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Victims

Cover of Victims

Victims

Alex Delaware Series, Book 27
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"With his latest, [Jonathan Kellerman] not only brings his 'A' game but also ratchets it up a notch or three. . . . Victims will keep you up at night."—Bookreporter

Acid-tongued Vita Berlin hadn't a friend in the world, but whom did she cross so badly as to end up meticulously arranged in such a gruesome murder scene? One look prompts LAPD detective Milo Sturgis to summon his expert in homicidal maniacs, Alex Delaware. But even Alex is stymied when more slayings occur in the same ghastly fashion—with no apparent connection among the victims. And the only clue left behind—a blank page bearing a question mark—seems to be both a menacing taunt and a chilling cry for help from a tortured, savage soul. To end the bloody spree and prevent citywide panic, Alex navigates the secretive world of mental health treatment, from the sleek office of a Beverly Hills therapist to a shuttered mental institution where he once learned his craft. As each jagged piece of the puzzle fits into place, a portrait emerges of a sinister mind at its most unimaginable—and an evil soul at its most unspeakable.
BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Jonathan Kellerman's Guilt.

"Expertly crafted, judiciously paced and echoing with larger social concerns."—The Star-Ledger

"The combination of Alex Delaware [and] Detective Milo Sturgis . . . makes for the most original whodunit duo since Watson and Holmes."—Forbes
Includes an excerpt of Jonathan Kellerman's Guilt.
"With his latest, [Jonathan Kellerman] not only brings his 'A' game but also ratchets it up a notch or three. . . . Victims will keep you up at night."—Bookreporter

Acid-tongued Vita Berlin hadn't a friend in the world, but whom did she cross so badly as to end up meticulously arranged in such a gruesome murder scene? One look prompts LAPD detective Milo Sturgis to summon his expert in homicidal maniacs, Alex Delaware. But even Alex is stymied when more slayings occur in the same ghastly fashion—with no apparent connection among the victims. And the only clue left behind—a blank page bearing a question mark—seems to be both a menacing taunt and a chilling cry for help from a tortured, savage soul. To end the bloody spree and prevent citywide panic, Alex navigates the secretive world of mental health treatment, from the sleek office of a Beverly Hills therapist to a shuttered mental institution where he once learned his craft. As each jagged piece of the puzzle fits into place, a portrait emerges of a sinister mind at its most unimaginable—and an evil soul at its most unspeakable.
BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Jonathan Kellerman's Guilt.

"Expertly crafted, judiciously paced and echoing with larger social concerns."—The Star-Ledger

"The combination of Alex Delaware [and] Detective Milo Sturgis . . . makes for the most original whodunit duo since Watson and Holmes."—Forbes
Includes an excerpt of Jonathan Kellerman's Guilt.
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Excerpts-
  • Chapter 1

    This one was different.

    The first hint was Milo's tight-voiced eight a.m. message, stripped of details.

    Something I need you to see, Alex. Here's the address.

    An hour later, I was showing I.D. to the uniform guarding the tape. He winced. "Up there, Doctor." Pointing to the second story of a sky-blue duplex trimmed in chocolate-brown, he dropped a hand to his Sam Browne belt, as if ready for self-defense.

    Nice older building, the classic Cal-Spanish architecture, but the color was wrong. So was the silence of the street, sawhorsed at both ends. Three squad cars and a liver-colored LTD were parked haphazardly across the asphalt. No crime lab vans or coroner's vehicles had arrived, yet.

    I said, "Bad?"

    The uniform said, "There's probably a better word for it but that works."

    u

    Milo stood on the landing outside the door doing nothing.

    No cigar-smoking or jotting in his pad or grumbling orders. Feet planted, arms at his sides, he stared at some faraway galaxy.

    His blue nylon windbreaker bounced sunlight at strange angles. His black hair was limp, his pitted face the color and texture of cottage cheese past its prime. A white shirt had wrinkled to crepe. Wheat- colored cords had slipped beneath his paunch. His tie was a sad shred of poly.

    He looked as if he'd dressed wearing a blindfold.

    As I climbed the stairs, he didn't acknowledge me.

    When I was six steps away, he said, "You made good time."

    "Easy traffic."

    "Sorry," he said.

    "For what?"

    "Including you." He handed me gloves and paper booties.

    I held the door for him. He stayed outside.

    The woman was at the rear of the apartment's front room, flat on her back. The kitchen behind her was empty, counters bare, an old avocado- colored fridge free of photos or magnets or mementos.

    Two doors to the left were shut and yellow-taped. I took that as a Keep Out. Drapes were drawn over every window. Fluorescent lighting in the kitchen supplied a nasty pseudo-dawn.

    The woman's head was twisted sharply to the right. A swollen tongue hung between slack, bloated lips.

    Limp neck. A grotesque position some coroner might label "incompatible with life."

    Big woman, broad at the shoulders and the hips. Late fifties to early sixties, with an aggressive chin and short, coarse gray hair. Brown sweatpants covered her below the waist. Her feet were bare. Unpolished toenails were clipped short. Grubby soles said bare feet at home was the default.

    Above the waistband of the sweats was what remained of a bare torso. Her abdomen had been sliced horizontally below the navel in a crude approximation of a C-section. A vertical slit crossed the lateral incision at the center, creating a star-shaped wound.

    The damage brought to mind one of those hard-rubber change purses that relies on surface tension to protect the goodies. Squeeze to create a stellate opening, then reach in and scoop.

    The yield from this receptacle was a necklace of intestines placed below the woman's neckline and arranged like a fashionista's puffy scarf. One end terminated at her right clavicle. Bilious streaks ran down her right breast and onto her rib cage. The rest of her viscera had been pulled down into a heap and left near her left hip.

    The pile rested atop a once-white towel folded double. Below that was a larger maroon towel spread neatly. Four other expanses of terry cloth formed a makeshift tarp that shielded beige wall-to-wall carpeting from biochemical insult. The towels had been arranged precisely, edges overlapping evenly for about an inch. Near the woman's right hip was a pale blue T shirt,...

About the Author-
  • Jonathan Kellerman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty bestselling crime novels, including the Alex Delaware series, The Butcher's Theater, Billy Straight, The Conspiracy Club, Twisted, and True Detectives. With his wife, bestselling novelist Faye Kellerman, he co-authored Double Homicide and Capital Crimes. 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

    December 5, 2011
    In Edgar-winner Kellerman’s less than compelling 27th Alex Delaware novel (after 2011’s Mystery), the child psychologist/police consultant and his LAPD homicide detective pal, Lt. Milo Sturgis, look into the possibly ritualistic murder of 56-year-old Vita Berlin, whose mutilated body was found lying on some towels in her apartment. An odd note left in a pizza box is about the only clue. When another body turns up similarly butchered and more follow, it’s enough to put even the food-loving Milo off his feed. At Milo’s request, Alex talks to Berlin’s psychologist in the hope of getting some insight into the difficult, self-righteous woman. Trying to figure out the tortuous link between killer and victims takes Alex back to his days as a young psychology intern and his supervisor, “a former research assistant to Anna Freud during the London years.” Too many plot contrivances make this one of Kellerman’s weaker efforts, but the usual effective interplay between Alex and Milo should satisfy series fans.

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    Random House Publishing Group
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Victims
Alex Delaware Series, Book 27
Jonathan Kellerman
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