No one conducts a more chilling, suspenseful, thoroughly engrossing tour through the winding corridors of criminal behavior and the secret chambers of psychopathology than Jonathan Kellerman, the bestselling “master of the psychological thriller” (People). Now the incomparable team of psychologist Alex Delaware and homicide cop Milo Sturgis embark on their most dangerous excursion yet, into the dark places where risk runs high and blood runs cold.
It’s a story tailor-made for the nightly news: Dylan Meserve and Michaela Brand, young lovers and fellow acting students, vanish on the way home from a rehearsal. Three days later, the two of them are found in the remote mountains of Malibu -battered and terrified after a harrowing ordeal at the hands of a sadistic abductor.
The details of the nightmarish event are shocking and brutal: The couple was carjacked at gunpoint by a masked assailant and subjected to a horrific regimen of confinement, starvation and assault.
But before long, doubts arise about the couple’s story, and as forensic details unfold, the abduction is exposed as a hoax. Charged as criminals themselves, the aspiring actors claim emotional problems, and the court orders psychological evaluation for both.
Michaela is examined by Alex Delaware, who finds that her claims of depression and stress ring true enough. But they don’t explain her lies, and Alex is certain that there are hidden layers in this sordid psychodrama that even he hasn’t been able to penetrate.
Nevertheless, the case is closed–only to be violently reopened when Michaela is savagely murdered. When the police look for Dylan, they find that he’s gone. Is he the killer or a victim himself? Casting their dragnet into the murkiest corners of L.A., Delaware and Sturgis unearth more questions than answers–including a host of eerily identical killings. What really happened to the couple who cried wolf? And what bizarre and brutal epidemic is infecting the city with terror, madness, and sudden, twisted death?
American author, Jonathan Kellerman, comes from a decisively different viewpoint when writing his novels, than most authors. Kellerman was born in New York City to parents who were successful authors themselves. His journey began when his family moved to Los Angeles California. He grew up there and received a BA in Psychology from UCLA. He paid for his education by various jobs as cartoonist, illustrator, journalist, and editor, as well as teaching guitar. An unpublished novel that he co-wrote won him a Samuel Goldwyn writing award. Screenplays were readily available to him, but he chose not to get into that venue. He received his PhD from USC in clinical psychology. His research thesis was entitled.....attribution of blame for childhood psychopathology. Kellerman is currently a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine.
The first published book from Kellerman was a medical text book entitled.....Psychological Aspects of Childhood Cancer. His extensive research and hands on experience while working at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles prepared him for the knowledge needed to write his first published book.
He published a book for parents titled Helping the Fearful Child. Through many cases and observations, came his first novel.....When the Bough Breaks, which became a bestseller and was adapted for a TV movie. His career in medicine continued all throughout his writing. He was a consultant and expert witness in the legal system which impacted the characters in his novels.
The psychologist and novelist has been very vocal in speaking out against the "misguided" release of mentally ill people into the community without benefit of counseling, psychotherapy, as well as medication. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, who is also a bestselling crime writer. They have four children, two of whom are also novelists.
I think this is one of the best Alex Delaware novels yet. Kellerman has always given the police procedural a fresh perspective through a psychologist's eyes and he writes with realism about the L A scene and that the town that promises to fulfill all your dreams can become a nightmare and even claim your soul both physically and emotionally. This installment was about a series of murders connected to an acting school. The dialogue was clever and crisp and you really get a sense of a character trough these scenes. It was nice to see Robin in his life again too! I have high hopes they will make their relationship work! This is a must read for fans of suspense whether or not you have followed the series.