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Breakdown
Cover of Breakdown
Breakdown
Alex Delaware Series, Book 31
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Jonathan Kellerman has been universally hailed as the master of psychological suspense, and the blockbuster new thriller featuring Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis confirms his status as today’s preeminent practitioner of saber-sharp storytelling.
 
Psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware meets beautiful and emotionally fragile TV actress Zelda Chase when called upon to evaluate her five-year-old son, Ovid. Years later, Alex is unexpectedly reunited with Zelda when she is involuntarily committed after a bizarre psychotic episode. Shortly after Zelda’s release, an already sad situation turns tragic when she is discovered dead on the grounds of a palatial Bel Air estate. Having experienced more than enough of L.A.’s dark side to recognize the scent of evil, Alex turns to his friend LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis for help in finding out who ended Zelda’s broken life.
 
At the same time, Alex is caught up in another quest: the search for Zelda’s missing son. And when other victims vanish from the same upscale neighborhood, worry turns to terror.
 
As Alex struggles to piece together the brief rise and steep fall of a gorgeous, talented actress, he and Milo unveil shattered dreams, the corruption of a family, and a grotesque betrayal of innocence. With each devastating revelation and damning clue, Alex’s brilliant mind is challenged as never before—and his determination grows to see a killer caged and the truth set free.

Praise for Breakdown
 
“This is a book you should not miss. . . . A master craftsman at the top of his game . . . one of his best to date.”—Bookreporter

“Gripping . . . an exhilarating masterclass in the art of plotting, suspense, characterization and brilliant mind games.”—Blackpool Gazette
 
Praise for Jonathan Kellerman
 
“Jonathan Kellerman’s psychology skills and dark imagination are a potent literary mix.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“Kellerman doesn’t just write psychological thrillers—he owns the genre.”—Detroit Free Press
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Jonathan Kellerman has been universally hailed as the master of psychological suspense, and the blockbuster new thriller featuring Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis confirms his status as today’s preeminent practitioner of saber-sharp storytelling.
 
Psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware meets beautiful and emotionally fragile TV actress Zelda Chase when called upon to evaluate her five-year-old son, Ovid. Years later, Alex is unexpectedly reunited with Zelda when she is involuntarily committed after a bizarre psychotic episode. Shortly after Zelda’s release, an already sad situation turns tragic when she is discovered dead on the grounds of a palatial Bel Air estate. Having experienced more than enough of L.A.’s dark side to recognize the scent of evil, Alex turns to his friend LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis for help in finding out who ended Zelda’s broken life.
 
At the same time, Alex is caught up in another quest: the search for Zelda’s missing son. And when other victims vanish from the same upscale neighborhood, worry turns to terror.
 
As Alex struggles to piece together the brief rise and steep fall of a gorgeous, talented actress, he and Milo unveil shattered dreams, the corruption of a family, and a grotesque betrayal of innocence. With each devastating revelation and damning clue, Alex’s brilliant mind is challenged as never before—and his determination grows to see a killer caged and the truth set free.

Praise for Breakdown
 
“This is a book you should not miss. . . . A master craftsman at the top of his game . . . one of his best to date.”—Bookreporter

“Gripping . . . an exhilarating masterclass in the art of plotting, suspense, characterization and brilliant mind games.”—Blackpool Gazette
 
Praise for Jonathan Kellerman
 
“Jonathan Kellerman’s psychology skills and dark imagination are a potent literary mix.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“Kellerman doesn’t just write psychological thrillers—he owns the genre.”—Detroit Free Press
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Excerpts-
  • Chapter 1 CHAPTER 1

    Noise was everywhere. To avoid it, Tina figured you had to die.

    When she and Harry lived in Manhattan, the nerve-scraping clangor of garbage trucks and delivery vans had served as early-morning alarm clocks. Waking up to the din was jarring and souring for Tina but useful for Harry because he slept like a drunk and had to be on the subway by seven.

    Here in L.A., nestled in the alleged luxe of upper Bel Air, mornings were quiet. Until they weren’t: the house groaning and creaking randomly, scolding reminders that they’d traded New York bedrock for the traitorous sand of earthquake country.

    Of course, Harry barely noticed. The jolts to Tina’s nervous system made her feel like shedding her skin.

