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Obsession (Alex Delaware #21)

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,634 Ratings  ·  337 Reviews
With scores of millions of books in print, translation into two dozen languages, and one of the most popular heroes in contemporary fiction to his name, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman is the unequivocal “master of the psychological thriller” (People). In his newest novel Kellerman delivers a tour de force–poignant, dark, and chilling–that illuminat ...more
Hardcover, 347 pages
Published March 27th 2007 by Ballantine Books (first published 2007)
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The Bell Jar by Sylvia PlathGirl, Interrupted by Susanna KaysenThe Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories by Charlotte Perkins GilmanProzac Nation by Elizabeth WurtzelThe Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
Women and Mental Illness
225th out of 614 books — 1,505 voters
Stuff by Randy O. FrostBorn to Be Perfect by Barbara RaghavanHomer & Langley by E.L. DoctorowObsession by Jonathan KellermanCompulsion by Jonathan Kellerman
Obsessive. Compulsive. Order and Disorder
3rd out of 24 books — 16 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mar 14, 2008 Amy rated it it was amazing
I hate myself for loving Jonathan Kellerman. He's the literary equvalent of potato chips: addictive, tasty, and with no nutritional value. This is a good exemplar of his work.
Feb 18, 2010 Betsy rated it did not like it
I honestly couldn't even finish this book. As a psychology student who likes mystery, I thought this was a sure thing. Unfortunately that wasn't the case. I felt the writing was sub-par, and as a result, I didn't feel very attached to the characters. I haven't completely lost hope. Maybe I'll try a different one of Kellerman's books because it seems like he has fans out there!
Jennifer Wardrip
Nov 03, 2014 Jennifer Wardrip rated it it was amazing
As a long time fan of both Jonathan Kellerman and Alex Delaware, OBSESSION does not disappoint. As I was immersed once again into another case of past meeting present, I was reminded of how much I love these characters!

When Dr. Delaware is contacted by a former patient after her mother dies, a very strange story unfolds. The girl's mother was a "saint," a nurse who kept the E.R. running smoothly with her tenacity and talents. The fact that she died after a brief illness, and after confessing to
Boundless Book Reviews
Action packed non-stop suspense! I absolutely loved this psychological thriller! The story line is imaginative; I felt compassion for Tanya immediately, loved Dr. Delaware, and either found most of the other characters amusing, downright weird, or instantly hated them. The perfect book! The narration by Rubinstein was done excellently as well, an all-around great listen! I would like to add; both my husband and I loved Obsession, so this is a good one for your next road trip too. Definitely a 5 ...more
Nov 30, 2007 Lain rated it liked it
Jonathan Kellerman has set the bar for psychological thrillers, and he's set it high. Unfortunately, Obsession, the latest in the Alex Delaware series, falls short of his previous achievements.

While the usual elements are there -- a previous client needs help, and Delaware and his detective pal Milo Sturgis jump to the rescue -- things feel a bit stale. Everything is just a bit tepid. Their reason for becoming involved in the mystery (a dying request from Sturgis' lover's co-worker) is tenuous
Apr 04, 2009 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Thriller fans.
Part of the Alex Delaware series, this volume is somewhere in the middle in terms of quality and readability.

With his trusty side-kick, Milo Sturgis, a gay LA PD detective, Alex takes on the search for the meaning of a deathbed confession by Patty Bigelow, an ER nurse who has died, unexpectedly, from aggressive pancreatic cancer.

The connection to Delaware is that he had treated her adopted daughter, Tanya for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), a condition Patty also suffered from.

As the story
Oct 14, 2008 Julie rated it liked it
Meh. Two-and-a-half stars, probably.

It's okay, but only because Kellerman is an accomplished author, and knows how to tell a tale, but his characters are all seeming, well, stale. Nothing is new here. I didn't really guess "who dunnit" but I also didn't care a lot. His villian in this one is just plain gross (which is typical Kellerman) and could have been plucked whole from any other Kellerman novel. The woman that Milo and Alex set out to help is supposed to be this very smart, ultra-mature 20
Apr 17, 2016 Iris rated it liked it
"Adulthood's kind of a foolish concept, isn't it? People grow up in all kinds of different ways."

