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Please welcome our featured guest for the second half of April, an author who is so famous he is a household name - the Master of Psychological Suspense, JONATHAN KELLERMAN!


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Jonathan Kellerman was born in New York City in 1949 and grew up in Los Angeles.   He helped work his way through UCLA as an editorial cartoonist, columnist, editor and freelance musician.   As a senior, at the age of 22, he won a Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award for fiction.

Like his fictional protagonist, Alex Delaware, Jonathan received at Ph.D. in psychology at the age of 24, with a specialty in the treatment of children.   He served internships in clinical psychology and pediatric psychology at Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles and was a post-doctoral HEW Fellow in Psychology and Human Development at CHLA.

IN 1975, Jonathan was asked by the hospital to conduct research into the psychological effects of   extreme isolation (plastic bubble units) on children with cancer, and to coordinate care for these kids and their families.   The success of that venture led to the establishment, in 1977 of the Psychosocial Program, Division of Oncology, the first comprehensive approach to the emotional aspects of pediatric cancer anywhere in the world.   Jonathan was asked to be founding director and, along with his team, published extensively in the area of behavioral medicine.   Decades later, the program, under the tutelage of one of Jonathan's former students, continues to break ground.  


Jonathan's first published book was a medical text, PSYCHOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF CHILDHOOD CANCER, 1980.   One year later, came a book for parents, HELPING THE FEARFUL CHILD.


In 1985, Jonathan's first novel, WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS, was published to enormous critical and commercial success and became a New York Times bestseller.   BOUGH was also produced as a t.v. movie and won the Edgar Allan Poe and Anthony Boucher Awards for Best First Novel.   Since then, Jonathan has published a best-selling crime novel every year, and occasionally, two a year.   In addition, he has written and illustrated two books for children and a nonfiction volume on childhood violence, SAVAGE SPAWN (1999.)     Though no longer active as a psychotherapist, he is a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Psychology at University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine.


Jonathan is married to bestselling novelist Faye Kellerman and they have four children.

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Frequently Asked Questions



1.   What led you to switch from psychology to fiction?


I've been writing compulsively since the age of nine but saw it, at first,   as a form of expression rather than as a job opportunity.   I was also extremely fascinated by science, specifically biology and human behavior.   When I got to college, the best outlet for that seemed to be a degree in psychology.   As a senior at UCLA, I won a literary award and that got me thinking I might also be able to publish fiction - on the side.   It took thirteen years of typing away in an unheated garage from 11 pm to 1 am for that to happen. Even after three successful novels, I was reluctant to give up my psychology practice.   Eventually, something had to give and I chose writing, because I'd already worked for nearly two decades as a psychologist and wanted to see what the life of a full time writer was like.


2.   Why crime fiction?


All good fiction involves an element of mystery - ideally, the reader should be compelled to turn the page in order to find out what happens next.   Crime novels use extreme events - matters of life and death - to catalyze the story.   That kind of intensity appeals to me. Trying to squeeze profundity out of banal events doesn't.    I'm interested in human motivation and try to write books that are whydunits as well as whodunits.


3.   How similar is Alex Delaware to you?

Alex and I share some obvious features. We're both psychologists, driven and curious and compulsive.   However, he's younger, leaner, more athletic, and better-looking. Being a single guy, he can get into the kind of   trouble a long-married father of four must avoid.   Perhaps he's my Walter Mitty fantasy.


4.   Where did Milo come from and why is he gay?


It's funny how many people claim to know the real-life person from whom I developed Milo.   The truth is, I made him up out of whole cloth.   I decided he would be gay because the notion of yet another tough homicide cop seemed hackneyed and boring.   Back when I wrote the book, the Los Angeles Police Department denied the existence of gay cops and I thought that might create some interesting tension.  


I knew gay people in positions of authority who went about doing their job without their sexual preference mattering.   The point I wanted to make was:   who cares what someone does in bed?   In 1981, that was a radical proposition.  


At the beginning I was lauded by gay readers and organizations for creating a non-stereotypic character.   Then I got criticized for presuming that I, as a straight man, could   capture the gay experience.   A few years ago, a journalist in a gay British magazine opined that if Delaware were really a great shrink, he'd know he was in love with Milo.


5. Who are your literary influences?


James T. Farrell, Conan Doyle, Dumas, Verne, Ross McDonald.   Stephen King will be read centuries from now - he's the Edgar Allan Poe of our generation.   Elmore Leonard and Ruth Rendell are masters. Just a few among many .  

In general, I admire writers with a robust sense of story.   Spare me the kind of book described by P.G. Wodehouse as "People sit around talking for 200 pages and then the adolescent doesn't kill himself."


6.   What's it like having two writers in one household?


If Faye and I had a competitive relationship, it could be hell.   Fortunately, we're best friends, are still deeply in love and mutually supportive.   Being married for thirteen years before either of us published fiction may have helped - our relationship was solidified.   Another boon might have been the fact that neither of us rose through the ranks of a back-biting English department.   I have a Ph.D. in psychology and Faye has a degree in theoretical math and a doctorate in dentistry.   Perfect training for careers as novelists, no?   It's great living with someone who understands why you need to get up at 3 a.m. and re-write a phrase.


7.   Do your children write?


All four of our kids are excellent writers, with quite individual styles.   Whether or not the others choose writing as a profession remains to be seen, but our eldest, Jesse, just signed a two-book deal with Putnam for a pair of suspense novels.   The reflexive reaction from the public may be "Sure, it was nepotism."   The reality was that being the son of Faye and Jonathan Kellerman closed more doors for Jess than it opened. Neither of our publishers wanted to read his manuscript and he had to find his own agent.   His first novel, SUNSTROKE, will be out in February of 2006.   I know that as his father I have zero credibility here,   but, trust me, it's brilliant.


8.   What do you do in your spare time?


I play guitar - in several genres ranging from Hawaiian to classical - and I collect vintage guitars and other fretted instruments.   I've been drawing and painting since the age of four and try to get to the studio when there's any creative energy left over. My style is realistic and my strong point is portraiture, though I have experimented with other schools and subjects.   I also like to pretend to stay in shape, so I try to exercise aerobically every day.   Boring, boring, boring, so I keep telling myself it's good for me.


9.   What's in the future?


I'd like to write crime novels for as long as people want to read them.   I'm about 80% through an Alex Delaware novel titled GONE, and I'm contracted for several more books.   I really appreciate the people who go out and spend hard-earned money for my books.   When the last page has been turned, I do hope they view the purchase as worthwhile. 

10.    Have any of your books been made into movies and are there any film projects in the future? 


WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS was adapted for an NBC Movie of the Week and aired in October 1986 to a fabulous response – 28 million viewers, higher ratings than 60 Minutes.


The obvious choice would be to adapt another one, right? Wrong. The star of that MOW, Ted Danson, decided to concentrate on big-screen features, so plans to film OVER THE EDGE were dropped. (BLOOD TEST was deemed too dark for adaptation.) Since that time, I’ve sold several film options and have had some outright sales, but something always comes up that leads to cancellation of production. It’s not atypical for Hollywood, where talk is cheap and it’s best to count your fingers after shaking hands. 


Overall, the perception among the “experts” seems to be that the books are too complex, “intellectual” and “internal” (lots of thought process as opposed to action-oriented). While it would be fun to have a great director do a first-rate production of one of my novels, I’m possessive of Delaware, Sturgis, et al and don’t want to see them distorted or diminished.


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Evidence (Alex Delaware Series #24) 














#1 New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman writes unforgettable tales of crime and detection that expose the shadowy side of glittering Los Angeles. And in Evidence, readers are once again in the dexterous grip of a master storyteller and stylist equally skilled at teasing your brain and taking your breath away.

In the half-built skeleton of a monstrously vulgar mansion in one of L.A.’s toniest neighborhoods, a watchman stumbles on the bodies of a young couple–murdered in flagrante and left in a gruesome postmortem embrace. Though he’s cracked some of the city’s worst slayings, veteran homicide cop Milo Sturgis is still shocked at the grisly sight: a twisted crime that only Milo’s killer instincts–and psychologist Alex Delaware’s keen insights–can hope to solve.

While the female victim’s identity remains a question mark, her companion is ID’d as eco-friendly architect...

Publishers Weekly

L.A. police lieutenant Milo Sturgis investigates a double homicide at the site of an unfinished, obscenely large mansion in bestseller Kellerman's nerve-tingling 24th Alex Delaware novel (after Bones). Construction halted on the house two years earlier, and ownership can be traced only to a defunct holding company in Washington, D.C. The male victim is easily identified—Desmond Backer, who worked for an odd little architectural firm—but the female victim's identity isn't immediately apparent. Alex serves as a sounding board while Milo pursues assorted rumors and false leads: the site owners are Arabs, Asians, Muslims; the killings were vengeance; the victims were eco-terrorists; the deaths are linked to the disappearance of a Swedish or Swiss woman years before. Without magic, just steady, inspired police work, including horse-trading with the FBI and skillful interrogations, Milo uncovers the unsavory truth. (Oct.)




