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Heartbreak Hotel

Cover of Heartbreak Hotel

Heartbreak Hotel

Alex Delaware Series, Book 32
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
  • Alex Delaware and LAPD detective Milo Sturgis investigate the death of Alex's most mysterious patient to date in the sensational new thriller from the master of suspense, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman.
    At nearly one hundred years old, Thalia Mars is a far cry from the patients that child psychologist Alex Delaware normally treats. But the charming, witty woman convinces Alex to meet with her in a suite at the Aventura, a luxury hotel with a checkered history.
    What Thalia wants from Alex are answers to unsettling questions—about guilt, patterns of criminal behavior, victim selection. When Alex asks the reason for her morbid fascination, Thalia promises to tell all during their next session. But when he shows up the following morning, he is met with silence: Thalia is dead in her room.
    When questions arise about how Thalia perished, Alex and homicide detective Milo Sturgis must peel back the layers of a fascinating but elusive woman's life and embark on one of the most baffling investigations either of them has ever experienced. For Thalia Mars is a victim like no other, an enigma who harbored nearly a century of secrets and whose life and death draw those around her into a vortex of violence.
    Heartbreak Hotel is classic Delaware and classic Kellerman.
    Praise for Heartbreak Hotel
    "Easy to dive into for mystery fans unfamiliar with the series, and a welcome treat for readers who have been with Officer Sturgis and Dr. Delaware since the beginning."Booklist
    Praise for Jonathan Kellerman
    "Jonathan Kellerman's psychology skills and dark imagination are a potent literary mix."—Los Angeles Times
    "Kellerman doesn't just write psychological thrillers—he owns the genre."—Detroit Free Press
    "A master of the psychological thriller."—People
  • #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
  • Alex Delaware and LAPD detective Milo Sturgis investigate the death of Alex's most mysterious patient to date in the sensational new thriller from the master of suspense, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman.
    At nearly one hundred years old, Thalia Mars is a far cry from the patients that child psychologist Alex Delaware normally treats. But the charming, witty woman convinces Alex to meet with her in a suite at the Aventura, a luxury hotel with a checkered history.
    What Thalia wants from Alex are answers to unsettling questions—about guilt, patterns of criminal behavior, victim selection. When Alex asks the reason for her morbid fascination, Thalia promises to tell all during their next session. But when he shows up the following morning, he is met with silence: Thalia is dead in her room.
    When questions arise about how Thalia perished, Alex and homicide detective Milo Sturgis must peel back the layers of a fascinating but elusive woman's life and embark on one of the most baffling investigations either of them has ever experienced. For Thalia Mars is a victim like no other, an enigma who harbored nearly a century of secrets and whose life and death draw those around her into a vortex of violence.
    Heartbreak Hotel is classic Delaware and classic Kellerman.
    Praise for Heartbreak Hotel
    "Easy to dive into for mystery fans unfamiliar with the series, and a welcome treat for readers who have been with Officer Sturgis and Dr. Delaware since the beginning."Booklist
    Praise for Jonathan Kellerman
    "Jonathan Kellerman's psychology skills and dark imagination are a potent literary mix."—Los Angeles Times
    "Kellerman doesn't just write psychological thrillers—he owns the genre."—Detroit Free Press
    "A master of the psychological thriller."—People
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    Excerpts-
    • From the book CHAPTER

      1

      I lead a double life.

      Some of my time is spent using the doctorate I earned: evaluating the mental health of injured, neglected, or traumatized children, making recommendations about parental custody, providing short-­term treatment. My own childhood was often nightmarish and I like to think I'm making a difference. I keep my fees reasonable and bills get paid.

      Then there's the other stuff, initiated by my best friend, an LAPD homicide lieutenant. Once in a while my name leaks into a news story. Mostly I keep out of public view. I doubt any of the families I see are aware of the murders I work on. They've never commented on it and I think they would if they knew.

      When my invoices finally make their way through the LAPD bureaucracy, I may get paid at an hourly rate far below my office fee. Sometimes those bills are ignored or rejected outright. If my friend finds out, he makes noise. His success clearing homicides is first-­rate. Getting me paid for my time, not so much.

      Business-­wise, the other stuff doesn't make much sense. I don't care.

