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Survival of the Fittest: An Alex Delaware Novel by [Kellerman, Jonathan]
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Survival of the Fittest: An Alex Delaware Novel Kindle Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Length: 544 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Legendary L.A. psychologist-turned-novelist Kellerman raids real life when inventing the adventures of his psychologist sleuth, Dr. Alex Delaware, and some of the scariest parts of Survival of the Fittest are historical. Eugenicists lurk behind a murder spree Alex must solve, and he notes that the eugenics movement involved one elite U.S. college professor who advocated castration of ethnically lesser men, a forced sterilization ordered by Supreme Court Justice Holmes that Hitler used as a precedent to sterilize millions, and the pre-Holocaust coinage of the phrase "final solution."

Besides a truly horrifying theme, Survival of the Fittest boasts sharp but not arch dialogue; savvy psychological insights into stressed-out cops, suicides' loved ones, and malevolent therapists; and a sense of place so vivid that the Los Angeles Times has rated Kellerman the most evocative L.A. author since Raymond Chandler.

The plot's as twisty as a canyon road, and it's great fun to ride along with Dr. Alex and his sidekick, the burly, gay LAPD detective Milo Sturgis, as they dodge large red herrings and strive to find out why mildly handicapped kids are suffering "gentle strangulation" by killers who sign their handiwork with the mysterious letters DVLL, and what the devil this has to do with the high-IQ group Meta. Bonus for Kellerman fans: his Israeli serial killer catcher, Daniel Sharavi, star of his 1988 bestseller The Butcher's Theater, joins the sleuth team. But in the gory finale, Dr. Alex faces absolute evil all alone. --Tim Appelo

