Therapy (Alex Delaware Series #18)

Therapy (Alex Delaware Series #18)

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 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.

BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Jonathan Kellerman's Guilt.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345478283
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/20/2004
Series: Alex Delaware Series , #18
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 28,432
File size: 3 MB

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.


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

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.”

Table of Contents

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

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Therapy (Alex Delaware Series #18) 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 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
Ok book
emigre on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Surprisingly complex whodunit, a double killing leads to a hunt for a international cast of bad guys and girls.
miyurose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Darrol on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mildly interesting read. I remember Jonathan Kellerman being psychologically scarier. Breezy narrative; bantering dialog.
Grandeplease on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The bad and stupid characters are early guessed and then the pieces work themselves together almost agonizingly so.Predictability is not always bad. This is a good book to leave in the car for those times you get stuck waiting for somebody or you have a few minutes to kill - you can pick up the plot without much thought.Suggestion: the author, Jonathan Kellerman, needs a geography lesson. Sacramento is where the legislature meets in California. Abandon your created city, it is annoying.
mrtall on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jonathan Kellerman seems to be following the John Sandford path: as both authors try to keep their popular and long-running murder mystery series going, their plots have become increasingly baroque and unlikely. I guess they're doing their very best not to repeat themselves, but the goings-on here in 'Therapy' are so convoluted and crazy, and require so many labored recaps via conversations between Alex Delaware and Milo the detective, that the book really suffers for it. A simpler plot with the same strong characters would be so much better -- I'd even settle for some repetition!
unrequitedlibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tone of language: Friendly, confidingPlot twists: Lots of false leadsCharacters: Extremism causes eccentricityValues: Innocence vs. greedPace: Unfolds before your eyesBackground research: Parole proceduresSexuality: Lusty background storiesEnding: Complex wrap-upOffensive to any group: Therapists; Do-goodersTarget audience: EverybodyFlaw: bad guys are predictable
lfuentes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I like any by this author. This one is especially memorable.
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Two people turn up dead, one of them was in therapy with a woman who has got on the wrong side of Alex Delaware before. Interesting and very readable.
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.