      I enjoy seeing bad people pay.

      What began on a Monday morning in early June seemed to have nothing to do with either half of my life.

      Go know.

      The answering service operator was a new hire named James, with a shaky voice and a way of turning statements into questions that implied self-­esteem issues. Either he hadn't been trained in handling non-­emergency calls or he was a poor student.

      "Dr. Delaware? I've got someone on the line, a Ms. Mars?"

      "Don't know her."

      "That's her name? Mars? Like the candy bar?"

      "Is it urgent?"

      "Um . . . ​I don't know, Dr. Delaware? She does sound kind of . . . ​weak?"

      "Put her on."

      "You bet, Dr. Delaware? Have a great day?"

      A faint voice as dry as leaf dust said, "Good morning, Doctor. This is Thalia Mars."

      "What can I do for you, Ms. Mars?"

      "My guess is you don't do house calls but I'll supplement your fee if you see me at my home."

      "I'm a child psychologist."

      "Oh, I know that, Dr. Delaware. I'm well aware of the wonderful work you did at Western Pediatric Medical Center. I'm a great fan of the hospital. Ask Dr. Eagle."

      Ruben Eagle worked with Western Peds' poorest patients as head of outpatient services and was routinely ignored by hospital fundraisers because the day-­to-­day maladies of the uninsured couldn't compete for headlines with heart surgery, kidney transplants, and whiz-­

      bang cellular research.

      Had he sent this woman to me as a way of stroking one of the few donors he had? It wasn't like Ruben to politick without asking me first.

      "Dr. Eagle referred you to me?"

      "Oh, no, Doctor. I referred myself."

      "Ms. Mars, I'm not clear about what you want—­"

      "How could you be? I'd explain over the phone but that would take up too much of your valuable time. Once we get together, my check will include whatever charge you decide is appropriate for this call."

      "It's not a matter of billing, Ms. Mars. If you could give me a basic explanation about what you need—­"

      "Of course. Your work suggests you're an analytic and compassionate man and I could use both. I'm not a nut, Dr. Delaware, and you won't need to travel far. I'm at the Aventura Hotel on Sunset, a short drive from you."

      "You're visiting L.A.?"

      "I live at the Aventura. That's a bit of a tale, in itself. Would an initial retainer of, say, five thousand dollars set your mind at ease? I'd offer to wire it directly...
    About the Author-
    • Jonathan Kellerman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of forty-one crime novels, including the Alex Delaware series, The Butcher's Theater, Billy Straight, The Conspiracy Club, Twisted, True Detectives, and The Murderer's Daughter. With his wife, bestselling novelist Faye Kellerman, he co-authored Double Homicide and Capital Crimes. With his son, bestselling novelist Jesse Kellerman, he co-authored The Golem of Hollywood and The Golem of Paris. He is also the author of two children's books and numerous nonfiction works, including Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children and With Strings Attached: The Art and Beauty of Vintage Guitars. He has won the Goldwyn, Edgar, and Anthony awards and has been nominated for a Shamus Award. Jonathan and Faye Kellerman live in California, New Mexico, and New York.
    Reviews-
    • Publisher's Weekly

      December 12, 2016
      L.A. psychologist Alex Delaware specializes in “evaluating the mental health of injured, neglected, or traumatized children,” but in Edgar-winner Kellerman’s so-so 32nd series entry (after 2016’s Breakdown) he accepts the invitation of 99-year-old Thalia Mars, a retired accountant, to meet her at the Aventura, the hotel where she lives on Sunset Boulevard. The charming Thalia asks Alex to share with her “the current psychological wisdom with regard to guilt” without explaining why she’s interested in this topic. Tired, she ends their interview after a short while, but Alex agrees to visit her the following day to continue the discussion. On returning to the Aventura, he learns to his sorrow that Thalia has died, just weeks before her 100th birthday. Alex is angered when an alert paramedic finds evidence that Thalia didn’t die of natural causes. Alex and his friend on the LAPD, Milo Sturgis, look into Thalia’s past in an effort to identity the killer and the motive. The psychological insights Alex typically displays are few and barely relevant to the inquiry or its solution.

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      Random House Publishing Group
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    Alex Delaware Series, Book 32
    Jonathan Kellerman
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