Dr. Death

Jonathan Kellerman, Author
Jonathan Kellerman, Author Random House Inc $26.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-679-45961-3
Reviewed on: 12/04/2000
Release date: 12/01/2000
Compact Disc - 978-0-375-41617-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-375-41616-3
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-375-41618-7
Hardcover - 580 pages - 978-0-375-43079-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 448 pages
Mass Market Paperbound - 448 pages - 978-0-345-44880-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 473 pages - 978-0-345-50852-2
Downloadable Audio - 1 pages - 978-1-4159-5070-8
Open Ebook - 978-0-345-46369-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-4159-0046-8
Hardcover - 978-0-7531-1217-5
Open Ebook - 176 pages - 978-1-299-09774-2
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A series of well-publicized gentle deaths are the work of self-appointed angel of mercy Dr. Eldon Mate, who attends to the terminally ill in cheap hotel rooms or in the back of his van. Now Mate himself is dead, carved up and found by two joggers and their dog on a high road above Los Angeles. Like Kellerman's previous bestsellers, this title features psychologist Alex Delaware, whose self-righteous pomposity blends neatly, as it has before, into a narrative liberally dosed with psycho-angles and agreeably warped murder motives. This time out, Delaware works with cop Milo Sturgis and counsels Stacy and Eric Doss, two teenage children getting over their mother Joanne's death, which Dr. Mate seemingly helped to hasten. In his dual role, Delaware encounters a rogue FBI agent tracking a killer obsessed with Mate; Mate's disturbed son; and Richard Doss, the kids' father, who by slipping cash to a shady character in a dark bar is marked as a prime murder suspect. Joanne's illness too proves mysterious. But Kellerman isn't in top form here. Most annoyingly, the FBI guy does the bulk of the sleuthing legwork, while Delaware spends much of the book either making love or pontificating on motivations for characters all very similarly flawed. The ending is agreeably tricky, but by then great gobs of Delaware have either delighted Kellerman's faithful or else turned readers' stomachs in a way that serial deaths, gentle or otherwise, may have somehow failed to do. Kellerman's rep and the book's strong, geometric cover will send this one on to the lists. (Dec. 5)
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