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Obsession (Alex Delaware #21)

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  6,416 ratings  ·  293 reviews
Tanya Bigelow was a solemn little girl when Dr. Alex Delaware successfully treated her obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Now, at nineteen, Tanya returns with a curious request: that Delaware investigate her aunt's deathbed confession of murder. While Delaware doubts that Patty Bigelow was capable of such a horrific act, he agrees to look into the matter. Armed with only the v ...more
Paperback, 458 pages
Published February 26th 2008 by Ballantine Books (first published 2007)
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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.
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!
Susan Poling
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.
Jennifer Wardrip
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
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 4 of 5 stars
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
B J Burton
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
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
Thom Swennes
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 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Jackie W.
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
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
Linda Harris
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
Christine F. Dargon
I found this book so boring. So much of it was spent speculating and hypothesizing oppose to really doing. there was little action, no intrigue and certainly no suspense. You didn't care about the characters or what happened because nothing was developed. Too much of Alex and Milo sitting around and talking trying to figure out the case. Very disappointed by this one and couldn't wait for it to be over and I'm a big fan usually of Kellerman especially the Delaware books
This is another series I love. I like Alex and Robin, I like Milo, and I always enjoy the psychological aspects of his investigations. The end always takes me by surprise and it is always chilling to see the evil that can lie under an ordinary surface. His books give me nightmares and I often have to put them in the freezer at night. This one was no exception.
I was quite disappointed with this book. I had high hopes for it but unfortunately it was boring. More talking than action, no interesting twists, lack of exciting pursuits. It seemed very lazy and I kept getting distracted as my thoughts were wandering to other things. I have managed to finish it but not without struggle. Far from a mysterious thriller that I was expecting.
"Obsession" by Jonathan Kellerman.

This was my first book by Jonathan Kellerman, which I listened to on CD narrated by John Rubinstein.

This story, unfortunately, hardly held my interest. I also found that his use of cursing only added not to the story but to the authors failure to be a creative writer of a mystery.

Two stars. I will try again with another Alex Delaware mystery.
Pretty nice book. Sometimes it's confusing because it uses really informal language. But this also gives it more of an edge and relatability.unfortunately it gave a lot of details involving streets, houses and others. Ilike Dr. Delaware and his techniques. This is my first of Jonathan Kellerman's book and it was a fun read. I also like the psychological side of things. The end wasn't much of a close call (it is) that involved the main character directly, which was a breath of fresh air. I was af ...more
Beth Allen
Sep 01, 2008 Beth Allen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of thrillers
Shelves: finished
Every once in a while, I need to read an uncomplicated popular thriller, and Jonathan Kellerman always delivers.

I'm actually reading two other books right now, but my name came up on the library hold list for Obsession.

It's a good book, not one of Kellerman's best. Obsession seemed to be too detailed for me; rather than keeping with the pace of a thriller, Obsession gets too detailed at times. Too many freaky characters, I think, too much detail about a person with OCD. I found that it bogged do
Another good from Jonathan Kellerman but although I liked the story I didn't care much for ther main character and Im sad to say I was routing for the baddie to do her in.
Am not happy still about the reconciliation that has happened but one of the plus side is a new sweet character that has been brought into the fold.
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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 30 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)
When the Bough Breaks (Alex Delaware, #1) Deception (Alex Delaware, #25) Victims (Alex Delaware, #27) Time Bomb (Alex Delaware, #5) Silent Partner (Alex Delaware, #4)

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