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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I tell the truth. They lie.
I'm strong. They're weak.
I'm good.
They're bad.

This was a zero job but Doyle was getting paid.

Why anyone would shell out fifteen bucks an hour, three hours a day, five times a week, to check out the empty shell of a rich-idiot monster-house was something he'd never get.

The look-see took fifteen minutes. If he walked slow. Rest of the time, Doyle sat around, ate his lunch, listened to Cheap Trick on his Walkman.

Thinking about being a real cop if his knee hadn't screwed up.

The company said go there, he went.

Disability all run out, he swallowed part-time, no benefits. Paying to launder his own uniform.

One time he heard a couple of the other guys talking behind his back.

Gimp's lucky to get anything.

Like it was his fault. His blood level had been .05, which wasn't even close to illegal. That tree had jumped out of nowhere.

Gimp made Doyle go all hot in the face and the chest but he kept his mouth shut like he always did. One day . . .

He parked the Taurus on the patch of dirt just outside the chainlink, tucked his shirt tighter.

Seven a.m., quiet except for the stupid crows squawking.

Rich-idiot neighborhood but the sky was a crappy milky gray just like in Burbank where Doyle's apartment was.

Nothing moving on Borodi Lane. As usual. The few times Doyle saw anyone it was maids and gardeners. Rich idiots paying to live here but never living here, one monster-mansion after another, blocked by big trees and high gates. No sidewalks, either. What was that all about?

Every once in a while, some tucked-tightblonde in Rodeo Drive sweats would come jogging down the middle of the road looking miserable. Never before ten, that type slept late, had breakfast in bed, massages, whatever. Laying around in satin sheets, getting waited on by maids and butlers before building up the energy to shake those skinny butts and long legs.

Bouncing along in the middle of the road, some Rolls-Royce comes speeding down and kaboom. Wouldn't that be something?

Doyle collected his camouflage-patterned lunch box from the trunk, made his way toward the three-story plywood shell. The third being that idiot castle thing-the turret. Unfinished skeleton of a house that would've been as big as a . . . as a . . . Disneyland castle.

Fantasyland. Doyle had done some pacing, figured twenty thousand square feet, minimum. Two-acre lot, maybe two and a half.

Framed up and skinned with plywood, for some reason, he could never find out why, everything stopped and now the heap was all gray, warping, striped with rusty nail-drips.

Crappy gray sky leaking in through rotting rafters. On hot days, Doyle tucked himself into a corner for shade.

Out behind in the bulldozed brown dirt was an old Andy Gump accidentally left behind, chemicals still in the john. The door didn't close good and sometimes Doyle found coyote scat inside, sometimes mouse droppings.

When he felt like it, he just whizzed into the dirt.

Someone paying all that money to build Fantasyland, then just stopping. Go figure.

He'd brought a good lunch today, roast beef sandwich from Arby's, too bad there was nothing to heat the gravy with. Opening the box, he sniffed. Not bad. He moved toward the chain-link swing gate . . . what the-

Stupid thing was pulled as wide as the chain allowed, which was about two, two and a half feet. Easy for anyone but a fat idiot to squeeze through.

The chain had always been too long to really draw the gate tight, making the lock useless, but Doyle was careful to twist it up, make it look secure when he left each day.

Some idiot had monkeyed with it.

He'd told the company about the chain, got ignored. What was the point of hiring a professional when you didn't listen to his advice?

Sidling through the gap, he rearranged the chain nice and tight. Leaving his lunch box atop raw-concrete steps, he began his routine. Standing in the middle of the first floor, saying, "Hel-lo," and listening to his voice echo. He'd done that first day on the job, liked the echo, kinda like honking in a tunnel. Now it was a habit.

Didn't take long to see everything was okay on the first floor. Space was huge, big as a . . . as a . . . some rooms framed up but mostly pretty open so you had clear views everywhere. Like peeking through the skeleton bones of some dinosaur. In the middle of what would've been the entry hall was a humongous, swooping, double staircase. Just plywood, no railings, Doyle had to be careful, all he needed was a fall, screw up some other body part.

Here we go, pain with every step. Stairs creaked like a mother but felt structurally okay. You could just could imagine what it would be like with marble on it. Like a . . . big castle staircase.

Nineteen steps, each one killed.

The second floor was just as empty as the first, big surprise. Stopping to rub his knee and take in the western treetop view, he continued toward the rear, stopped again, kneaded some more but it didn't do much good. Continuing to the back, he reached the smaller staircase, thirteen steps but real curvy, a killer, tucked behind a narrow wall, you had to know where to find it.

