An Alex Delaware Novel
Ballantine Books, Hardcover, 9780345452610, 384pp.
Publication Date: March 28, 2006
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?
Jonathan Kellerman is one of the world’s most popular authors. He has brought his expertise as a clinical psychologist to two dozen bestselling crime novels, including the Alex Delaware series, The Butcher’s Theater, Billy Straight, The Conspiracy Club, and Twisted. With his wife, the novelist Faye Kellerman, he co-authored the bestseller Double Homicide. He is the author of numerous essays, short stories, scientific articles, two children’s books, and three volumes of psychology, including Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children. He has won the Goldwyn, Edgar, and Anthony awards, and has been nominated for a Shamus Award. Jonathan and Faye Kellerman live in California and New Mexico. Their four children include the novelist Jesse Kellerman. Visit the author’s website at www.jonathankellerman.com.
PRAISE FOR JONATHAN KELLERMAN
“[Kellerman is] a master of the grab-the-reader contest. . . . The chills start within the first two pages.”
–Saint Paul Pioneer Press
“[An] adrenaline-fueled read.”
“An elaborate, tangled web . . . with unsuspected turns at every chapter break . . . This addictive tale . . . is as intricately detailed as it is tantalizingly page-turning.”
“A perfect whodunit–a tale told with gusto . . . a thrilling, engrossing pace from the first page to the last.”
“Labyrinthine twists, excellent pacing, and hard-boiled, swaggering dialogue.”
–The Washington Post
“Immensely enjoyable . . . There’s even a shocking surprise.”