Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “When the Bough Breaks (Alex Delaware, #1)” as Want to Read:
When the Bough Breaks (Alex Delaware, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

When the Bough Breaks (Alex Delaware #1)

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  48,111 Ratings  ·  552 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
ebook, 448 pages
Published July 6th 2010 by Scribner (first published April 1st 1985)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about When the Bough Breaks, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Melissa Not completely but I would recommend it. There are a few characters who become recurring and some personal developments for both Alex and Milo that do…moreNot completely but I would recommend it. There are a few characters who become recurring and some personal developments for both Alex and Milo that do happen chronologically. I would say if you have the ability to, read them in order. (less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Brina
Mar 27, 2016 Brina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
3.75. I have become a fan of Faye Kellerman's Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus mystery series, so I decided to read her husband Jonathan's first book about Dr. Alex Delaware. Even though both series are about detectives, they are different in scope. Whereas Decker has been a cop for 20 years and looking to move up ranks, Delaware is a young, retired child psychologist who befriends a detective named Milo Sturgis and helps out on his cases. Additionally, Rina loves to get involved in Decker's cases, ...more
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
...more
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
...more
James Thane
Mar 23, 2010 James Thane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
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
...more
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
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
It's the first book in the long-running series, showing Alex Delaware just six months after his retirement, his mind scarred from trauma. Trying to get things kickstarted for his old bud, Milo (a homosexual homicide detective), enlists in the aid of the child psychologist for an especially troubling case. After following through with the favor of hypnotizing a small child, Alex finds he can't let go and continues forth with the investigation on his own.

It's a great introduction to the series, gi
...more
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
...more
Larry Bassett
Aug 10, 2012 Larry Bassett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
...more
Patrick
Jan 16, 2009 Patrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
X5-494
Oct 10, 2013 X5-494 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOIL
...more
Georgia
Jun 09, 2012 Georgia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Amanda Patterson
Dec 05, 2009 Amanda Patterson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Lisa Maddock
Oct 11, 2009 Lisa Maddock rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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...
Linda Boa
Feb 05, 2017 Linda Boa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it, and have followed the series ever since!
Robin
Jul 16, 2012 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, 2012
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
Ashley Dawn
Oct 12, 2011 Ashley Dawn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Amberly Reilly
Sep 02, 2014 Amberly Reilly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mukta Mohapatra
May 27, 2014 Mukta Mohapatra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book because I read similar authors. This is my first Kellerman/Delaware book and I wasn't aware that the Delaware series was as long as the Lucas Davenport series by Sandford.

I liked Alex as a character quite a bit. He is a young doctor who got burned out after treating some horrific molestation victims.

He is pulled back in after Milo recruits his help to solve a double homicide. Like most of the stars in this type of book, Alex gets too involved, goes rogue and tries to solve
...more
Dennis D.
Jul 08, 2009 Dennis D. rated it it was ok  ·  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
...more
Mark
Feb 12, 2011 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Shae
Aug 18, 2009 Shae rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I honestly tried to like this book. Someone recc'd it and I thought I would give the series a go. Sadly, I won't be reading the rest of the books. For the first half of the book I kept wondering what Eve Dallas (from JD Robb's In Death series) would do. Then as the book progressed, I started wishing that Eve Dallas was there because some random psychologist was breaking all sorts of laws and doing really horrible things. I actually had to take a few minutes from the book because I was so angry a ...more
Aymee
Mar 17, 2013 Aymee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Wow, was this book disturbing on so many levels. But a great mystery, well-written and action packed for sure. Alex is a bit careless,a litte reckless, but a good guy. And Milo. My gods, MILO! LOL Don't blame him one bit though. Odd side note: the dinner double-date at the end made me cry. Why? I have no idea, but it did.

Definitely going to read more of this series.
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
Alex Delaware is an amazing protagonist to follow, and Milo always cracks me up - love the guy. A highly recommended series for anyone into psychology or myteries.
Iris
May 11, 2015 Iris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
Damn Jonathan back at it again with the slow pacing.
Mieneke
The first time I read Jonathan Kellerman's When 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 us ...more
Maire
Jan 31, 2017 Maire rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is definitely a snapshot of the time period it was written in. LOTS of trigger warnings that I'd rather not post. :/ I picked this up because his blurbs always sound interesting, but I don't think I'll continue this series.
Ami
Mar 26, 2014 Ami rated it really liked it  ·  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
...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
...more
Gwen
Feb 07, 2015 Gwen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent entertainment and a wonderful introduction to the characters of Dr. Alex Delaware and his sidekick, Detective Milo Sturgis. After denying his Type-A personality for six months, enduring forced retirement due to an emotionally debilitating experience, Delaware takes the plunge into amateur crime solving. Initially nudged into the case by Sturgis, he soon takes the bit in his teeth and pursues his own answers, nearly dying as a result.

This first book in the Alex Delaware series emphasize
...more
Emily
Oct 09, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
When the Bough Breaks Watch Full FREE ON-LINE MOVIES 2016 1 1 Sep 21, 2016 09:29AM  
When the Bough Breaks Watch Full FREE ON-LINE MOVIES 2016 1 2 Sep 21, 2016 09:25AM  
What illness did Towle have? 2 30 Oct 08, 2014 02:58PM  
  • Milk and Honey (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus, #3)
  • Ashes to Ashes (Kovac and Liska, #1)
  • The Coffin Dancer (Lincoln Rhyme, #2)
  • Chosen Prey (Lucas Davenport, #12)
  • Cruel & Unusual (Kay Scarpetta, #4)
43626
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
More about Jonathan Kellerman...

Other Books in the Series

Alex Delaware (1 - 10 of 32 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)

Share This Book



“Assholes are like weeds, a bitch to get rid of and when you do another one grows back in its place.” 9 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.” 8 likes
More quotes…