Whoever had paid for all this was some rich idiot who didn't appreciate what he had. If Doyle had a hundredth-a two-hundredth of something like this, he'd thank God every day.

He'd asked the company who the owner was. They said, "Don't pry."

Climbing the curvy staircase, every step crunching his knee,

the pain riding up to his hip, he began counting out the thirteen stairs like he always did, trying to take his mind off the burning in his leg.

When he called out "Nine," he saw it.

Oh Jesus.

Heart thumping, mouth suddenly dry as tissue paper, he backed down two steps, reached along the right side of his gear belt.

Touching air.

Now he was the idiot, there'd been no gun for a long time, not since he stopped guarding jewelry stores downtown.

Company gave him a flashlight, period, and it was in the trunk of the Taurus.

He forced himself to look.

Two of them.

No one else, one good thing about the turret, it was round, mostly open to the sky, nowhere to hide.

Doyle kept looking, felt his guts heave.

The way they were lying, him on top of her, her legs up, one hooked around his back, it was pretty clear what they'd been doing.

Before . . .

Doyle felt short of breath, like someone was choking him. Struggling to regain his air, he finally succeeded. Reached for his phone.

Right in his pocket. At least something was going okay.


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Deception (Alex Delaware Series #25) 














Masterly storytelling and expert insight into the darkest of human compulsions make #1 New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman's Alex Delaware novels as compelling as they are addictive. And just when you think he has taken his spellbinding tales of mystery and psychological suspense to the limit, with Deception he takes a bold leap into terrifying and uncharted new territory. 

Her name is Elise Freeman, and her chilling cry for help--to whoever may be listening--comes too late to save her. On a DVD found near her lifeless body, the emotionally and physically battered woman chronicles a year-and-a-half-long ordeal of monstrous abuse at the hands of three sadistic tormentors. But even more shocking than the lurid details is the revelation that the offenders, like their victim, are teachers at one of L.A.'s most prestigious prep schools. With Elise now dead by uncertain means, homicide detective Milo Sturgis is assigned to probe the hallowed halls...

Publishers Weekly

Deputy Chief Weinberg assigns LAPD Lt. Milo Sturgis a particularly sensitive murder case at the outset of bestseller Kellerman’s smooth if routine 25th Alex Delaware novel (after Evidence). Elise Freeman, a teacher and tutor at exclusive Windsor Preparatory Academy in Brentwood, is found dead in her Studio City apartment in a bathtub full of dry ice. Despite Elise’s having left a DVD accusing three fellow teachers at the academy of repeated sexual harassment, Weinberg wants (for personal reasons) the investigation to involve the school as little as possible. As usual, psychologist Alex Delaware takes an active role in the investigation, which finds the victim had lots to hide. A boyfriend, students, teachers, and administrators are all anxious to keep those secrets hidden—and at least one of them is willing to kill again. Milo and Alex form an odd but effective duo as they trade banter and insights while sorting out the lies and deceptions. (Apr.)


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Deception (Alex Delaware Series #25) 











Read a Sample Chapter



An Alex Delaware Novel

By Jonathan Kellerman

Random House Large Print

Copyright © 2010 Jonathan Kellerman 
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780739377406 

 The woman had haunted eyes. 
 Pale, drooping at the outer edges, they stared into theunseen camera with an odd combination of defiance and defeat. 

 She didn't move. Neither did the camera. The wall behindher was brown-blue, the color of an old bruise. The couch on which she perchedwas gray. She was a pretty woman, made less so by fear. Her shoulders werebunched high, her neck tendons taut as bridge cables. A black, sleeveless dressshowcased soft white arms. Too-blond hair fell limply to her shoulders. 

 Moments passed. Nothing happened. In another situation Imight've cracked wise about it being one of Andy Warhol's old anti-films:interminable, static studies of the Empire State Building, a man sleeping. 

When a homicide lieutenant brings you something to watch,you keep your mouth shut. 

Milo stood behind me. His black hair and raincoat wererumpled. The coat was cheap, green, wrinkled past the point of salvation. Itgave off a not unpleasant vegetative odor. He'd placed a massive breakfastburrito in a take-out box on my desk, hadn't touched it. 

 When he drops in, he usually beelines for the fridge,empties a quart of something, raids the shelves for bad carbs. This morning,he'd marched to my office, loaded the DVDwith a flourish. 

"For your consideration." 

 Blanche, my little French bulldog, sat next to me,uncharacteristically serious. She'd tried her usual smile, had figured outsomething was different when Milo didn't stoop to pet her. 

