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Deception: An Alex Delaware Novel [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Jonathan Kellerman , John Rubinstein
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 30 2010 Alex Delaware Novels
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 of Windsor Prep Academy. And if ever he could use Dr. Alex Delaware’s psychological prowess, it’s now.

From the get-go, this case promises to be an uphill climb for truth and a down and dirty fight for justice. Allegations of rape, assault, and possibly murder at this esteemed institution renowned for molding Ivy Leaguers make for a social and political time bomb—especially given that one of the students has connections high up in City Hall. As the scandal-conscious elite of L.A. close ranks around Windsor Prep, Alex and Milo must penetrate the citadel of wealth and scholarship to expose the hidden anguish, dirty secrets, and deadly sins festering among society’s manor-born. But power and position are not easily surrendered, for that’s when the best and the brightest turn brutal and ugly. Searching for predators among the privileged, Alex and Milo may well be walking into a highly polished death trap.
 

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Review

“Kellerman doesn’t just write psychological thrillers—he owns the genre.”—Detroit Free Press

“Jonathan Kellerman’s novels are an obsession; once started it is hard to quit.”—Orlando Sentinel

“Entertaining . . . Kellerman masterfully keeps readers guessing.”—Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star
 
“The combination of Alex Delaware and Detective Milo Sturgis make for the most original whodunit duo since Watson and Holmes.”—Forbes

About the Author

Jonathan Kellerman is one of the world’s most popular authors. He has brought his expertise as a clinical psychologist to more than two dozen bestselling crime novels, including the Alex Delaware series, The Butcher’s Theater, Billy Straight, The Conspiracy Club, and Twisted. He has won the Goldwyn, Edgar, and Anthony awards, and has been nominated for a Shamus Award.

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kellerman isn't Tolstoy... May 4 2010
By Jill Meyer HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
and "Deception" isn't "War and Peace". But it is a tidy tale of death, deceit, and yes, deception. I believe in comparing a writer's work with his past work. Can't compare it to another writer, that isn't quite fair. Kellerman's novels are very good for what they are - fast paced quasi-police and psychological procedurals. And "Deception" is a good follow-up to Kellerman's past work.

Same old, same old characters in "Deception"; Dr Alex Delaware - a free-lance child psychologist - and Milo Sturgis - a LA police detective usually assigned to tough cases. And the murder case of Elise Freeman was indeed tough. Found frozen in ice in her own bathtub, the victim had a plethora of prospective killers. After following a red-herring DVD where Freeman has named three fellow teachers at an ultra-exclusive LA prep school as possible suspects if she is found dead, Sturgis and Delaware run into obfuscation on the part of the administration when attempting to deal with the teachers and students at the school. After all, it's spring time and the powers-that-be don't want the school's reputation hurt just when the Ivy's are deciding on admissions for the school's seniors. Toss in money - a whole lot of it - and influence - a whole lot more of it - and you've got a hard-to-solve murder. Freeman's murder is succeeded by at least two more until Delaware and Sturgis put it all together and solve the crime. Now, as with most of Kellerman's work, the characters are sort of cardboard, but Kellerman makes the book good reading by use of snappy dialogue.

Kellerman seems to publish an Alex Delaware novel every year. I've read them all and felt a few years ago that they were getting stale. Somehow, Kellerman has refired his imagination and the last few books have been good reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
"You shall not pervert justice; you shall not show partiality, nor take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous." -- Deuteronomy 16:19 (NKJV)

Elise Freeman, a substitute English and history teacher at exclusive Windsor Prep Academy, turns up dead under most unusual circumstances. The investigation quickly turns up DVD in which Ms. Freeman accuses three of her fellow teachers of extreme misconduct . . . a DVD apparently recorded due to being in fear of her death. Other interests determine that the investigation proceed, but at a very low key level. It's just the beginning of a very bizarre trail through the hidden side of the lives of those with too much money and ambition.