From Library Journal

Readers will find this latest installment in the Alex Delaware series (e.g., The Clinic, LJ 10/15/96) entertaining despite the author's tendency to overdescribe settings at the expense of character development. The psychologist again helps his friend, detective Milo Sturgis, solve a cold case: a deaf and mildly retarded Israeli girl, the daughter of a diplomat, is strangled in a park, and the letters "D-V-L-L" are found on a scrap of paper in her pocket. Authorities have failed to come up with a suspect or any leads, so the victim's father brings in a detective of his own, the great Daniel Sharavi, from Kellerman's The Butcher's Theater (Bantam, 1988). Over 200 pages later, Delaware finally goes undercover to infiltrate a sinister MENSA-like organization, and the ends of this plot, filled with psychopathic cops and pseudo-scientific racists, are (too neatly) tied up. Despite the book's flaws, Kellerman fans and readers seeking an intelligent thriller should enjoy this. Recommended for all public libraries.?Laurel A. Wilson, Alexandrian P.L, Mount Vernon, Ind.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3551 KB
  • Print Length: 544 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0345539036
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (April 1 2003)
  • Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FBFN88
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #66,031 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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By BeatleBangs1964 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Feb. 14 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The story literally opens with a bang. A police officer commits suicide for no apparent reason, leaving a devastated sister as a survivor.
A serial killer has been shooting persons with mental and physical challenges. None of the victims knew each other, yet they do have that common thread linking them.
The first victim, a girl with physical AND mental challenges is the daughter of a diplomat. Since none of the killings reveal sexual assault or struggle, the question remains as to who did it and why? The diplomat denies there was any political motive as his daughter had no concept of politics or his position.
Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis are called in to solve this case. Dani Sharavi, of "Butcher's Theater" fame makes a guest appearance in this book. In order to crack the murder case and related mysteries, Sharavi helps Delaware travel undercover. Assuming a fake name and identity, Delaware is installed in an apartment Sharavi set up for him.
In his new undercover identity, Delaware discovers a Nazi propaganda bookstore, a woman with a twisted mind and an equally twisted agenda, more murders and a final confrontation.
Although I felt the conclusion was a tad disappointing, it still nevertheless showed the complexities of human nature. Nothing is ever so cut and dried and satisfactory in real life.
I think this is a first rate thriller.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the second Jonathan Kellerman book I've read. And I like it, but I don't love it; nothing to write home about. I do like how the two disparate cases presented at the beginning of the book dovetail into a coherent single case towards the end. I like how a perceived threat to the investigation (Sharavi) turns out to be a key player in Alex Delaware's survival.
It all starts with one clever cop who likes to kill. He knows a preference for murder isn't exactly your everyday motivation to kill, so he forms a smarter-than-the-rest-of-them group that buys into the whole concept of eugenics (racial cleansing). With that murders happen one after the other.
In the end, there's an undercover assignment involving Alex, a last minute delay tactic which involves explaining the sequence of events and motives for those murders and a heroic save by employs of the Israeli consulate.
F - 2 (crotch grabbing, murder in the nude)
L - 4 (good dialogue, succinct descriptions of the environment)
A - 2 (lot of time spent driving around, interviewing people)
P - 3 (explained above)
* For a detailed explanation of what my rating system means, please visit my About You area and look up the review I wrote for The Bourne Supremacy by Robert Ludlum.
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By A Customer on April 26 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have to admit I have a soft spot for the Alex Delaware series, in fact, it is the only detective-book series I have followed in its entirety. This isn't really because it is great in its entirety: in fact the series includes great books (When the Bough Breaks, Over the Edge, Silent Partner, Blood Test), so-so books (The Clinic, The Web, Bad Love) and definitely horrible books (Time Bomb, Self Defense, Private Eyes). I know Kellerman isn't such a great writer (his tendency to string sentences without verbs is most irritating, among other things), but I confess I rather like Alex, Milo, Robin, and dog Spike. So I doggedly keep up with the series. This one enters definitely in the so-so category. The plot starts out interestingly but it is as if Kellerman didn't know very well how to get its act together. A whole-hog investigation of a certain organization is started, without any real link between the organization and the murders. After a lot of work (including undercover work), not a wisp of real, admissible-in-court evidence is found, so the author takes the easy way out to finish the story. It is readable but you have to allow your suspension of disbelief and critical spirit to take a hike. I probably rate it higher than it deserves because, as I said, I like this series, and because of the chapter on eugenics, which was very educational.
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Format: Hardcover
I thought that, Survival of the Fittest was great, I read the other reviews that was for it and was a little mad. I think that Alex and Milo are great and I love all of the Alex Delaware books. The people that said that it made no sense or it was boring just were not paying attention. It was my second best book, my first being When the bough breaks. For those people that said it made no sense, here I'll tell you a little about it. When Alex is asked by Milo to help with a case, a diplomate's daughter murdered on a school trip, Alex does, although that Milo admits that the case is cold. A few days later, another girl is murdered with the same method as the diplomate's daughter, using strangulation, in a certain position. The only things connecting the case are that the girls were both slightly retarted, and later both had a piece of paper that says DVLL, on it. Alex and Milo are reluctently working in Isrealite dectective, Daniel Sharvi. They are trying to find the killers before it's too late.
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Format: Hardcover
I am frankly puzzled by the reviewers here who have complained of a "lack of character development." I found all the central characters, including Sharavi, extremely compelling and realistically drawn. The use of an Israeli character is well-blended with the story, and raises the question of "diplomatic immunity" in how anger is handled, but not done in a heavy-handed way... just touched upon lightly enough to cause the reader to think the issue through. Kellerman has a great gift for revealing slices of the "underbelly" of so-called civilized people, and his gang of smart eugenicists here make for a superb, gripping group-villain. One really fascinating aspect: the point of view shifts from Alex to an unknown "observer," whose identity is eventually revealed and incorporated into the narrative. This is the first time I've seen Kellerman use this device, and it works exceedingly well, adding another layer to the reader's suspense. The crimes are original, the motivation arcane but believable, and the characters very human and interesting. All in all, exactly the type of satisfying mystery I've come to expect from this writer. A marvelous read.
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