 I rubbed her knobby head. She looked up at me, returnedher attention to the monitor. 

 The woman's lips moved. 

Milo said, "Here we go." 

 More silence on the screen. 

"So I lied." 

The woman said, "My name is Elise Freeman. I'm ateacher and tutor at Windsor Preparatory Academy in Brentwood." Her voicewas throaty. She knotted her fingers, flopped them onto her lap. "I'mmaking this recording to document sustained abuse I have received at the handsof faculty members at Windsor Preparatory Academy in Brentwood. Which I willhereon refer to as Prep." 

Deep breath. "For the past two years at Prep, I havebeen subjected to repeated, unwarranted, aggressive, and distressing sexualharassment from three individuals. Their names are." Her right hand rose.A finger pointed upward. "Enrico Hauer. H-A-U-E-R." Two fingers:"James Winterthorn." More slow, enunciated spelling, then a trio ofdigits. "Pat Skaggs." 

 The hand dropped. "For the past two years EnricoHauer, James Winterthorn, and Pat Skaggs have made my life a living hell byengaging in brutal, unsolicited, and threatening sexual behavior. I am makingthis recording so that in the event something violent happens to me, theauthorities will know where to look. I do not know what else to do as I feeltrapped and frightened and have nowhere to turn. I hope this recording neverneeds to come to light but if it does, I am glad that I made it." 

Her eyes clenched shut. Her lips moved soundlessly andshe slumped. Suddenly her jaw jutted and she was sitting up straight. Moredefiance than defeat. 

Staring hard at the camera. "Thanks forlistening." 

 The screen went blue. Milo said, "Talk about a D-movieplot device." 

 I said, "But you're here. She was murdered?" 

"Maybe. She's on ice." 

"Backlog at the coroner?" 

 His laughter was harsh. "Nope, this morning I'm Mr.Literal. Ice of the dry sort. Frozen CO2. She was found in her home, lying in abathtub full of the stuff." 

I tried to picture the blond woman as a frozen corpse, didn'tlike the image that flashed in my head, and reverted to Doctor Helpful."Someone trying to mess up the time-of-death estimate? Or maybe apsychopath coming up with a new way to showcase his handiwork." 

 He winced, as if all contingencies were painful. Removingthe disc, he slipped it back into a clear plastic jewel box. Not bothering toglove up; the DVD had already been printed, matched only to Elise Freeman. 

 I said, "Where are you going with this?" 

He rotated his neck. "Got coffee? Maybe sometoast?" 

Chapter Two  

  We left myhouse with black coffee in travel-cups and six slices of lavishly butteredsesame-rye. 

 When Milo wants to think, phone, text, or sleep hesometimes asks me to do the driving. It's against LAPD regs but so are lots ofthings. He makes up for my mileage cost with bar tabs and such. 

 The toast was occupying his attention so I offered totake my Seville. He shook his head, scattering crumbs, continued to his latestunmarked, a bronze Chevy Malibu with a phlegmy ignition. Heading north onBeverly Glen, he steered with one hand, stuffed rye bread into his mouth withthe other. 

The police radio was switched off. The burrito rested inthe backseat and filled the car with eau de frijole. 

 He said, "In answer to your question, toomessy." 

"That was low on my list of questions. Where are wegoing?" 

 "Where she died, Studio City." 

"Not a West L.A. case but you're on it." 

 "Not an official homicide but I'm on it." 

The difference between an experienced psychologist and anovice is knowing when not to speak. 

I sat back and drank coffee. 

 Milo said, "Maybe there'll be a microwave and I canheat up the burrito." 

 Elise Freeman had resided in a green-sided, tar-roofedbungalow on a spidery, tree-shaded lane east of Laurel Canyon and north ofVentura Boulevard. Close enough to the thoroughfare to hear Valley traffic, butmature vegetation and larger houses blocked any urban visuals. 

 The little green box sat at the terminus of a long dirtdriveway split by a strip of concrete. A gray sedan was parked near the frontdoor. Full-sized car but not big enough to hide the bungalow's blemishes as wedrew close: worn and ragged siding eroded to raw wood in patches, curlingshingles, a noticeable listing to the right due to a sinking foundation. 

No crime scene tape that I could see, no uniforms onwatch. 

 I said, "When was she found?" 

 "Last night by her boyfriend. He says he talked toher on the phone three days ago but after that, she stopped returning hiscalls. A forty-eight-hour time frame fits the coroner's TOD guesstimate.Probably at the tail end-early morning. Apparently, dry ice doesn't melt, itsublimates-goes straight into the atmosphere-so there's no water residue forestimating degradation. In an ice chest, the rate of sublimation is five to tenpounds every twenty-four hours, but it's faster under normal roomtemperature." 