A staple of many police procedural plots is to have a conflict of interest that influences the investigation. Milo Sturgis isn't likely to be easily dissuaded from doing his duty, even when the conflict arises from the police chief. The tension does create some memorable humor in this police procedural filled with more red herrings and plot twists than in any five other murder mysteries. The satire of how the very rich and ambitious live can be amusing as well.

I like books that draw my attention away from the real criminal, and this plot was quite effective in that regard. I found it to be a big improvement over the last few Alex Delaware books.

At the same time, Milo and Alex failed to be as interesting as they were earlier in the series. There's just a lot of throw-away humor about eating too much and psychobabble as substitutes for character development and involvement.

I came away from this book feeling encouraged that Jonathan Kellerman seems to have put some real effort into this book. With a little more affection for his characters, he can easily make this a top-notch series once again.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ok April 12 2010
By Kissjo
Format:Hardcover
I'm scared that Jonathan Kellerman is running out of ideas....his last couple of books haven't been up to par. This one was exceptionally better than "evidence", however, I found this predictable and not very interesting. It did have some entertainment values to it, and as with his other books, I read through it quickly...but it just seems like he's grasping to produce and they are getting worse each time. I'm hoping the next book is better.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  148 reviews
127 of 131 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Daddy's Alex Delaware April 5 2010
By Brian Baker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
When Kellerman first brought the Delaware series forward, the books were a welcome and unique entry to the mystery genre: a psychologist who used his unique insights and training to solve crimes, especially those involving children, child psychology being Delaware's specialty as a shrink.

Milo Sturgis was a supporting character to whom Delaware would turn when he needed police support. But what made the series so appealing was the idea that Delaware was getting inadvertently involved in solving mysteries while trying to cure his patients, and his expertise as a psychologist would afford him the unique perspective from which to solve those crimes, in spite of the ineffectiveness of the police.

My, how times have changed.

Milo Sturgis is now the central character; Delaware's simply along for the ride, and to act as a sounding board for Milo so that we readers don't have to sit through endless exposition; his being a psychologist has become completely irrelevant, and isn't even used as a device anymore. Gone are the descriptive passages that establish place and setting, which were so evocative of LA in all its varied motifs. Gone are any personal story elements, such as those involving his girlfriend Robin or his dog; they've become nothing more than set dressing for the few passages when Delaware's in his house (presumably just to have something happen in a different physical scene). Dialogue consists of terse exchanges between Sturgis and Delaware; many of the scenes with witnesses or suspects remind me of the old "Dragnet" TV series, or maybe "Law & Order".

The series has become a hard-boiled detective series starring Sturgis; it's almost on the level of pulp fiction; certainly "police procedural" genre rather than psychological mystery/thriller.

Now, on that level these recent books - including "Deception" - work okay... for what they are. So, I guess I'll give it 3.5 stars on that basis.

But if you're expecting classic Delaware, especially if you're a long-time reader, you're in for a big disappointment.

I understand that over time authors make creative decisions, and sometimes elect to change their approach to a character or series. That's certainly their right. But then we as readers need to be aware of what we're getting. Some people may well like this transition; others certainly won't.

As I said, as a procedural or hard-boiled detective novel, this book works okay. But as an "Alex Delaware Novel", I think it falls far short of the mark, and is overall pretty pedestrian.
104 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deception by Jonathan Kellerman March 31 2010
By Amy Y. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Alex and Milo are back, trying to figure out who-dunnit in Kellerman's newest Alex Delaware novel. I am not a huge fan of the mystery genre- maybe I just haven't read enough to find the authors I would enjoy- but Kellerman has long been the exception.

What I love about Kellerman is that he maintains a certain level of consistency in his writing while avoiding becoming boring and predictable. The trend continues in Deception which has some great twists and turns.

