got to be too difficult. I am still a professor at USC med school (unpaid), though why they keep me on faculty is a mystery since I don't do much. I never base my stories on real people, because I take very seriously the oath of confidentiality I took as a psychologist. However, I feel that my experience has helped me understand how people react in a wide variety of situations and, hopefully, endows the novels with a sense of authenticity. Finally, due to carpal tunnel syndrome, I rarely do signings anymore. I do enjoy meeting readers, so perhaps when my next book comes out from Random House I'll get to do a little touring. I do like Dallas -- bought some great boots there. Thanks again.
Kelly from Burlington, VT: How did you learn to write suspense? I live in a wooded neighborhood, and your books keep me completely on edge! I love them!
Jonathan Kellerman: Tough question, Kelly. I think writing's something one is born with -- perhaps a warped mind is at play here. I never took any writing classes -- I'm sure there are those who think I should've. I simply did a lot of writing, including eight unpublished novels over a 13-year "dry stretch." Finally, I figured out how to do it. I like writing suspense because it helps me deal with my own cowardice. Don't feel sheepish about getting scared. An FBI agent who's also a serial killer profiler once told me THE BUTCHER'S THEATER scared the daylights out of her.
JoJo Azapardi from NYC: What kind of writing training did you have? It seems that the thriller is an impossible thing to write -- how do you manage to create and maintain such suspense? Do you have any inspirations?
Jonathan Kellerman: I guess the last answer deals with your question, in part. Let me add that I was greatly influenced by reading great suspense fiction, particularly Conan Doyle and the California hard-boiled-detective writers: Ross MacDonald, Raymond Chandler, Hammett, Jonathan Latimer, James Cain. I'm also a great fan of the suspense classics: Poe, Dumas, R. L. Stevenson. Other favorite authors include Wambaugh, Elmore Leonard, Ruth Rendell. And, of course, my wife. I mean that! Maintaining suspense is best accomplished when one has known fear personally. I have a wonderful letter from Stephen King apologizing for not reading my first novel,WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS, sooner. The topic scared him (S.K's a great guy. Very supportive of other writers.)
Tom Lee from Nashville, TN: Just finished SURVIVAL and loved it! Magnificent! I was wondering what kind of reaction you got to THE WEB two years ago. I heard a lot of negative reaction, since it strays from your typical pattern, but I thought it was one of your best. Thanks. Also, thanks for releasing this year's novel a little earlier than usual.
Jonathan Kellerman: Thanks, Tom, especially for your support of THE WEB. In order to keep the series fresh and to avoid hacking out the same old thing, I'm constantly searching for ways to test the limits. THE WEB was one such attempt, and I must say I'm still rather pleased with it. Inspired by H. G. Wells, R. L. Stevenson, etc., I wanted to write a spooky crime/borderline horror story in an exotic location. Also, in retrospect I realize I wrote the book because Faye and I found out we were having our fourth child and our vacation plans got screwed up. So I gave Alex Delaware a vacation and lived vicariously through him, which is what we novelists basically do anyway. I did catch some flak about the book -- seems some people like the same old thing. However, it outsold every previous Delaware, so I suppose most people thought it was okay. The reason SURVIVAL was released earlier was because Bantam thought I could compete with the big boys -- and girls -- during the hot fall publication season. They'd been suggesting it for a while, but I felt if it ain't broken, don't fix it, and asked to stick with winter. Finally, I got brave.
Chris Wofford from London, England: Did you have a model for Milo Sturgis, or is he completely imaginary? What about for Alex? Have you ever begun a character and been forced to abandon him for lack of development? Who's your favorite?
Jonathan Kellerman: Totally imaginary, though I'd love to know someone like him. Ditto for A.D. Some people claim he's like me, but he's actually a lot handsomer, braver, younger, more fit. My wife says he's a little too straitlaced for her. She feels Milo better represents my rather odd sense of humor. I've never abandoned a character once he or she is in the book. I do outline extensively before I start a book -- it takes two to six months to prepare the novel -- and many characters fall by the wayside. No favorites -- it's like picking among your kids. I generally have the warmest spot in my heart for the characters I'm currently living with, i.e., writing about.
Dee from Kalamazoo: I have greatly enjoyed all of your Alex Delaware novels. I have also enjoyed your wife's books, though I have not read them all yet. I wondered, do you read each other's novels while they are in progress?
Jonathan Kellerman: Yes, Dee. We read chapters in progress about every two weeks. Thank God we generally love each other's stuff. We've also learned how to critique courteously and how to take constructive criticism graciously. Otherwise there'd be some COLD nights in L.A.