 "Any empty ice bags left behind?" 

 "Nope. Exactly." 

 Someone had cleaned up. 

 "The scene's still intact?" 

He scowled. "I never got a chance to see the scenebecause my involvement began at five thirty a.m. today when Deputy ChiefWeinberg woke me from a rare good dream. The DVD, the key to the house, and what'spassing for a file were messengered to my house ten minutes later." 

"High intrigue and an egregious break inprocedure," I said. "Sounds like orders from on high." 

 He continued slowly up the drive, checking out thesurroundings. Layers of greenery to the left, a two-story Colonial mansion tothe right. The big house was wood-sided like the bungalow, but what I could seeof it was painted white and adorned with black shutters. It sat on a generouslot partitioned from Freeman's skimpy ribbon of real estate by a ten-footstucco fence topped with used brick. Bougainvillea topped areas of brick,amping up the privacy quotient on both sides. 

 The smaller structure might've begun life as anoutbuilding of the manse, back when multi-acre estates spread across Valleyhillsides. A guesthouse, servant's quarters, maybe tack storage for one of thecowboy actors wanting proximity to the Burbank film-lots that passed for WildWest badlands. 

Milo rolled to a stop inches from the Crown Vic. No oneat the wheel, but a man in a cream-colored suit emerged from behind thebungalow. 

 A hair over Milo's six three, he was broad, black,bespectacled. The suit was double-breasted and tailored to nearly conceal a gunbulge. 

 He gave a cursory nod. "Milo." 


 "And this is..." 

"Dr. Delaware." 

 "Your psychologist." 

 "That makes it sound like I'm in therapy,Stan." 

 "Therapy's in fashion now, Milo. The departmentlooks kindly on self-awareness and insight." 

 "Must have missed that memo." 

 A big hand extended. "Stanley Creighton,Doctor." 

 We shook. 

Milo said, "What brings you down from Olympus,Stan?" 

"More like Bunker Hill," said Creighton."I'm here to keep an eye out." 

"New clause in the captain's job description?" 

 Creighton said, "One does what one is told." Heturned to me. "Speaking of which, Doctor, I appreciate what you do but youshouldn't be here." 

 "He's cleared for takeoff, Stan." 

 Creighton frowned. Cool morning but the back of his neckwas moist ebony. "I must've missed that memo." 

 "Probably buried under a pile of wisdom from HisMunificence." 

Creighton flashed beautiful teeth. "Why don't youcall him that to his face? Doctor, you really need to absent yourself." 

 "Stan, he really doesn't." 

 Creighton's smile degraded to something cold andmenacing. "You're telling me you got papal dispensation for his presenceat this specific crime scene?" 

"Why would I improvise about that, Stan?" 

"Why indeed," said Creighton. "Except forthe fact that rationality doesn't always figure into human behavior. Which iswhy my wife, who has an M.D., still smokes a pack and a half a day." 

"Feel free to call the Vatican to verify,Stan." 

Creighton studied me. "Can I assume that LieutenantSturgis has informed you of the need for exceptional discretion here,Doctor?" 


"Exceptional," he repeated. 

 "I love exceptions," I said. 

 "Why's that, Doctor?" 

 "They're a lot more interesting than rules." 

Creighton tried to smile again. The result fit him likepanty hose on a mastiff. "I respect what you do, Doctor. My wife's aneurologist, works with psychologists all the time. But now I'm wondering ifLieutenant Sturgis relies on you so not because of your professional skills,maybe it's more of a personality thing." Expanding his chest. "As inwiseass loves company." 

Before I could answer he wheeled on Milo. "How muchtime are you going to need here?" 

"Hard to say." 

 "I'm after a little more precision." 

 "C'mon, Stan-" 

"You've already seen the crime scene pix, the body'slong gone, the prints and fluid swabs are at the lab, and your vic's computerwas lifted, so what do you expect to accomplish?" 

No mention of the DVD. 

Milo said, "Hell, Stan, why even bother to work whenwe can go on" 

 "Yuk yuk yuk, ka-ching, rim shot," saidCreighton. "Bottom line: There's nothing this place can tell you. Unlessyou're one of those paranormals, think you can feel vibrations." 

"You were in my place you wouldn't do a walk-through?" 

