Tag Archives: Alex Delaware

When the Bough Breaks – Jonathan Kellerman

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4 Stars out of 5

When I read that this was the first Alex Delaware book Jonathan Kellerman had written (or at least published), I was actually looking forward to see how Alex and Milo met and became friends.

I thoroughly failed to realize that the operative word here was “book”. Not “case”. It was the first Alex Delaware book, not the first case for Alex and Milo. Their first case is actually mentioned, or better summarzied, but the story itself is about something different.

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Not TOO different, as it turned out, but again: not their first case together.

Since this is Jonathan Kellerman’s first novel, I think, it’s understandable that those are not the characters we know from later novels. Maybe I should say not YET. They have all the characteristics from later books, but they’re not quite there, yet. As much as they react like the ones we know, they seem to be a little off.

Alex is a bit “all over the place”. Not much, but still; he’s not the calm, concentrated and mostly unshakable psychologist he will be. Sure, he’s much younger here, and recovering from a severe burn-out. The relationship with Robin is still new, the friendship with Milo is also not that “deep” yet, and Alex comes across a little Gary-Stu-ish – especially at the end. I mean, Karate training or not, putting himself in such a situation, ALONE, is not only very short-sighted and dangerous, it also borders on suicidal. I know, Milo was in Mexico and Alex couldn’t actually tell his conclusions to anybody else, but still.

Milo isn’t exactly himself, either, though I can’t tell you why. I can’t put my finger on it, but he… sounds a bit wrong.

I missed the Alex-Milo-dynamic, in general. In later books they interact on a more instinctive, non-verbal level, which is a joy to read. Here they talk more. I mean, they also talk a lot in the following books, but it’s more like… good-natured ribbing; the actual dialogue takes place between the lines, what’s said is what ISN’T said, if that makes sense. You don’t have that here, yet.

“When the Bough Breaks” has a few length, but nothing too dramatic. I’m still not too fond of Robin, but I don’t think I ever will be.

It’s a thrilling read. Not as thrilling as “Victims”, in my opinion, but with a much more satisfying end, and it really takes your breath away, when all the lose ends finally come together.

And it leaves you with one HELL of a confession.

And while I’m actually okay with it, I’m really surprised that Alex is. At least without any form of concern and/or protest. Hell, I’m surprised Milo actually DID kill that bastard. I think he wouldn’t have in later books.

Anyway.

It might not be one of Jonathan Kellerman’s most thrilling novels, but – as a friend said a few days ago – a not-so-brilliant Kellerman is – for me – still waaaay better than many other books out there.

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