Self-Defense - Jonathan Kellerman
Returning in top form, Kellerman's semi-retired psychotherapist, Dr. Alex Delaware, who was introduced in When the Bough Breaks (1985), traces a young woman's dreams back to crimes committed 20 years earlier. A few months after serving on an L.A. jury that finds a landscape laborer guilty of a series of grotesque mutilations and killings, Lucy Lowell is beset by a recurring nightmare in which she, as a youngster, watches three men bury a young woman in the woods. Referred to Alex by Milo Sturgis, the LAPD detective in charge of the serial killer case, Lucy proves a game and eager patient, leading the psychologist into a past that centers around her father, a monumentally egotistical literary lion who had sponsored the writing career of a notorious ex-con at a California art colony in the '70s. Still warmhearted and earnest, Alex, in his ninth appearance, has lightened up some as he has aged, showing a readier humor and more chutzpah (e.g., posing as a writer-named Sandy Del Ware-to infiltrate closed Hollywood circles) as he facilitates Lucy's exploration of the past. With its nicely orchestrated twists, Kellerman's plot will keep readers guessing right up to the well-prepared resolution. BOMC selection.