This book could have been so much more. Interesting plot with a very bad execution. Sad.
Susan Poling
Apr 10, 2008 Susan Poling rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries
I really didn't like this book very much. It moved slowly and had more characters than I could manage. I continue to love Alex Delaware and like following his relationships with Robin and his friend Sturgis. This book introduces a new puppy in their household. A french bulldog named Blanche.
B J Burton
Dec 02, 2013 B J Burton rated it it was ok
I’ve often seen a row of Kellerman’s books on the library shelves. That is usually a sign of an author who is both prolific and popular, but I hadn’t read any of his books until now. According to the blurb and the quoted extracts from reviews he is a highly-rated writer of psychological thrillers with complex plots.
Maybe I made an unlucky choice with ‘Obsession’, but I was very disappointed. I wasn’t surprised to find the usual problems of coping with American English, of course. It’s simply a f
Feb 22, 2015 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book started out as a general run of the mill mystery. The author seemed to have a formula for writing that obviously the publishers like but which read to me like a screen play. Start the scene with an exact time and place, give a rundown of what clothes the characters are wearing right down to their socks, have a conversation such as "this person asks this question, this person responds". I found it almost comical how predictable the pattern became. I would even venture to guess the publi ...more
Thom Swennes
Apr 10, 2014 Thom Swennes rated it liked it
Patty and Lydia Bigelow were sisters with an uncommonly tragical youth. Ignored by an intoxicated mother and sexually abused by an alcoholic father, the two sisters grew up and went their separate ways. Lydia had a wild personality with marked nymphomaniac tendencies, while her older sister Patty displayed androgynous and hermaphrodite tendencies. Lydia’s only child, Tanya was abandoned by her mother and eventually adopted by her aunt Patty. This little girl was the one good thing to occur in th ...more
Dan Quigley
Oct 17, 2014 Dan Quigley rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: People who read the first 20 in the series.
This is my first Kellerman novel and perhaps my last. I can see how Kellerman can be successful. He has appealing characters, offers good psychological insights on their motivations, and is good at plotting.

This book started out in an extremely promising manner. I loved the way Kellerman introduced the character Tanya Bigelow into the story. She is a girl who was abandoned by her mother and raised by her aunt. She had issues as she was growing up and thus became Dr. Delaware's patient. Dr. Dela
Apr 23, 2013 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-suspense
Number 21 in the Alex Delaware series, Obsession was more than competent. It’s so gratifying to have intelligent, interesting, dependable, familiar characters to meet when the mood strikes.

If the plot was a bit convoluted and the surprise ending rather far-fetched, this installment is still a good read that delivers the signature Jonathan Kellerman bonus: a close look at a common mental disorder.
Feb 10, 2015 Gabe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As usual from this author, we'll find a murder investigation case tangled with some psychoanalysis of a character that is in fact initiating this investigation.

- interesting plot, evolving, captivating and engaging will keep you on the edge
- characters are funny and with some twists and turns in their own agendas
- humor is often present, so it is quite entertaining
- writing style is very skillful
- some interesting flashbacks of some therapy sessions with one of the characters and interesting
Jackie W.
May 26, 2011 Jackie W. rated it liked it
Shelves: summer
I love Jonathan Kellerman...maybe I should say I love Alex Delaware. Who isn't real, but I love all the same.

I always wished for an Alex Delaware movie...Michael Vartan would be perfect.

I read this on the wasn't as nail biting as some of his have been...but I liked it. It kept me going. The last 100 pages of his books are so fun...just can't stop. :)

Beth Gibson
May 10, 2014 Beth Gibson rated it liked it
This is one of a series featuring Dr. Alex Delaware and his cop friend Milo Sturgis. Alex is asked to help out an old friend. He treated her and her mother some years back. Now on her death bed, Patty warns her daughter about something bad that happened, but she dies before she can be specific about it. Tanya wants Alex to see if he can find out what it was. Was she involved in a murder? Alex has to plow back through the years of their lives and all of the different places they used to live. The ...more
Apr 20, 2015 Nd rated it really liked it
After three months of classwork, it was great to finally be able to read again. I knew I'd neglect my studies for pleasure reading if I started anything before they were done.

At this year's A-CC Library spring book sale, I realized I hadn't read any Jonathan Kellerman in quite a while, so checked his next one on my chronologic list. For the above reasons, I especially enjoyed Obsession. Although his protagonist always seems altruistic in treating his young patients, somewhere in mid-sequence, th
Linda Harris
Nov 02, 2014 Linda Harris rated it really liked it
Not crazy about this one. Boring people chasing their tail trying to figure out even if a crime has been committed. For me it was over before it began!
3.5 I guess I haven't read one of his since about when this came out, when I switched over to his wife's somewhat grittier work. Though it's certainly had its highs and lows, the series is generally quite good, dealing primarily in one form or another with child psychology. This is one of the better from both that and general procedural perspective, due in large part from it being almost entirely dialog driven. Some of the speculation can get confusing if not following closely, and the degree of ...more


As a long time fan of both Jonathan Kellerman and Alex Delaware, OBSESSION does not disappoint. As I was immersed once again into another case of past meeting present, I was reminded of how much I love these characters!

When Dr. Delaware is contacted by a former patient after her mother dies, a very str
Dec 07, 2007 Jen rated it really liked it
In this installment of Kellerman's Alex Delaware series, a former patient of Alex's, Tanya, returns after her mother has died of cancer and revealed a partial secret. Tanya recruits Alex and Milo's help to uncover the whole secret. This quest leads them into a maze of murder, pornography and drugs. Petra Conner returns for this novel as well.

