Cover image for Dr. Death : a novel
Title:
Dr. Death : a novel
Author:
Kellerman, Jonathan.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Random House , 2000.
Physical Description:
352 pages ; 25 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780679459613
Format :
Book

Available:*

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X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
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X Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Mystery
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FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
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On Order

Summary

Summary

Who killed the killer? In his brilliant and startling new novel, Jonathan Kellerman, perennial bestselling author and premier proprietor of the psychological thriller, gives a sharp and timely twist to homicide's central question. Someone has murdered euthanasia champion Dr. Eldon Mate--a self-styled Dr. Death responsible for scores of assisted suicides. In a burst of bloody irony, the killer chooses to dispatch the doctor in the back of Mate's own suicide van, hooking him up to the killing apparatus dubbed "the Humanitron"--and adding some butchering touches of his own. The case is assigned to veteran LAPD homicide detective Milo Sturgis, who turns, once again, to his friend Dr. Alex Delaware. But working this case raises a conflict of interest for Alex so profound that he can't even discuss it with Milo. The tension that develops between cop and psychologist further complicates an already baffling and complex murder investigation--one whose suspects include the families of Dr. Mate's "travelers," Mate's own son, and a psychopathic killer who relishes the geometry of death. Dr. Death is a rich brew of unforgettable characters, labyrinthine plotting, page-turning prose, and the unique insights into the darkest corners of the human mind that have earned Jonathan Kellerman international accolades as the master of psychological suspense.


Author Notes

Jonathan Kellerman is one of the world's most popular authors. He has brought his expertise as a child psychologist to 16 consecutive bestselling novels of suspense, including The Butcher's Theater, Jerusalem, and Billy Straight and 32 previous Alex Delaware novels, translated into two dozen languages. He is also the author of numerous essays, short stories, and scientific articles, two children's books, and three volumes on psychology, including Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children.

(Publisher Provided) Jonathan Kellerman was born in New York City on August 9, 1949 and raised in Los Angeles. He received a B.A. in Psychology from UCLA and a Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Southern California. At the age of 22, he won the Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award for fiction.

He has served as Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Psychology at the School of Medicine at USC and as a consultant to the State of California, the U.S. Army and the Superior Court of Los Angeles. He is the founding director of the Psychosocial Program at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. The first books he published were medical texts: Psychological Aspects of Childhood Cancer (1980) and Helping the Fearful Child (1981).

His first novel, When the Bough Breaks (1985), was made into a television movie and received the Edgar Allan Poe and Anthony Boucher awards. He has also written many bestselling crime novels featuring the Alex Delaware series, children's books, and nonfiction works. His fiction book, co-authored with son Jesse Kellerman, The Golem of Hollywood, made the New York Times bestseller list in 2014. His recent books include The Murderer's Daughter, Breakdown, and The Wedding Guest.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The question of how close assisted suicide is to murder--and how close a death-dealing doctor is to a serial killer--forms the moral backbone of this intriguing thriller, the fourteenth in the Delaware series. After assisting in more than 50 suicides, Dr. Eldon Mate, loosely based upon Dr. Jack Kevorkian, is found murdered in his suicide van, hoisted on his own Humanitron killing machine. LAPD homicide detective Milo Sturgis once again seeks psychologist and friend Delaware's knowledge of behavioral psychology. Delaware's insights into the criminal mind (he posits the killer is after reflected glory here) are both compelling and convincing. (Kellerman himself is a noted psychologist.) The mystery is enhanced by the range of suspects, including the families of the suicides, Dr. Mate's son, and one of Delaware's clients, and by Delaware's own "nasty overlap" of ethical conflicts. A heady blend of criminal profiling and police procedural and another surefire hit from the best-selling Kellerman. --Connie Fletcher


Publisher's Weekly Review

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) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Kellerman has come up with another very enjoyable mystery. The crime-solving team of LAPD detective Milo Sturgis and psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware are back to attempt to solve the murder of Eldon Mate Dr. Death who had attended more than 50 assisted suicides. In death, Mate is found in the rear of a rented van, hooked up to his own suicide machine. Read by John Rubinstein, this engaging story works very well on several levels, as it discusses psychology, dysfunctional families, and Southern California lifestyles, in addition to the ethics of euthanasia. The book has a remarkably contemporary feel about as up-to-date as tomorrow's headlines, yet it may also inspire repeat listening. Highly recommended; essential for detective and mystery collections. Cliff Glaviano, Bowling Green State Univ. Libs., OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Irony can be a rich dessert, so when the contents of the van were publicized, some people gorged. The ones who'd believed Eldon H. Mate to be the Angel of Death. Those who'd considered him Mercy Personified grieved. I viewed it through a different lens, had my own worries. Mate was murdered in the very early hours of a sour-smelling, fog-laden Monday in September. No earthquakes or wars interceded by sundown, so the death merited a lead story on the evening news. Newspaper headlines in the Times and the Daily News followed on Tuesday. TV dropped the story within twenty-four hours, but recaps ran in the Wednesday papers. In total, four days of coverage, the maximum in short-attention-span L.A. unless the corpse is that of a princess or the killer can afford lawyers who yearn for Oscars. No easy solve on this one; no breaks of any kind. Milo had been doing his job long enough not to expect otherwise. He'd had an easy summer, catching a quartet of lovingly stupid homicides during July and August--one domestic violence taken to the horrible extreme and three brain-dead drunks shooting other inebriates in squalid Westside bars. Four murderers hanging around long enough to be caught. It kept his solve rate high, made it a bit--but not much--easier to be the only openly gay detective in LAPD. "Knew I was due," he said. It was the Sunday after the murder when he phoned me at the house. Mate's corpse had been cold for six days and the press had moved on. That suited Milo just fine. Like any artist, he craved solitude. He'd played his part by not giving the press anything to work with. Orders from the brass. One thing he and the brass could agree on: reporters were almost always the enemy. What the papers HAD printed was squeezed out of clip-file biographies, the inevitable ethical debates, old photos, old quotes. Beyond the fact that Mate had been hooked up to his own killing machine, only the sketchiest details had been released: Van parked on a remote section of Mulholland Drive, discovery by hikers just after dawn. DR. DEATH MURDERED. I knew more because Milo told me. The call came in at 8 P.M., just as Robin and I had finished dinner. I was out the door, holding on to the straining leash of Spike, our little French bulldog. Pooch and I both looking forward to a night walk up the glen. Spike loved the dark because pointing at scurrying sounds let him pretend he was a noble hunter. I enjoyed getting out because I worked with people all day and solitude was always welcome. Robin answered the phone, caught me in time, ended up doing dog-duty as I returned to my study. "Mate's yours?" I said, surprised because he hadn't told me sooner. Suddenly edgy because that added a whole new layer of complexity to my week. "Who else merits such blessing?" I laughed softly, feeling my shoulders humping, rings of tension around my neck. The moment I'd heard about Mate I'd worried. Deliberated for a long time, finally made a call that hadn't been returned. I'd dropped the issue because there'd been no good reason not to. It really WASN'T any of my business. Now, with Milo involved, all that had changed. I kept the worries to myself. His call had nothing to do with my problem. Coincidence--one of those nasty little overlaps. Or maybe there really are only a hundred people in the world. His reason for getting in touch was simple: the dreaded W word: whodunit. A case with enough psychopathology to make me potentially useful. Also I was his friend, one of the few people left in whom he could confide. The psychopathology part was fine with me. What bothered me was the friendship component. Things I knew but didn't tell him. COULDN'T tell him. Excerpted from Doctor Death by Jonathan Kellerman All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.