 "Sure, cover your ass. But walk quickly. I've beenhere since six a.m., which is an hour after Weinberg woke me up and gave me myorders. Morning's aren't my fun time. This particular morning, my knee's beinga nasty bitch. So what I'm gonna do right now is go for a nice, loose walk andwhen I get back, I strongly prefer to see you the hell out of here so I can getthe hell out of here and do the job they officially pay me for." 

 Favoring me with a contemptuous glance. "Be careful,Doctor." 

We watched him stride off, limping slightly. 

I said, "Who'd he play for?" 

"U. Nevada, didn't make the big-time." 

 "What do they officially pay him for?" 

 "He used to work Sex Crimes. Now he pushes paper andattends meetings." 

"And occasionally plays watchman." 

"Funny 'bout that." 

 We continued toward the green house. 

 I said, "If it's all so hush-hush how'd you get thechief to approve me?" 

"I'll answer that once you're approved." 

The bungalow's front porch creaked under our weight. Ahummingbird feeder dangling from the overhang was empty and dry. Milo pulledout a tagged key and unlocked the door and we stepped into a small, dim livingroom. Blank space atop a TV table. 

 I said, "Her video gear's at the lab?" 


 "Where was the DVD found?" 

"Stuck in the middle of a stack of her favoritemovies. Or so the file claims." 

"Creighton didn't mention it." 

"Like I said, it got messengered." 

"By who?" 

 "Guy in a suit." 

"And a badge?" 

 "That, too." 

 "A note in the envelope said it was found in a stackof the victim's DVDs." 

 "But not cataloged as evidence." 

"Funny 'bout that." 

"Who took the initial call?" 

"Two North Hollywood D's who have absolutely nothingto say to me." 

"Are you planning to tell me what got the gearsgrinding?" 

 "It wasn't her," he said. "They couldn'tcare less about her. That's the point, Alex." 

 I said, "The suspects are the point. Where they'reemployed." 

"You never heard that from me." 

 "A school has that much clout?" 

 "It does when the right people's kids are enrolled.You ever have patients from Windsor Prep?" 

"A few." 

 "Any pattern you'd care to share?" 

 "Affluent, attractive kids. For the most part,bright, but under lots of pressure academically, athletically, and socially. Inother words, no different from any other prep school." 

"This case makes it real different." 

"Because of one student in particular." 


"College applications go in soon," I said."Here's a wild guess: The chief has a kid aiming for the Ivy League." 

 He shoved a coarse shock of hair off his brow. Fuzzylight advertised every pock and knot on his face. "I never heard that fromyou." 

"Son or daughter?" 

"Son," he said. "Only child. Another Einstein,according to his mommy, the Virgin Mary." 

"Talk about a mixed metaphor." 

 "What the hell, they were both nice Jewishboys." 

"Graduating senior?" 

"Graduating with honors and aiming for Yale." 

I said, "It's the toughest year ever, huge upsurgeof applications, lots of honor students are going to be disappointed. A coupleof patients I saw as little kids have come back for moral support and they saythe most trivial factor can nudge the scales. A big-time scandal would energizethe Rejection Gods." 

He bowed. "O Great Swami of the East, your wisdomhas pierced the miasma." He began circling the room. "Ol' Stanley waswrong. Why I rely upon you has nothing to do with personality." 

 Creighton might've been off about that but to my eye hewas right about the house yielding nothing of value. 

 The miserly space had already taken on an abandoned feel.The front room, carelessly and cheaply furnished, sported a U-build bookshelffull of high school texts, SAT and ACT practice manuals, a few photographyvolumes featuring pretty shots of faraway places, paperbacks by Jane Austen,Aphra Behn, and George Eliot. 

The plywood-and-Formica kitchenette was a sixtiesbootleg. Wilting fruit and vegetables moldered in the mini-fridge; a couple ofLean Cuisine boxes sat in the freezer compartment. A kitchen cabinet wascrammed full of liquor mini-bottles and some full-sized quarts. Budget gin butGrey Goose vodka, no mixers prettying up intentions. 

From the Hardcover edition. 


Excerpted from Deception by Jonathan Kellerman Copyright © 2010 by Jonathan Kellerman. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. 
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Jonathan's website is here:


Coming Up:



7:30 pm - Talk & Signing with Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman
Barnes & Noble
2675 NE University Village Street
Seattle, WA 98105


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Latest news from Jonathan's website:




Hi, again and thanks for logging on.


The new Delaware novel DECEPTION comes out March 30. Though I rarely talk about my books, let’s just say this one couldn’t have been written until my last kid finished the college application process.