This is one of my favorite Kellerman novels. I wasn't able to accurately predict the ending, and there seemed to be a little less theorizing and more "dete
Feb 04, 2013 Angela~twistedmind~ rated it liked it
I'd rate this closer to a 4 star read than a 3, but it's just lacking that extra little something needed. Kellerman isn't a favorite author, but he is one I really enjoy when I'm taking a break from my usual go to favs. I've read a few of the Alex Deleware novels and have always found them to be interesting enough to warrant picking up another one should I stumble upon it.
I always like a little humor in my thrillers and Kellerman delivers in that department. I chuckled a time or three while los
"Obsession" by Jonathan Kellerman is the 21t installment in the Alex Delaware series. Tanya Bigelow, in old patient of Delaware's, approaches him to investigate her mother's deathbed confession, telling her that she'd killed a man. Delaware, along with Milo and Petra begin their investigation to determine whether a crime was actually committed; along the way, in typical Kellerman fashion, the bodies add up and the story takes on various twists.

I started this book immediately after finishing The
Jun 11, 2010 Andy rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
My first Kellerman book. Not great, but good enough that I want to read more. I know authors try to create "every-man" protaganists who readers like and can identify with, but sometimes it's taken to such an extreme that the supposed hero comes off as pretty bland. That was my take on Alex Delaware. He just kind of takes things in and is so decent that he really doesn't have much of a personality. Contrast that to Lucas Davenport in John Sandford's books. Or for that matter, Kay Scarpetta in Pat ...more
Nancy Zorn
Aug 26, 2013 Nancy Zorn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
For me, Jonathan Kellerman is like literary fast food. You want something quick and easy to break up the serious reading? Jonathan Kellerman is your man. His Alex Delaware novels are formulaic. No big surprises. The bad guy is pretty obvious from the get-go, and it's just a matter of the characters putting the puzzle together. Not bad, but not a book I want to hang on to.

One pet peeve.... I'm reading and am stopped dead in my tracks by the following sentence on page 218: "At ten after Milo phon
Esther Taylor
Mar 17, 2014 Esther Taylor rated it liked it
Sometimes all you want to read is a cracking piece of pulp fiction. Now, I'm not suggesting that Mr Kellerman isn't an adept writer, on the contrary, he's a master of the psychological crime/thriller genre. In saying that, this book felt very much like bog standard fare. Nothing overtly surprising; no particularly shocking twists in the tale. It was less the cunning wolf than the obedient dog; it went pretty much exactly where you expected it to go.
Mar 05, 2012 Dlora rated it liked it
I actually like the books of Jonathan Kellerman's wife a bit more than his. While they both write detective stories, Mr. Kellerman's writing is more cerebral and lacks the greater warmth and family relationships of his wife's stories. However, I enjoy the psychological insights of the main character Dr. Delaware and the creative scenarios that he and detective Milo Sturgis bat off each other when trying to account for all the clues and possibilities and come up with a plan of action. In this nov ...more
Jun 02, 2015 Ed rated it really liked it
#21 in the Alex Delaware series.

Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis look into the past of Patty Bigelow, a nurse who has just died of cancer. She told her daughter, a former patient of Alex's, that she had killed someone. Tracing Patty's past through a series of moves brings them into contact with fringe players in the music and porn industries and more murders. Petra Connor, Hollywood homicide detective, helps in the search.
Mar 26, 2008 Melissa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I am always looking for a good Kellerman book. He rarely disappoints and though Robin hasn't shown up in this book yet, I am so glad that they are back together.

This book is about a young woman (20 or so) who's mother just died and confessed to hurting someone on her deathbed. The interesting thing is that the young woman was a patient of Dr. Delaware's when she was younger as we read and work through the mystery of the confession, we also have flashbacks and memories of the previous therapy ses
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Jonathan Kellerman was born in New York City in 1949 and grew up in Los Angeles. He helped work his way through UCLA as an editorial cartoonist, columnist, editor and freelance musician. As a senior, at the age of 22, he won a Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award for fiction.

Like his fictional protagonist, Alex Delaware, Jonathan received at Ph.D. in psychology at the age of 24, with a specialty in the t
More about Jonathan Kellerman...

Other Books in the Series

Alex Delaware (1 - 10 of 32 books)
  • When the Bough Breaks (Alex Delaware, #1)
  • Blood Test (Alex Delaware, #2)
  • Over the Edge (Alex Delaware, #3)
  • Silent Partner (Alex Delaware, #4)
  • Time Bomb (Alex Delaware, #5)
  • Private Eyes (Alex Delaware, #6)
  • Devil's Waltz (Alex Delaware, #7)
  • Bad Love (Alex Delaware, #8)
  • Self-Defense (Alex Delaware, #9)
  • The Web (Alex Delaware, #10)

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