Breakdown by Jonathan Kellerman – Review

Published by Headline

Publication date – 2 February 2016

Source – review copy


Psychologist sleuth Alex Delaware has experienced more than enough of L.A.’s dark side to recognise the scent of evil…

Criminal psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware is pushed to his limit like never before in Breakdown by New York Times No.1 bestseller Jonathan Kellerman. Fans of Michael Connelly and Harlan Coben will love this sabre-sharp storytelling from the master of psychological suspense.

Dr. Alex Delaware first meets beautiful and emotionally fragile actress Zelda Chase when called upon to evaluate her five-year-old son. Years later, Alex is unexpectedly reunited with Zelda when she is involuntarily committed after a bizarre psychotic episode. But tragedy strikes and shortly after her release, Zelda is discovered dead in the grounds of a palatial L.A. estate. Having experienced more than enough of the city’s dark side to recognise the scent of evil, Alex turns to his friend, LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis, for help in finding the perpetrator.

Meanwhile, 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 received a copy of this book from the publishers via Bookbridgr and this is my honest opinion of the book.

Alex Delaware first met actress Zelda Chase 5 years ago when he was asked to evaluate her son, after she suffered what was believed to have been a psychotic episode. Years later he meets her again after she suffers another episode. This time Ovid, her son, isn’t with and Zelda is in no shape to tell Alex where he might be. Caught up in trying to help her and locate Ovid things take a dramatic turn for the worse when Zelda is discovered dead. Alex and his best friend, Lieutenant Milo Sturgis investigate the circumstances surrounding Zelda’s death and are soon drawn into a world glamour and money hide a seamier side and where long kept secrets are emerging with devastating results.

I am a huge fan of Jonathan Kellerman and having read the previous 30 novels featuring Alex Delaware I was eager to read number 31. I wasn’t disappointed. It was like meeting old friends after some time apart. I loved getting caught up in the world of Alex, Milo and Robin. I raced through the book, all the while not wanting to read it too quickly knowing I would have at least another year to wait for the next one.

As can be expected with every long standing series, there have been ups and downs in the history of Alex Delaware tales, with some outings stronger than others. I think that with the most recent the dip has turned into a peak. I personally feel that Breakdown is one of the stronger books that Jonathan Kellerman has written in recent years. It was paced just right. There aren’t many mad dashes around LA, with Alex getting himself into unnecessary danger. There is more thought that goes into his investigation, underlined all the time by his compulsion to do the right thing, this time the drive being a missing child and his poor tormented mother.

As for the mystery, I obviously don’t want to go into too much detail for fear of spoiling it. There are tragic circumstances that lead to Zelda’s death, ones that have far-reaching repercussions. There are no great reveals or Perry Mason moments. The information is laid out and the reader investigates as Alex and Milo do and the story is as much about proving the case against the murderer than it is determining who the perpetrator is.

I’ve commented in the past about the unique style of narration Jonathan Kellerman seems to have honed for Alex Delaware, making him seemingly think and speak in clipped tones, eliminating unnecessary words from his sentences. I doubt that Mr Kellerman will have read my previous reviews and altered his narrative accordingly but that style seemed less obvious in this book. Alex himself seemed more contained, more thoughtful and perhaps a little more reserved than usual. That said it did not make a jot of difference as to my enjoyment, I think it may have added to it, seeing the Alex of old.

If you haven’t read this series I would recommend it to you wholeheartedly. I am also slightly jealous that you have them all to read. I can’t wait for Alex Delaware number 32…

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Virginia King says:

    I’ve read a lot of Alex Delaware books and when he’s good he’s very very good. Thanks for this review, I’ll get onto this one. 🙂


    1. janetemson says:

      My pleasure, and thanks for stopping by the blog. Do let me know what you think of Breakdown if you read it 🙂


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