Breakdown

BreakdownBreakdown by Jonathan Kellerman
Series: Alex Delaware
Genres: Crime, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Published by Ballantine Books on February 2, 2016
Pages: 368
Also by this author: The Murderer's Daughter

 

About Breakdown (from the back cover):
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.

I was introduced to Jonathan Kellerman’s writing last year when I read The Murderer’s Daughter.  I thoroughly enjoyed both the characters and the plot for that book and decided to try more of his work.  When I saw Breakdown, I decided to giving it a try even though it was part of a series.  I felt relatively certain that a single storyline was not carried across 31 books.  As it turns out, this book can be read standalone (though I really want to know Robin’s occupation) and it is highly entertaining with intriguing characters, just like The Murderer’s Daughter.

Dr. Alex Delaware is instantly likeable.  It is obvious how much he cares for his patients, which compels the reader to really care about finding Zelda’s missing son, Ovid.

Dr. Alex Delaware is instantly likeable.  It is obvious how much he cares for his patients, which compels the reader to really care about finding Zelda’s missing son, Ovid.  As the story expands beyond Ovid, there is a sense that Dr. Delaware is saddened by the plight of those he can’t help and therefore causes him to work even hard to solve the mystery sounding Zelda and her family.  This deep concern for others, especially the mentally ill, makes a social statement, without the lecture.  The thoughts blend into the story and points are made without them feeling forced into place.

An aspect that I found interesting with this book is how varied the characters are.

While Dr. Delaware is quite likable, an aspect that I found interesting with this book is how varied the characters are.  It’s easy for an author to tell how someone looks and acts, it’s something entirely different for the reader to see their differences through the character’s voice.  I was quite impressed by how different each character felt.  They shared similarities in some cases, but they were unique and when they talked, it felt like hearing and watching a conversation between two people.  This is not a quality that I find in every book and in this book it was particularly striking.

It was quite enjoyable to watch Detective Sturgis and Dr. Delaware work through the mystery.  There are quite a few twists and turns, some surprising and others not so much.  The plot starts out as an attempt to locate Ovid, but as it dead ends and then branches, the various subplots are fun to watch develop as well.  There is a strong whodunit aspect, but as that is resolved it switches to more of a how to prove it story.  Both parts are well written and the end result is a satisfying conclusion with a tidy ending.

There are quite a few twists and turns in Breakdown; some are surprising and others not so much.

I might be late to discovering the Alex Delaware series, but I do plan to continue the journey.  So far I very much like what I’ve seen of Jonathan Kellerman’s writing and I’d like to tag along for a few more fun adventures.  For readers looking for an entertaining crime novel with a great cast of characters, Breakdown is a good choice.

Note:  This book does contain some sexual content and strong language.  All is within reason for the story being told.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *