Breakdown by Jonathan Kellerman
#31 in the Alex Delaware series, Breakdown is a story of mental health issues, secrets, lies and murder.
Alex is called one day to treat a woman who was put on a mental health hold (5150). He is told that she asked for him; Alex, however, never treated her, but did treat her son for a short period a few years prior.
Drawn into helping the woman, who later turns up dead from ingesting a poisonous plant, Alex, along with homicide detective Milo, works to solve her murder and find her missing son.
I couldn’t put the book down, it was so good. Usually, Kellerman novels get bogged down in the middle, but not so with this one. The plot was steady through the book, and the ending was just right, apprehending the suspects through police work, not a car chase shoot ’em up climax.
For me, the only detraction in this story is that a few of the themes have been used in earlier books in the series. Which isn’t really much of a criticism; after all, the main character is a psychologist so I’m not terribly surprised that some topics may be recycled. Still, the plot was riveting and complex and very enjoyable.
Lots of characters in this one, but it’s not difficult to keep them straight. I loved the Chet Brett character (“You know the little mermaid statue? I made that.”) made me giggle, In fact, the characters are what draws me to this series; always well-drawn, they are easy to relate to and likeable.
This book can be read as a stand-alone; there are a few references to prior books but would not confuse a first time reader. This is one of my favorite series, though, so I do recommend reading the whole series.