Deception starts off at a steady clip and maintains a good pace throughout. Alex Delaware, psychologist and unofficial detective, is brought onto a homicide case by Lt. Milo Sturgis. Alex and Milo are a seemingly unlikely partnership. Alex provides illuminating insight, drawing on his talent as a psychologist while Milo is the gritty, street-smart cop(who often doubles as the comic relief).

Right from the start, Alex and Milo find the murder of a teacher from an elite prep school raising puzzling questions. Why is there so much interest from above in keeping the case hush-hush? Why has protocol been breached in the handling of evidence? A strange DVD of the victim before her death adds further intrigue and could she have identified her murderer on the recording? And that's just the beginning!!

People are not always what they seem '

Books by prolific authors such as Kellerman are often hit or miss in quality- not so with "Deception"! If you are a fan of Kellerman and his characters, you won't be disappointed. Kellerman does a fantastic job of deftly handling the plot, stringing the reader along as he builds to a riveting finish.

"Deception" is well-written and fast paced as it builds to a big finish. Full of suspense, interesting characters and enough turns to keep even the most seasoned armchair investigator guessing, fans will be greeted by old, familiar friends and those who are new to Kellerman will likely be inspired to check out some of his earlier books after finishing this one. Great read, very entertaining- Kellerman delivers with "Deception".
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it. March 31 2010
By Robert Busko - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Jonathan Kellerman has developed a winner in the characters of Milo Sturgis and Alex Delaware. Each new novel promises the maximum amount of entertainment with a puzzling new case. Deception, the latest in a growing line of well written novels, promises to turn over a few well place rocks to reveal the creepy humans who hide there.

In Deception, Elise Freeman, a faculty member from prestigious Winsor Prep Academy is found murdered and a DVD is found next to her body. When played, the DVD reveals a woman who has suffered abuse at the hands of multiple abusers for more than a year. As the story unfolds, it appears that the culprits are fellow faculty members and co-workers. As the details become more warped, Detective Milo Sturgis is assigned to the case. Both he and Dr. Alex Delaware must untangle the clues to get to the truth. However, that task is complicated by the resistance of both the school and the wealthy clientele that send their Ivy League bound children there.

Deception is a hand wringer. Should the upper class be allowed to hide behind a curtain thus hiding their own sins and should those that cater to this class be allowed the same privilege? This is an interesting question, because it appears that the answer to this question is usually yes.

Kellerman does a good job in keeping the story fresh and the characters interesting. After-all, after 25 of these books, keeping things moving isn't easy.

All in all, I think you'll be glad you read Deception.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very boring May 5 2010
By W. Edwards - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Unfortunately the first Alex Delaware novel ever, that i didn't finish, and i've read every one.It is obvious the authors find it hard to sustain their books as time goes on.The story became so jumbled up towards the end with characters that i didn't know, that i gave up
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The worst by J. Kellerman I have ever read April 23 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have read most of the books in the Alex Delaware/Milo Sturgis series, and this one was probably the absolute worst in the series. Recently, every new book by Jonathan Kellerman felt like an attempt to meet the publisher's deadline with no consideration for putting out a credible, engaging story. However, Kellerman was always ultimately saved from complete and utter failure by his talent, his gift at creating alluring plot twists, and the likability of his characters. This novel, however, has none of these ingredients.

Alex and Milo in this novel seem more like sad parodies of their former selves. Milo's endearing habit of enjoying food has degenerated into this character wolfing down every scrap of nourishment he enocunters in a truly disgusting way. Alex, who always suffered from being a little stuck up, is insufferably boring in "Deception." He never offers any insights, psychological or otherwise, which made me wonder why he was included in the story at all.

The plot of the novel is very limp. After a couple of half-hearted attempts to create some semblance of twists to the annoying plotline, the author gives up and introduces the solution to the so-called mystery. Both the mystery and the solution to it prove to be mind-numbingly boring.

As a long-term fan of the series, I sincerely hope that Kellerman will manage to get himself together and stop insulting his readers with inane efforts at mystery writing that we see in "Deception."
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