Karen from Ottawa, Canada: Hi, Dr. Kellerman. Do you ever worry that Alex Delaware might someday run into Cabot's Cove Syndrome? I mean, I work as a psychotherapist, and I rarely trip over dead bodies in the hall on my way to work :-). Although I suppose if my best friend were a cop, it might up the odds a little.
Jonathan Kellerman: Ha. Well, consider it this way: A TV show runs 22 episodes per year, so stories are bound to run thin. I work extremely hard to produce around one novel per year, which keeps the quantity down and, hopefully, the quality up. I might add here that I do want to write non-Delaware books and have in fact finished such a work -- to be published by Random House one year from now (shameless plug, shameless plug). Female cop with a past, police procedural. The reception by Random House and my foreign publishers has been very enthusiastic. Hopefully the most important judges -- the readers -- will agree.
Mark from NYC: Did you go to college campuses to research THE CLINIC? You had a good feel for them in that book. Alex Delaware fit right in.
Jonathan Kellerman: I go all sorts of place to research my books. As a med school professor and one who spent seven years pursuing so-called higher education, I'm quite familiar with college campuses. Thanks.
Keith from Corsicana, Texas: One more question for you. In addition to working with individuals with MR, I also, with my partner, run an independent virtual bookstore for collectible and rare books called the Gargadillo. Would it be possible to send a book (or two ) to you for an autograph or perhaps send some bookplates for your signature? Hope you can sometime check us out at www.gargadillo.com and perhaps sign our guestbook. It would be a tremendous honor. Thank you again.
Jonathan Kellerman: As I said, I don't sign much due to carpal tunnel. I do have a personalized stamp. Please contact me through my agent, Barney Karpfinger, (212) 691-2690, and I'll try to help.
Mitchell from Ottawa, Canada: Hi, Dr. Kellerman: We're prolific correspondents up here in Ottawa. I hadn't intended to ask you about THE WEB, but since you've mentioned it.... It was clear that you were trying to do something different, but did you feel at any point that you were bogging down in the sense of horror that you were trying to build up? This isn't to suggest that you should stick with a fixed formula -- certainly not! -- but did those criticisms to which you referred have anything to do with flow and pacing? BTW, this question comes from an avid fan of Alex, Robin, Milo, and the gang, and I'm looking forward to reading SURVIVAL.
Jonathan Kellerman: All the criticisms I saw related to the book a) not being in L.A., b) being too weird, and c) not featuring Milo. One disgruntled fan wrote, "I just read a Stephen King book by Jonathan Kellerman." Who knows? One does one's best -- believe me, it would be easier to just churn out the same old stuff. My obsessive-compulsive, perfectionistic personality won't allow me to do that, however.
Tom Lee from Nashville, TN: Who are your favorite mystery writers? Do you read Sue Grafton?
Jonathan Kellerman: As previously answered, there are many -- Wambaugh, Leonard, Ellroy, Rendell, F. Kellerman. I choose not to attempt comprehensiveness here, for fear of insulting someone left out. I do enjoy Sue Grafton's books very much. And I know her personally. Great woman.
Clare Winters from Hinsdale, IL: Do you model Delaware after yourself? Is there anything about him that you don't like or might change in the next book? Will there be a next book? If so, when?
Jonathan Kellerman: A.D. is a Walter Mitty fantasy of who I might be if I were younger, more dashing, not married-with-kids, etc. I watch out for his tendency to be a little too serious. The next book, already finished, is a non-Delaware, due out 11/99. I'm about halfway through the next Delaware and am planning at least four more after that.
Scott lePine from BDD-Oregon/Alaska: SURVIVAL is the best read yet in my opinion. I am always looking forward to your next book. Checks locally today in OR prove that SURVIVAL is selling better than any previous. How long till the next Alex Delaware? Hope to see you on the road in the Northwest.
Jonathan Kellerman: Hello again, Scott, and thanks for all your good work (Scott is a crack sales manager and gourmet from my soon-to-be former publishing house). As noted, next Delaware: 11/99.
Chuck from Portland, OR: What, if anything, separates American suspense fiction from British? I have a vague sense of differences, but find it hard to put my finger on them. You've clearly spent a lot of time with both.
Jonathan Kellerman: Excellent question. The one thing that comes to mind is that the British suspense I admire -- P. D. James, Ruth Rendell, John Harvey, Ian Rankin (he's Scottish, but let's include the entire UK) -- has a certain dark or bleak pessimism that you don't always find in American writing. Certainly Ellroy, etc., write dark, but there's still that America ebullience and heat -- we Americans tend to be almost naively optimistic. Make sense?
Kay Stewart from Austin, Texas: I love all your books and have read them from the very first -- I've been a fan for a long time. I'm also a big fan of your wife's series. My question is: Have you guys thought about Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis meeting Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus? I keep thinking that Milo and Peter will run across each other somehow.
