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Publisher's Summary

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 psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware's job to try to unlock the terrible secret buried in Melody's memory. But as the sinister shadows in the girl's mind begin to take shape, Alex discovers that the mystery touches a shocking incident in his own past.
This connection is only the beginning, a single link in a 40-year-old conspiracy. And behind it lies an unspeakable evil that Alex Delaware must expose before it claims another innocent victim: Melody Quinn.
©2003 Jonathan Kellerman (P)2012 Random House
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Critic Reviews

"An engrossing thriller.... this knockout of an entertainment is the kind of book which establishes a career in one stroke." (New York Newsday)
"Suspenseful, neatly spun, fascinating." (Philadelphia Daily News)
"Grab yourself a copy soon." (Los Angeles Times)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Jane on 08-15-13

3 ½ 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 going on about the girl that is engaging and very interesting. It’s not just Alex going to the girl, asking questions and then leaving.

Alex talks to many people during the book, which are like mini stories, but the reader doesn’t get any good clues until the end when there is a tell-all. One bad guy is caught and reveals all the details. That was ok, but it’s not my preferred type of mystery.

In later sections of the book, my mind occasionally wandered, but not too bad.

The subject matter of raping children may bother some readers, but no details are shown.

I liked the narrator Alexander Adams. He does women nicely without sounding effeminate.

Genre: mystery with suspense

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

By Madeleine on 03-11-13

Mixed feelings.

When I started listening to this book, I was delighted that, finally, someone with an analytical eye was creating interesting and believable characters; of course, he is a psychologist, so that figures. However, the descriptions of sex scenes just left me cold. What had started out as an interesting and engrossing mystery got diverted into cheap, gratuitous soft porn that added nothing to the story and only killed off the momentum of the mystery. Too bad, as the topic of child exploitation and abuse is such a horrific ongoing problem in the world and does not need to be ignored while we are subjected to graphic descriptions of the protagonist's own sexual encounters; an uncomfortable juxtaposition under the circumstances. Despite that, I MIGHT listen to another one of his books, but probably free from the library rather than paying for it. We'll see....

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21 of 23 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By C. Shepherd on 06-09-15

A bit dated, but OK.

When the Bough Breaks is a fairly standard non-police detective story. Our hero (Alex) is a psychologist who finds himself investigating a crime when he is brought in to question a child witness. The opening hour or so of the book is great, and the developing relationship between Alex and the child is well dealt with. The book is less good when it moves into the thick of the mystery. Somehow its all just too stereotypical. The bad guys are all bad in ways which you could guess the moment they were described (rich, poor, black, white, intelligent, ignorant and arrogant characters all act exactly to type).

It’s not a bad book. It's fast paced and never dull, but its not original and even if you have not read anything else by Kellerman, you will feel you have read When the Bough Breaks before.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

By Sophie Tomms on 03-07-14

Disliked the main character from the start

I tried to keep going with this book but I disliked the main character more and more as the book continued. He is an arrogant know-it-all and I found myself rolling my eyes in disbelief at his irritating habits.
Obviously many people enjoy these books I just couldn't get past the annoying Alex Delaware.

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3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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