Jonathan Kellerman's Alex Delaware series is one that I haven't read in order. I pick them up at book sales though and save them for times when I need an Alex Delaware fix. I just love this character, a pediatric psychologist who solves crimes, often with his friend Det. Milo Sturgis of LAPD. Delaware is smart, caring, and at the moment of this story lonely. Sturgis is gay and takes a lot of you-know-what from other LAPD cops. In this story he has been put on suspension for a period of months and Delaware talks him into taking a case as a private eye.
For those who love Delaware's former girlfriend Robyn as I do, she does make an appearance in this book. She has been through a bad time and of course Delaware is there for her.
The case involves a former patient of Delaware's, a rich girl whose mother is agoraphobic, her father dead, new stepfather in the picture, and the effects of all those on the girl. Melissa is bright and after two years of treatment had seemed capable of going on without Delaware. He doesn't take patients now except for former patients, and now Melissa needs help for her mother. Mom had been horribly scarred years earlier when someone threw acid in her beautiful face. She hasn't left the house since. The guilty parties have served time and one is dead, but the other is out of prison now. Meanwhile, Melissa has talked her mother into getting treatment for her agoraphobia but doesn't like the way things are going.
Kellerman is a master at characterization which is what keeps me on the lookout for his books that I haven't gotten to yet. In this one I sometimes thought Melissa was a little over the top, but maybe not considering her situation. I figured out the bad guy fairly early on, but I didn't know the reasoning behind the crimes. It was a harrowing mystery.
Highly recommended reading - the whole series.
Source: book sale find