Jonathan Kellerman: Faye and I have been married 25.5 years and do just about everything together but write. So we tend to keep our books separate. That said, we have gotten cute a few times, mostly with minor overlapping minor characters or references to each other's protagonists. I believe Milo appeared briefly in Faye's wonderful book SANCTUARY. And I refer to Decker, rather obliquely, in SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST. Who knows, though. Never say never.
Carla from Fulton, MS: Have you ever been asked about making a movie of one of your books? I think Alex Delaware would be just as good on the big screen as James Patterson's Alex Cross. I'm a big fan -- please keep up the good work.
Jonathan Kellerman: I think so, too. However, Hollywood doesn't seem to agree. Most comments I get refer to the books being too complex or too intellectual for film adaptation. A TV movie of WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS came out in 1986 -- not bad, for a TV movie. I have a three-book deal with Coppola for TV movies but it's going nowhere fast, and I hope they let the rights revert to me soon. I'd love to see a first-rate film done, but it would have to be a great director, excellent cast, etc. Life's too short for bad flicks. Thanks.
J.R. Mercer from Phoenix, AZ: Do you often incorporate your patient's stories into your plots? Basically I'm wondering if I should watch what I tell my therapist! Anyway, you are a master of the thrill!
Jonathan Kellerman: Never. 1) I take confidentiality very seriously, and 2) the whole fun of writing fiction is making stuff up. Thanks.
Marcy Nance from Portland: Hi, Mr. Kellerman! Do you find that you have a specific audience in mind when you write? How do you characterize your audience?
Jonathan Kellerman: Nope. This is going to sound narcissistic, but I write for myself, figuring if I get scared, curious, thrilled, etc., so will other people. I feel that if you write for an audience it gets in the way of creativity as you try to be a crowd-pleaser, commercial, politically correct, etc. My audience, obviously, is erudite, charming, witty, and just reeking of excellent taste!
Keith from Corsicana: On a personal note, what adaptations have you had to make to your writing due to the carpal tunnel syndrome? Do you use any special equipment or adaptive equipment? To turn out as many books as you do in the time frame you set for yourself, this must be quite a hindrance.
Jonathan Kellerman: I've ergonomized my office and learned about stretching and strengthening from a wonderful rehab therapist. I can type for four to five hours at a time and play guitar. The only thing that seems to really hurt is handwriting, ergo the lack of signings.
Jerry Sandack from Boston: How often are your novels based on real occurrences? Are you ever sparked by stories on the news? What gave you the idea for the plot of SURVIVAL?
Jonathan Kellerman: Sometimes real events inspire me, but they are seldom the "big stories," because those are already out in the public domain. My taste is for the bizarre, the arcane, the little known. Sometimes, however, I just make things up out of whole cloth. SURVIVAl developed in several directions: my desire to find a good story for both A.D. and Daniel Sharavi, from THE BUTCHER'S THEATER; my concern over various social issues -- I won't say more for fear of revealing too much plot; and my desire to send A.D. undercover. And probably other stuff that I've forgotten or am not aware of consciously. Sometimes it takes years to figure out where a book really came from.
Ned S. from West Village: Hello, Mr. Kellerman. THE CLINIC was the first Delaware novel I read. I enjoyed it. Do you recommend that these books be read in a certain order? Or should I just go ahead and read what catches my eye?
Jonathan Kellerman: I try to write the series in a way that each book stands on its own. Selfishly, I'd love you to try SURVIVAL, because it's fresh out of the oven. But honestly, I think the books can be read in any sequence.
Garreth from Computer Center: Hey Kellerman! How do you do it? Are you ever surprised yourself at the way your books turn out? Or is everything carefully mapped out before you even begin? Keep it up, in any case -- it's awesome!
Jonathan Kellerman: I plot and outline extensively before I begin writing a book, including a chapter-by-chapter outline that can be 100 pages long -- a minibook, I guess. I like to think I know where I'm going, but the funny thing is, the book often turns out quite different from the outline, and I do get surprised. My wife says the same thing happens to her. I appreciate your kind comments.
Anne Bond from Texico,IL: What do you do when you have writer's block?
Jonathan Kellerman: Never had writer's block. I think outlining, per the previous answer, helps. I write five, sometimes six days a week, which is not to say it always comes out great. Sometimes I write garbage. I start each day by rewriting the previous day's work. This helps smooth out the narrative flow in addition to (hopefully) improving the quality of the prose.
Janine Brooker from Long Beach: What a great relationship you must have with old Alex! Have you envisioned an end to him yet?
Jonathan Kellerman: No, unlike Conan Doyle and Sherlock, no plans to throw him over a waterfall. The guy's been good to me. And he doesn't even ask for a new car!
