Monster

BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Jonathan Kellerman's Victims.A second-rate actor is found mutilated in a car trunk. Then a psychologist at a Los Angeles hospital for the criminally insane is murdered in a similar grisly fashion. Suddenly the incoherent ramblings of an inmate at the presumably secure institution begin to make chilling sense-they are, in fact, horrifying predictions. Yet how can a barely functional psychotic locked behind asylum walls possibly know such vivid details

Overview

BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Jonathan Kellerman's Victims.

A second-rate actor is found mutilated in a car trunk. Then a psychologist at a Los Angeles hospital for the criminally insane is murdered in a similar grisly fashion. Suddenly the incoherent ramblings of an inmate at the presumably secure institution begin to make chilling sense-they are, in fact, horrifying predictions. Yet how can a barely functional psychotic locked behind asylum walls possibly know such vivid details of crimes committed in the outside world? Drawn into a labyrinth of secrets, revenge, sex, and manipulation, Dr. Alex Delaware and Detective Milo Sturgis set out to unlock this enigma and put an end to the brutal killings-before the madman predicts their own demise. . . .

Amazon.com Review

Consulting psychologist Alex Delaware has a novel approach to crime-solving: he uses his training to unlock the secrets in the minds of the victims and jiggles the clues he finds there until the right scenario emerges. So when Alex's LAPD buddy Milo finds the hacked-up body of a woman psychologist named Claire Argent in an abandoned car trunk--the second such murder in eight months--Alex heads for her place of employment: the Starkweather State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.

One of Argent's patients at Starkweather is Ardis "Monster" Peake, imprisoned for the unbelievably brutal murders of his mother and the family she worked for, including a small child and a baby. There's at least one eerie similarity between the mutilation of their bodies and Argent's: in all the bodies, the eyes were taken or destroyed. But Peake, diagnosed as schizophrenic and psychotic, is a well-behaved vegetable due to a steady diet of Thorazine, and he hasn't left the hospital since his incarceration 15 years before. How is it, then, that Claire Argent's assistant, Heidi Ott, swears she heard Peake say, "Dr. A. Bad eyes in a box" soon after he hears only the bare fact of her death? And why does Alex find Peake so empathetic, in spite of his violent past and chillingly vacant mind? When other mutilated bodies turn up, Alex and Milo begin to suspect that the real monster is very much at large. Like Kellerman's 12 previous Alex Delaware mysteries, Monster builds to a big, teeth-clenching bang and ends with some very satisfying surprises. --Barrie Trinkle

From Publishers Weekly

In top form in his latest mystery featuring L.A. forensic psychologist Alex Delaware (who had a bit part in the author's previous novel, Billy Straight), Kellerman devises a deviously twisted, contemporary tale that draws pulsing suspense from the ageless relationship between madness and evil. Delaware teams up with his pal Milo Sturgis, of LAPD Homicide, to track the murderer of Claire Argent, a young doctor who worked at Starkweather Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Argent's badly mutilated body connects her death to the unsolved murder of a young, aspiring actor whose body had been sawed in half. Kellerman masterfully strews the trail of the investigation with crumbs, challenging his heroes (and readers) to distinguish promising clues from red herrings. Argent, who recently left a prime research job to work at Starkweather, led an extremely isolated life that had nothing in common with that of the murdered actor. The Starkweather staff is reticent and unhelpful until a young aide reveals that the doctor had been spending time with an inmate known as the Monster, a mentally deficient man who had been convicted of murdering and mutilating a young family 15 years earlier. Kellerman focuses on Delaware and Sturgis as they probe the hospital's milieu, the Monster's crime, the doctor's troubled and puzzling history and additional murders. A tense climax in the hills above L.A. brings together all the tautly woven threads as Kellerman delivers another chilling look into the dark corners of the human psyche. Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club and Mystery Guild main selections.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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