The Top Five Alex Delaware Novels To Get You Hooked On This Daring Psychiatrist/ Detective Duo

It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve become a fan of John Kellerman’s writing, but now I am I’m hooked.

He’s a prolific writer who’s created books across a number of different genres, but my favourites are definitely his Alex Delaware/ Milo Sturgis novels.

This seemingly unlikely detective duo make for a great team. Kellerman breaks the mould with these two; unlike traditional detective double acts, the narrator and assistant is the cerebral one, while the Lieutenant and clear leader is the bullish everyman.

Together, the pair combine their skills to solve some of LA’s most brutal and disturbing crimes. While the novels are set in LA, Kellerman is quick to make witty retorts against the modern bullshit he sees around him and to turn potentially dreary lines of questioning into rapid, witty dialogue.

Personally, I hadn’t heard of the Alex Delaware novels until a couple of years ago. Since then, I’ve enjoyed several of the Alex Delaware series, although I’ve not yet read them all. I was surprised, when I started buying more of them, how many books are actually in the series.

If you want to know where to start, then check out my pick of five books in the series that are great for anyone who wants to test the waters and find a new favourite series to binge on.

5. Blood Test: In this gripping thriller, Alex Delaware is called in to negotiate when the parents of a young boy with cancer refuse his life-saving treatment because of the beliefs of their cult. The seemingly easy job quickly turns sinister when the five year old boy and his parents disappear from the hospital. A bloodied hotel room is found and Milo is drawn into the investigation. The cult turns out to be less wholesome than you might think, and Alex and Milo soon discover that the group is deadly dangerous and there’s more than one life at stake.

4. Serpentine: The most recent novel in the series, Serpentineis a cracking modern crime novel that is relatable and insightful, so it’s great for new readers just checking out these books. When Milo has a very old cold case thrust on him by his superiors, he asks his old friend Alex Delaware along to work out the psychology of the woman who is searching for answers about her mother’s murder more than thirty years previously. What initially seems like an impossible case, with little to no evidence, soon transforms into a

3. The Museum Of Desire: An unsettling staged murder scene in the back of a limo outside a rented mansion sets the scene for a gripping police procedural. The Museum Of Desireis both unique and enticing, as Kellerman draws you through the sordid and seedy underbelly of LA, dealing with everyone from rich, airheaded philanthropists through to washed up artists and beyond. Alex and Milo work hard to whittle down their cacophony of suspects down to a select few, then face a vicious fight to track down and capture the monster who staged the scene and committed more atrocities in the name of art and revenge.

2. Survival Of The Fittest: When the mentally disabled daughter of a rising diplomat is found murdered in a desolate corner of the mountains, Milo and Alex suspect a political motive. However, the girl’s father is adamant that there isn’t one, and wants to be in control of the investigation. Thanks to his power, he’s able to make the detective duo’s work difficult, and seems determined to either send the investigation on the wrong track or bury the investigation. When another body is discovered, things get difficult and Alex is forced to go undercover in what turns out to be a deeply sinister plot with far-reaching implications. This novel is chilling and the conclusion will stay with you long after you’ve finished the final chapter.  

1. When the Bough Breaks: As I keep saying, when you want to start a new series, start at the beginning. The first in the Alex Delaware novels isn’t the best in the series, but it is an ideal introduction to the psychiatrist and his friend in the LAPD, Milo Sturgis. In When The Bough Breaks, Alex is bought in on a case where a psychiatrist is found murdered, with one possible witness in the room; a traumatised seven year old girl. Alex must help her to tell the police what she knows, but he quickly realises that the murdered man wasn’t a decent human being, and that there are links to his own past trauma that he has to face before he and Milo can uncover the truth. This book is good for anyone who wants an introduction to Kellerman’s characters and story-telling style, but there are more engaging plots in the later novels.

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