Dr. Alex Delaware's world is jolted by a surprise telephone call from a former client. Jamey Cadmus, 17, was part of a pilot project of highly gifted adolescents 5 years earlier and Dr. Delaware was a consultant for that project.
Jamey, disoriented and confused, calls Delaware from a private hospital in the California Canyons. He is kidnapped from his room and it falls to Dr. Delaware to investigate the hospital and Jamey's tangled family tree.
Set in 1987, Dr. Delaware makes numerous references to the university project that accepted Jamey in 1982, when the boy was nearly 13. He uncovers a questionable family history, a web of murders and corrupt developers in the canyons. Jamey, by now found and incarcerated in the County Jail, tries to, in his own incoherent fashion tell Dr. Delaware what he knows about the series of cases.
Robin has a more prominent place in this story. Although I never cared for her, the one thing that annoyed me in this book was one scene where Delaware greeted her, "shushing her with a kiss." To me, the "shushing her with a kiss" was simply a way of shutting her up. That act sounded as if he had no use for her opinions or anything she ever said and smacked of chauvanism. Delaware was plainly far more cerebral than Robin ever was and I felt that single act was to underscore his mental superiority to her, not unlike Jamey's mental superiority prior to his breakdowns. The theme of glass houses is revisited throughout this story.
This is truly an outstanding work. Readers are taken on some very painful, bumpy roads through the seamy, seedy parts of Southern California and encounter some equally seamy, seedy characters. Bikers, corrupt developers, questionable family ties, persons not involved with the cases -- each appears to be a likely suspect. The conclusion is powerful and very satisfying; it makes sense, yet stays several steps ahead of the readers. Each character is richly drawn and believable; each new layer of mysteries interlock believably. Jon Kellerman is truly the Michaelangelo of the Mystery genre.