Mark from Larchmont: What would you say if you met Alex Delaware on the street?
Jonathan Kellerman: I'll take you out for a great dinner, but I have four kids to send through school, so you still can't have a share of the royalties!
Tom Frick from ind: Did you do any kind of research before writing this book? It seems you must have studied the mind of homicidal maniacs!
Jonathan Kellerman: Some books require research, some don't. Fortunately, I enjoy all that preliminary work.
Jack Green from aol: I have been a big fan of Alex Delaware's since the beginning, but I have to ask, aren't you sick of him after 12 episodes? What's your trick for continued interest and development?
Jonathan Kellerman: A.D. is a great vehicle for telling some of the stories I want to tell. So far I haven't gotten sick of him, though I do want to write more non-Delaware books. The old saw is, Write what you know, so I guess the trick is learning as much as you can about as many topics as possible. I'm an extremely curious person with a real interest in anything out of the ordinary. I like to joke that I'm getting paid to do what I used to get in trouble for at school -- spacing out and imagining stories.
Skip from Manhattan: Mr. Kellerman! I'm an old fan. Tell me, what did you do before you began this marvelous saga! Did you always write a bit of fiction?
Jonathan Kellerman: I was a practicing psychologist and medical school professor for 15 years. I worked with seriously ill children and their families in a major pediatric hospital, had a private practice, consulted to the military, served as an expert witness in superior court, etc. Lots of interesting stuff. I've been writing fiction seriously since the age of 19 and won a literary award as an undergrad at UCLA. It took 13 years of struggle to publish full-length fiction. Had to experience enough life to have something to say, I suppose.
Rory from Texas: What do you read in your spare time? (That is, if you have any.) Thanks for all of your books; my commutes would be dull without them!
Jonathan Kellerman: I read a good deal more nonfiction than fiction, though great novels, such as SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS, are always appreciated. I read dozens of periodicals each month, ranging from art to forensics to psychology, and I love travel books, especially those with a flair such as Tim Cahill's JAGUARS RIPPED MY FLESH. Your kind comments are much appreciated -- happy commuting.
Anne from Brighton Beach: I, too, am a writer, though yet unpublished -- how did you get your first story printed?
Jonathan Kellerman: First story was submitted by my literary agent in 1977 to Alfred Hitchcock's mystery magazine. First novel was written in 1981, rejected by several agents, not sold till 1983, not published till 1985. Perseverance is as important as talent -- inspiration plus perspiration. Keep writing.
Lori from Searcy, AR: I enjoy all your books. DEVIL'S WALTZ was the first I read, then I had to go out and buy all the rest, and I've been buying ever since. I really don't have a question but just wanted to tell you that I am a big fan of yours. Your wife is great, also. I have read all her books. Keep up the wonderful work
Jonathan Kellerman: Thank you, thank you, thank you, muchas gracias. Sometimes people assume writers get tired of kind comments. But we don't. We're all babies in dire need of approval. I agree that my wife is a fantastic writer -- wait till you see what she has in store next year!
Carole from Great neck, NY: I have read all your books and your wife's books. I love them all. How about A.D. and Milo going to an exotic locale to solve an ancient mystery..an added psychological twist to an old murder mystery? Do you like old mystery's, e.g., A MURKY BUSINESS (Balzac) or THE MOONSTONE?
Jonathan Kellerman: Interesting idea. I haven't gotten to THE MOONSTONE yet, though I've promised myself to do it. I do love Conan Doyle and Poe. Anything with great characters and a strong story line. I have old-fashioned tastes, and I suppose that filters down to: Give me a beginning, middle, end, conflict and tension, people we care about, some kind of resolution. Thanks.
Moderator: Thanks so much for taking all of our questions! We'll look forward to seeing you again here in the future. Goodnight!
Jonathan Kellerman: Thanks to barnesandnoble.com, too. And, of course, to all my readers. I am acutely aware that without you, I'd be a very unhappy writer. Best wishes to all for a prosperous, healthy, and suspense-ridden New Year.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Good read alright. But 1) Too much unlikely intrigue. 2) Ending very unsatisfactory. Too one sided about the historical motivations surrounding eugenics. And in the end the killings were not about that anyway. Too one sided period. Interesting vignettes--Delaware about to be seduced by a supposed perp (that in turn becomes a victim). Almost too many themes--intelligence, Jewish themes, cop suicide, killing for fun. This installment again strays from the strength of this series: clear psychological themes coupled with LA noir.
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.
Written well but it's revenge laden with an overly strong we- can-control-anything tone.
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.
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.
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.
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 perfect....like too much of a happy ending.
nothing can be better than this. makaes u experince it