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When the Bough Breaks (Alex Delaware, #1)
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When the Bough Breaks (Alex Delaware #1)

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  41,462 ratings  ·  433 reviews
In the first Alex Delaware novel, Dr. Morton Handler practiced a strange brand of psychiatry. Among his specialties were fraud, extortion, and sexual manipulation. Handler paid for his sins when he was brutally murdered in his luxurious Pacific Palisades apartment. The police have no leads, but they do have one possible witness: seven-year-old Melody Quinn. It's psychologi ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 442 pages
Published February 21st 2008 by Headline (first published April 1st 1985)
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Dirk Grobbelaar
This wasn't the first Alex Delaware novel I'd read. I had the good fortune of being introduced to Jonathan Kellerman with Monster. And what an introduction it was.

In my experience, the Alex Delaware novels are a bit hit and miss. Some are really good. Some just aren't.
This novel, however, was a winner of the Edgar award, and being a bit of a fan I decided to start the series from scratch. All things considered, and keeping the character development of Alex Delaware in mind, that is probably the
James Thane
This is the first book in Jonathan Kellerman's long-running series featuring Alex Delaware, a child psychologist. Burned out, Alex has retired from his practice at the age of thirty-three after consulting in a particularly unsettling case involving the young victims of a serial pedophile. The children are well on the road to recovery, but Alex is in desperate need of some down time.

But then Dr. Morton Handler, a psychiatrist, is brutally murdered along with his girlfriend in the apartment that t
Bill  Kerwin

This novel—and this series--begins with child psychologist Alex Delaware enjoying a relaxed early retirement, a retirement fueled by burnout and precipitated by a shock. After weeks of interviews with a score of molested children in a particularly vicious pre-school case, Delaware returns to his office to find that their molester Stuart Hickle has killed himself--gun in mouth--on Delaware's own couch. Soon Alex's friend police detective Milo Sturgis coaxes him back for a simple consulting job, i
aPriL does feral sometimes
I love Milo Sturgis. I like Dr. Alex Delaware. Kellerman is a great genre author, and I will recommend him highly to everyone unless you are a cozy reader or hung up on propriety. Alex breaks the rules in the manner of 1970's TV private eyes who were fighting the good fight, like in 'The Rockford Files' or 'Magnum P. I.' He is a star, someone who can do anything, except walk away from criminality. He makes mistakes, but he is one of those individuals who is very smart, athletic and lucky. Despit ...more
Larry Bassett
Jonathan Kellerman began the Alex Delaware series in 1985 with the 29th book in the series scheduled for publication in early 2014. This review is being written in January 2014. I have a bookshelf of Alex Delaware books as I went on a used book buying binge after I first discovered Kellerman. I read Monster about a year ago. It has taken me a while to get back to him.

I am reading a couple of “serious” books but began casting around for a book that might be a page turner for me, something that
When I read that this was the first Alex Delaware book Jonathan Kellerman had written (or at least published), I was actually looking forward to see how Alex and Milo met and became friends.

I thoroughly failed to realize that the operative word here was “book”. Not “case”. It was the first Alex Delaware book, not the first case for Alex and Milo. Their first case is actually mentioned, or better summarzied, but the story itself is about something different.

Jane Stewart
3 stars. Slightly above average. Ok as a mystery.

The beginning was very good. I liked the way Alex investigated. Example, Alex needs to talk to a 7 year old girl who saw something. The girl’s mother is ignorant and poor and keeps the daughter on drugs to keep her quiet. Alex talks to the girl’s Doctor who prescribes the drugs. The Doctor won’t stop the drugs, he has a huge ego, he talks down to Alex. Alex befriends the girl. They go to the beach and a merry-go-round. There’s a whole mini story
The very first Alex Delaware novel. Dr Delaware must unlock the secrets of the case from a child's mind, and it interacts with his own past. This single link in a 40 year conspiracy leads Dr Delaware to uncover unspeakable evil.
This is the first Alex Delaware book published (I've read several...all out of sequence) ...and it was very good; great plot, gave me the backstories of why Alex got out of an active therapy practice, and explained more about Milo's struggle being a gay man in the police force. All of this information satisfied my need for a beginning of the series. One thing to remember is the setting is in the mid eighties; the author mentions a tape deck, a 'Vega' (I owned one of those!), and a number of othe ...more
Mar 28, 2014 Ami rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ami by: Kate (at Booklikes)
I like mystery books -- my childhood was filled with reading Agatha Christie and Famous Five. So mystery detective has always been close to my heart -- even after I found the glory of romance novels. Having said that, I admit that I don't follow a LOT of mystery books. I practically only read a couple of authors: Connelly, Crais, Deaver, Lehane ...