    L.A. evenings were “left-coast mellow” for him, crushingly still for her. She yearned for the rumble of a late-night bus, the drone of human voices rendered unintelligible at the seventeenth floor, the farting aggression of taxi-horns.

    Anything to remind her that other people existed beyond the confines of her personal space. After two months of living on a ridge of soft dirt straddling L.A. the thick, almost slimy stillness was threatening to smother her.

    When the creaks and groans weren’t freaking her out.

    Officially, neighbors existed. The place Harry’s firm had leased for them (“midcentury delight,” in reality a bland ranch house) was bordered by similar structures. But each was vacant due to traveling owners: a wire service editor currently working in Greece, a merry widow enjoying a round-the-world cruise.

    Tina knew those details because the rental agent had informed her how lucky she was to have peace and quiet.

    Quiet could only be peaceful if it wasn’t polluted by loneliness and unpredictability.

    Evenings when Harry worked late proved unnerving.

    Even when he was home for dinner, there was bedtime to deal with, the dreaded moment when bedroom lamps were switched off and Harry was snoozing within seconds. Leaving Tina flat on her back, wondering if tonight she’d finally be able to get some rest.

    It wasn’t only the groans and creaks. There was the matter of the animals.

    If she didn’t set her white noise machine loud enough, scurries and rustles from the vest-pocket backyard dried her mouth, chilled her skin, and revved up her heart.

    If she set the machine whooshing too fiercely, she veered into migraine territory.

    Harry, sprawled across the mattress and sawing wood, remained oblivious to her stress. Tina figured he could snore through Armageddon.

    Mr. Mellow and High-Strung Babe.

    He called her that, good-naturedly. Insisted her overactive nervous system made her hot in bed. Tina had her doubts about that but why argue? She knew she was high-maintenance, it was all a matter of wiring.

    More than once, startled awake by what had to be a wild beast or a serial killer out in the garden, she’d elbowed the poor guy awake and insisted he check. Drowsy but chuckling, he always complied, finding nothing. One night, especially weary, he said maybe she should try meditation. Or medication. Tina’s reaction to that wisdom disabused him of further advice.

    Then came that night, when even Harry’s eyes widened as he heard the chittering. Parting the bedroom drapes, he watched, astonished, as a family of raccoons enjoyed the lap pool.

    Mommy, Daddy, and three babies. Diving in gleefully, scampering out to shake off their fur, hurrying back for repeat plunges.

    Five of them! Polluting the water with rabies germs and God knew what.

    Harry had...
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, True Detectives, and The Murderer’s Daughter. 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 Golem of Hollywood and The Golem of Paris. 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.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 8, 2016
    In the backstory of bestseller Kellerman's unconvincing 31st novel featuring L.A. psychologist and crime-solver Alex Delaware (after 2015's Motive), psychiatrist Lou Sherman asks Alex to meet five-year-old Ovid Chase, whose mother, Zelda Chase, a TV sitcom actress, is a patient. Lou wants an assessment to evaluate the effect of Zelda's psychosis on her son. After spending time with Ovid during each of the five days Zelda lives at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Alex judges the boy to be well-adjusted. Five years later, after Lou's death, Alex's brief connection with the Chase family leads the authorities to alert him that Zelda has been arrested for trespassing and taken to a clinic for treatment. When Alex visits her, the mentally unstable Zelda can tell him nothing about Ovid, whose whereabouts and wellbeing are unknown. Alex searches for the boy with the help of his LAPD friend, Milo Sturgis, and eventually winds up investigating multiple murders. A far-fetched storyline, one-dimensional characters, and the choice to delay the mention of any crime make this one of the weaker entries in this popular series.

  • Library Journal

    September 1, 2015

    No need to introduce No. 1 New York Times best-selling author Kellerman or his beloved protagonists, Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis. Here, Delaware is contacted when famed TV actress Zelda Chase is found raving and mostly undressed in Los Angeles's rural Westside. When she turns up dead, Delaware calls in Sturgis.

    Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Detroit Free Press Praise for Jonathan Kellerman "Jonathan Kellerman's psychology skills and dark imagination are a potent literary mix."--Los Angeles Times "Kellerman doesn't just write psychological thrillers--he owns the genre."
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Jonathan Kellerman
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