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Wednesday, February 17, 2016


4 stars out of 5

Lately, I've been caught up in moving to a new home (well, new to me and my husband) and trying to keep on top of reviews of books I've received at no cost from publishers in exchange for reviews. So far, those books have been nothing short of stellar, but I admit it's more than a teeny bit stressful knowing I've got to pay close attention so as to render a review that's both honest and fair.

So it was that I looked forward to the time when I could turn to a favorite author - one I know won't disappoint. I've followed Jonathan Kellerman's Alex Delaware series from the beginning, prompted early on by a love of psychology (my undergraduate degree) and murder mysteries. Many were absolutely outstanding, and those that were a bit less so were enjoyable as well.

This one falls into the latter category. As always, the writing is stellar; but for the first half or so, I wondered when the action would begin. Alex is called in by an elderly psychologist to evaluate Ovid, the five-year-old son of TV actress Zelda Chase (who clearly has mental issues). A few years later, Zelda is committed to a psychiatric facility - and not long after she's released, she turns up dead. Primarily concerned about Zelda's son - whose whereabouts at this point are unknown - Alex turns to his longtime friend, LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis, for help with solving the murder and locating the child.

The tracking-down process, though, is tedious almost to the point of boring.  Both Alex and Milo seem a bit subdued, and Alex's love Robin doesn't contribute much beyond trying to cheer Alex up by running her fingers through his hair.

But then, things started to pick up, and all the details revealed (slowly)  in the first part begin to come together and the suspense builds up. It's not that I didn't enjoy the book - I did - but at the same time it didn't quite have the zing of others in the series. All told, it may not be my favorite in the series - hence the four-star rating - but it's still well worth reading.

Breakdown by Jonathan Kellerman (Ballantine Books, February 2016); 369 pp.

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