Jonathan Kellerman's "Alex Delaware" has always been that series that stays in my periphery. I know it's there but I am always reluctant to start read
Alex Delaware is a child psychologist, retired at the age of 34. Must be nice, huh? Except, he gets bored and finds a new zest for life after his friend Detective Milo Sturgis asks him to consult on a case. A prominent psychiatrist and his client/girlfriend have been murdered and a 7-year-old girl is the only witness. Alex’s involvement deepens when he discovers a link to a local home for orphaned and severely disabled children.
With more twists and turns than a theme park ride, Kellerman keeps
Ashley Dawn
Dr. Alex Delaware is a child psychologist who has seen enough violence and evil done to children to burn him out and break him down at the age of thirty-three. Now retired, he has plenty of money to live on while he ponders the question of what to do with his life. That is until his friend, a police detective, Milo Sturgis asks him for help on his latest case.
Alex’s interest is piqued by the case, but doesn’t plan to get overly involved, just help out. Then he met Melody Quinn, the seven-year-ol
My book group has chosen the 7th book in this series for our next selection. So, of course, I had to start with book one. We'll see if I manage to make it to our actual chosen book. But, if the ones to follow are anything like this one, I shouldn't have any problem. I really enjoyed this one! It was gripping, with a strong, well-woven mystery that made me think, and some great characters. Alex Delaware is an interesting protagonist-- a genuinely good guy, very intelligent, but he has his flaws. ...more
Patricia Kurz
I know this is an oldie, and we cannot judge it by Kellerman's recent work, but really, it was a little too preposterous. ICK ALERT: There are scenes that describe graphic child sexual abuse here. There are words/phrases that would be unspeakable in today's sensitive times. But we cannot slight JK for that -- that was then and this is now.

No, my complaints are about the way the story unfolds. First there is some detective work that combines Milo & Alex, then Milo disappears and Alex is a psy
it was a thrillin' thriller. Remember having read this book many years ago, but when I started again, there was not even a vestige of memory. Thoroughly enjoyed the initial 3/4 of the book, last 50 pages were not that good, as is usual in my case whenever I read a mystery/thriller. The tension builds up, builds up and then goes flat. This is the first of the Alex Delaware series. Alex is a 32 year old jaded child psychologist who is in a deep funk and has retired to enjoy a life of solitude, whe ...more
In Jonathan Kellerman's stellar Alex Delaware mystery series debut, When the Bough Breaks, we were introduced to Alex Delaware, a burned out psychologist. For his first case as a police consultant, it became the toughest one of them yet. When Dr. Morton Handler was killed in his own home, Alex learned what kind of psychologist he was--the devious and sick kind--when he paid for his sins. With no leads, they had one potential witness, a seven-year-old girl named Melody Quinn. It was up for Alex t ...more
I've been a long-time fan of Jonathan Kellerman ever since I received "Conspiracy Club" from my grandfather-in-law.

The Alex Delaware series was written several years before that, though, and some of the lapses in writing and plausibility are readily apparent compared to Kellerman's later works. However, Kellerman's work in the field as a psychologist really shine through in the Alex Delaware novels, so he truly does play well to his strengths and the old writer adage of "write what you know."

I f
Dennis D.
Jul 08, 2009 Dennis D. rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: only those completists who want to go back to where the saga all began
This is the first book in the Alex Delaware series. I went back to the beginning here, after having received and read a couple of the later books. (If you've read some of my other reviews, you'll notice that this is a trend with me).

Jonathan Kellerman must have taken a couple of classes at the Kathy Reichs School of Unbelievable Coincidences before coming up with a couple of the plot twists in this one. And the child abuse ring is kind of a tired trope. But overall, this one wasn't awful. It jus
This book started off well, but it lagged in the last third. One reason for the lag, I think, is because the sidekick, Milo, disappeared for a long time to follow his own lead, and when he returned, it was only mentioned in passing. Another reason for the lag was the reliance on expository dialogue by the author; a lot of it. The book was also dated by its mid-80's cliches.

The strongest part of the book was the relationship between Alex and Milo, and since I've told this becomes more integral in
There are so many long-running mystery/thriller series out there that honestly, I wasn't expecting much. I was pleasantly surprised by this book and the main character. I enjoyed Alex Delaware and am actually interested in what happens to him and to see where his stories will take me. I also found the character of Milo to be quite intriguing and I am glad he will be coming back in the series.