Along those lines, Aliza, co-author of PRISM will be leaving us this coming Fall to pursue a joint major in philosophy, political science and economics. She’s also at work on a solo novel and the few pages she’s allowed me to see are astonishingly good. By the time Lizzie goes off, Faye and I will have been raising kids for 32 years in a row, so this is going to be quite a change. I’ve been doing some thinking about empty nesting but haven’t come up with any grand epiphany. I’m sure some of you have been through it. As Milo would say to Alex, “Any insights?”


One thing that’s sure to help: grandchildren. Our brilliant, gorgeous, nearly three year old granddaughter continues to amaze. The other day she stared at me, then said, “Grandpa, you’re interesting.” And thanks to the debut of an adorable grandson six months ago courtesy Jesse and – more to the point - his beautiful wife, Gabriella, we now have two miniature people to hang out with. I’m enjoying reliving infant and toddler days in a new context - As in have fun with the tyke but get to sleep through the night.


Hugo, our sweet, gentlemanly French Bulldog has adapted beautifully to all the changes. He loves everybody but is especially – and understandably - smitten with Faye.


Jesse’s fourth novel, THE EXECUTOR comes out one week after DECEPTION, so he and I are taking the opportunity to do some father-sonpublicity events in L.A., San Diego and Seattle. Let me repeat those four words: father-son publicity events. Something I never thought I’d be considering, let alone experiencing, back when I was changing Jess’s diapers. And not sleeping through the night.


Thanks to all of your for your unflagging support and continued happy reading.









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I've been reading Jonathan Kellerman's books for years, so I am thrilled that he will be visiting us over the next two weeks.


I don't expect him to join us until Monday - I'm posting this early because I'll be on the road tomorrow and I am nervous in case my broadband card cuts out.


I'll be back to post a few questions for Jonathan (I want to say "Mr. Kellerman" but that's too formal for this group) - I hope you'll all post some questions and give Jonathan Kellerman a great big B&N WELCOME!!!

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Hi Jonathan, I (I'm sorry) haven't had the pleasure of reading you, but is it okay that Faye is one of my all time favorite authors? And I read Jessie's books too. 

But I plan to get to know you soon, it's just that when it comes to series I like to start from the beginning.

So I hope I'm forgiven.

A future fan.

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[ Edited ]


dhaupt wrote:

Hi Jonathan, I (I'm sorry) haven't had the pleasure of reading you, but is it okay that Faye is one of my all time favorite authors? And I read Jessie's books too. 

But I plan to get to know you soon, it's just that when it comes to series I like to start from the beginning.

So I hope I'm forgiven.

A future fan.


Debbie - this is another dangerous author for you to discover, because he's written a LOT of books and you're going to want to read them all. I discovered Jonathan's books first, but I'm a fan of Faye's, too. 


The Kellerman's are a talented and prolific family! When Michael Palmer visited earlier this month we tried to come up with other literary dynasties, and there are fewer than you might expect. (Of course, we probably missed some - add more here, if you think of any!)

Inspired Bibliophile
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Dear Jonathan..Its really wonderful that you could join us..I have read you for years,and playing catch up with"Compulsion"..which I am of course loving..I have read most of Faye's,its the New Yorker in me,and her references to a world that I know about..(living in Vermont for 7 years)..I did live in California as well,,and love reading about all the area's that you mention..I am almost done with "Compulsion" tomorrow..for sure..One question that has been on my mind for you is."When you first introduced Milo to us,I thought you were tearing down barriers in the world of Fiction."Did you feel that way.?.I am especially enjoying "Compulsion",not quite at the end ,actually page 245.So close..Your writing,even with all the characters that you introduce is always tight..I never forget who it is that you are talking about,with your slight references,especially when Alex  and Milo have a conversation..You have created 'A Language" for them over the years..Will be posting again..Thank you Becke  for Bringing Jonathan Kellerman to BN Mystery..Susan Vtc...

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
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Jonathan is here, but unfortunately is having trouble posting comments. The site is going through a redesign and we've had some gremlins in the sign in system recently, as many of you are well aware. Soon we will have a much simpler sign in process -- I'm so sorry about the problems Jonathan and the rest of you may be experiencing. You can email me at if you can't get a comment to post. I'm not a techie, but I'll pass the details of your problem on to someone who is.


Just an FYI - I'm in Chicago for a few days and I'm not going to have computer access 24/7 like I do at home. I will be checking in several times a day but if any of you try to reach me and don't get an immediate response, please bear with me. I'll get back to you asap.


Can you tell it's Monday???



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Hi, it's JK.  Finally got logged in.  Sorry for the delay and thanks for the kind welcome.  Now i"m going to do my best to address all the questions.