Book Review: When the Bough Breaks

Posted On: December 10, 2008
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When the Bough Breaks by Jonathan KellermanI have a thing for mysteries in recent months, and after reading three books by James Patterson, I needed fresh perspectives from a different author. If nothing just for comparison sake. When the Bough Breaks by Jonathan Kellerman is the first of his Dr. Alex Delaware series. That was the first thing that hits me – Alex Delaware versus Alex Cross in Patterson’s series, psychologist versus psychiatrist.

The book starts slow, laying the groundwork about Dr. Alex Delaware’s psyche. As an exceptional, perhaps brilliant psychologist, he went into a downward spiral after helping a group to molested children. His life seemed to crashed on discovering the body of their molester, sprawled across his office, apparently in a suicide. Burnt out and depressed , he was barely functional when Detective Milo Sturgis entered the scene, and nudged him into helping with the case where the only witness to the crime is a seven-year-old child. Milo wanted Alex to help hypnotize the girl, in the hopes of finding clues to what seems like a dead end.

In the interest of not giving anything away here, I shall not elaborate more on the plot. Kellerman’s style is different from that of Patterson’s. It was not until somewhere past the middle of the book, that the pace picks up. The pace of the buildup was carefully calculated, and promised much for the ending that was to come, but it was a tad draggy for me. The storyline, in the end, was not credible enough. The same holds true for the main character, although I did enjoy the part on how Alex and Milo became fast friends. Part of the disappointment was that Kellerman did not build upon Milo’s role as a sidekick, and basically dropped him out of the picture. Not one of the most memorable books for me.