The story was pretty suspenseful and I liked the twists and turns it took. On to finding the second book
Aug 27, 2014 Sheila rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: eveyone
Recommended to Sheila by: myself
I have always enjoyed Alexs Delaware series so far the ones I have read. Kellerman writes stories with murder, full of suspense and thriller. I have not read the series in order but I am going to continue reading them as I have so many of his books. At times it is a bit gruesome with all the kills however, it is a page turner.
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. I enjoyed the story but there were too many parts where it devolved into expository dialogue, and the author used the 'fallacy of the talking killer' like three times. I also skipped over pretty much anything with the romantic side plot -- it just wasn't interesting and didn't add anything to the book. My mom highly recommended the series so I'm looking forward to reading more, I'm just hoping the writing improves a bit.
Lisa Vegan
I really enjoy this mystery series. Both the author and the main protagonist are child psychologists, and so the books have many characters that are children, and I love reading books about kids. This is the first book in the Alex Delaware series. As with most mystery series, because of the growth & development & life changes of the recurring main characters, they should be read in order for the most enjoyment.
Amanda Patterson
Alex Delaware was brilliant in the beginning. A child psychologist who went where no crime 'detective' had been before.
Melody Quinn is a seven-year-old witness to crimes committed by a psychiatrist who has manipulated and extorted his patients for years.
Jonathan Kellerman had a beautiful beginning with Alex.
Amberly Reilly
This was the first book I've read from this particular author. I enjoy crime thrillers and so I truly thought I would love this series. It was tough to tackle the topics that this first book dredged up. Maybe that's why it made such a "stamp" on my mind reading 'first book outta the gate and this author is willing to push the limits and cover the tough stuff'. Tough stuff indeed. Actually it's more what everyone wants to hush up as quickly as possible. Pedophiles and the lengths they will go to ...more
Lisa Maddock
I've read everything Kellerman wrote. If you like mysteries and the added element of a character that continues throughout, you'll love these - I really enjoyed them! I think there is a new one out now...
First book in the series Alex Delaware. A psychologist and his girlfriend are brutally murdered and a seven year old child is the only one who has seen some men enter the appartment of the victims. However she appears to be traumatized. Alex Delaware, a wealthy psychologist who is bored with his early retirement, is dragged in the case by a police inspector with whom he has worked before. As the author is a psychologist himself, specialized in child'ren's issues, the story is very credible. Very ...more
This book helped me better understand why white dudes are fighting so hard to keep everyone else from gaining any power. They had it SO GOOD. Every single "other" wasn't just assumed to be less than, they actually were! Every single way in which you differed from the straight white guy was a way in which you were inferior, and everyone acknowledged it! They lived like kings!

(I read it because the mystery was well-paced and -plotted, but it sure pissed me off. What a bunch of fuckfaces we've been
The first time I read Jonathan Kellerman'sWhen the Bough Breaks I was probably around fifteen and the last time somewhere around twenty-five. In between I'd reread the series – up to the point it was published at time of reread – several times, but from then till now it has been about a decade. So all in all the timing of this reread seems to be serendipitous to say the least, as I'm now thirty-five. As it's a reread I'll be focusing on the experience of rereading the book in addition to the usu ...more
I've gotten rather spoiled to reading YA novels. There's a huge advantage over actual adult novels. There tends to be less gratuitous cursing (and for me to say that, with my sailor mouth, that's saying something), less awkwardly worded sex scenes ("her mound" should never be uttered where I have to hear it). More emotions, less BS.

But still, I occasionally enjoy a good adult novel. And apparently, I need to read everything Jonathan Kellerman has ever written.

Excellent book. Truly excellent. Al
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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 31 books)
  • 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)
  • The Clinic (Alex Delaware, #11)
Deception (Alex Delaware, #25) Victims (Alex Delaware, #27) Time Bomb (Alex Delaware, #5) Silent Partner (Alex Delaware, #4) Dr. Death (Alex Delaware #14)

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“Assholes are like weeds, a bitch to get rid of and when you do another one grows back in its place.” 7 likes
“There were nights when I left the sessions physically and emotionally drained after hearing the anguish pour out like blood from a gaping wound. Don’t let anyone ever tell you different – psychotherapy is one of the most taxing endeavors known to mankind; I’ve done all sorts of work, from picking carrots in the scorching sun to sitting on national committees in paneled board rooms, and there’s nothing that compares to confronting human misery hour after hour and bearing the responsibility for easing that misery using only one’s mind and mouth. At its best it’s tremendously uplifting as you watch the patient open up, breathe, let go of the pain. At its worst is like surfing in a cesspool struggling for balance while being slapped with wave after putrid wave.” 7 likes
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