cover image Breakdown: An Alex Delaware Novel

Breakdown: An Alex Delaware Novel

Jonathan Kellerman. Ballantine, $28.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-345-54140-6

In the backstory of bestseller Kellerman's unconvincing 31st novel featuring L.A. psychologist and crime-solver Alex Delaware (after 2015's Motive), psychiatrist Lou Sherman asks Alex to meet five-year-old Ovid Chase, whose mother, Zelda Chase, a TV sitcom actress, is a patient. Lou wants an assessment to evaluate the effect of Zelda's psychosis on her son. After spending time with Ovid during each of the five days Zelda lives at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Alex judges the boy to be well-adjusted. Five years later, after Lou's death, Alex's brief connection with the Chase family leads the authorities to alert him that Zelda has been arrested for trespassing and taken to a clinic for treatment. When Alex visits her, the mentally unstable Zelda can tell him nothing about Ovid, whose whereabouts and wellbeing are unknown. Alex searches for the boy with the help of his LAPD friend, Milo Sturgis, and eventually winds up investigating multiple murders. A far-fetched storyline, one-dimensional characters, and the choice to delay the mention of any crime make this one of the weaker entries in this popular series. (Feb.)