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When the parents of deathly ill five-year-old Woody Swope vanish with their child, psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware and his friend, homicide detective Milo Sturgis, begin an investigation into their disappearance. Their search, however, leads them into an amoral underworld, where drugs, dreams, and sex are all for sale and where fantasies are fulfilled -- even at the cost of a young boy's life.

Topics: Series, Psychologists, Los Angeles, California, Gay Sleuth, Psychological, Small Town, Murder, Cancer, Child Abuse, Drugs, Incest, and First Person Narration

Published: Scribner on Jul 6, 2010
ISBN: 9781451609868
List price: $7.99
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Child abuse, juvenile cancer, drugs, prostitution, and a quasi-religious cult built on perverse notions of sexual liberation make up the plot of Jonathan Kellerman’s second novel, Blood Test. Despite the dark subject matter, this second book to feature child psychologist turned part-time criminal investigator Alex Delaware is as well written and enjoyable as the first.When Alex Delaware agrees to assist a former colleague in convincing an angry family not to remove their cancer-stricken child from hospital care, he quickly discovers that all is not as it appears. When the patient disappears, Alex is quickly swept up in a complex web of conspiracy and deceit ultimately leading to a showdown with a cult guru and a fight to the death with an ax-wielding maniac.If the plot sounds a tad far-flung, that’s because it is. Yet Kellerman’s deft first-person narrative style and tight prose tie the various story threads together into a suspense-filled and surprisingly emotional tale about the misuse of power and the unintended effects of so-called victimless crimes. Basically, though the author probably didn’t intend this, it’s a story about the far-reaching consequences of sin.As a psychological thriller, Blood Test succeeds. It is exciting and creepy and satisfying. Readers should be aware, however, that it contains rather graphic depictions of the evil acts carried out by some of the characters, including drug use, prostitution, and physical and emotional abuse, along with one very disturbing description of a sex ritual. It should also be noted that Alex Delaware’s best friend is gay, though the author primarily uses this very likeable character not to promote a homosexual lifestyle but as a means of exploring prejudice and social injustice.Though it not a “issue book,” Blood Test certainly tackles several issues that are if anything more prevalent today than when the book was written over two decades ago. The disturbing elements of the story may offend some readers, and certainly caution should be exercised in reading, but Alex Delaware’s heroism and Kellerman’s eminently readable writing make this book worthwhile for those who are able to stomach some of the nastier parts and grasp the story’s message that good—at least “good” as seen from a purely secular perspective—ultimately triumphs over evil.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The ending scenario is just too impossible. In enjoyed the build up to the point of the bizarre green house, but the after that it got too bizarre. The psychology in the first 2/3 is good. I am not saying no incest progression could not go like this, but I would be surprised.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Alex Delaware has been asked by a friend, a pediatric oncologist, to speak with a family who is considering refusing cancer treatment for their son. Before he gets a chance to connect with them, they disappear. A local cult called the Touch comes under suspicion, as well as the flaky, lady-killer resident at the hospital. Alex delves deeper into the mystery, taking a lot of the investigating upon himself, (which I still find unlikely) and putting himself in direct danger again. I've been reminded that this is fiction, and that it's a mystery/thriller, and that I shouldn't expect characters in books to just do their jobs and leave the police work to the actual police. I still have a hard time with it, and it lessens my enjoyment with what is actually a very well-plotted and intriguing mystery. I agree with Alex's take on psychology and I like how he pays attention to people's body language and couches his own reactions to the situation based on what he needs to portray in order to manipulate suspects. I did not guess who the "bad guy(s)" were halfway through, which is a bonus. I appreciate that the action and the threads of the tale are well-concluded at the end. Really, my only complaint is that it's a little far-fetched. But it's fiction! I know. Okay.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I haven't read many of the early books of this series. It was interesting to see how sort of naive and unscarred Alex Delaware is in these early books.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Second Delaware novel. I think I prefer this one to When The Bough Breaks, the first Delaware book; it relies less on coincidence and accidental happenings, and more on solid work (both psychological and detective).Woody Swopes has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma; treatment is possible and he had a good prognosis, but the family may be resistant to the idea of treatment. Then Woody disappears from the hospital. Alex, first brought in to look at the family dynamics regarding that possible resistance to treatment, won't let it go after the disappearance and plays detective.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Dr. Alex Delaware is back in action, this time to save a boy dying of cancer. His parents are both obsessed with fruits (they have a farm), and have some serious issues. Nona Swope, the boys brother, is a twenty year old wild child with a serious act to grind with her parents. Then there is The Touch, a cult like group who operates a commune in the same town as the Swope family. And although they preach that they are sincere, and are just trying to get away from the rat race and get back to nature, it becomes more than obvious that they are not what they claim to be.Although this book has a good bit of drama and suspense, it loses its punch because basically every character in the story besides Alex Delaware, his gay detective friend Milo, and the sick boy, everyone else is a complete deviant. When you have basically every person, either being a child molester, drug dealer or killer, it lacks any real sense of believability or credibility. After a while, it's hard not to lose interest after yet another character is revealed to be an evil fiend. It just becomes too much. This is definitely a case where more is less. This overshadows a decent plot and solid writing skills by Jonathan Kellerman.Carl Alves - author of Two For Eternityread more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Interesting book, but very bizarre storyline. It is really hard to see it as believable and the book jumps around a good bit.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
In this second installment, Kellerman did get the word count down, in general and in the overly detailed descriptions. They're not completely gone, but no longer a nuisance to the flow of the story. This story was a variation on the theme of the first book and I hope it doesn't repeat itself again for a while. Back in the 80's it was breaking news, today it isn't. I still like however that Delaware is unpredictable, still grappling with the good angel while not completely giving in to the bad. Kellerman makes him quite human and that's an interesting and welcome change for this genre.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

Child abuse, juvenile cancer, drugs, prostitution, and a quasi-religious cult built on perverse notions of sexual liberation make up the plot of Jonathan Kellerman’s second novel, Blood Test. Despite the dark subject matter, this second book to feature child psychologist turned part-time criminal investigator Alex Delaware is as well written and enjoyable as the first.When Alex Delaware agrees to assist a former colleague in convincing an angry family not to remove their cancer-stricken child from hospital care, he quickly discovers that all is not as it appears. When the patient disappears, Alex is quickly swept up in a complex web of conspiracy and deceit ultimately leading to a showdown with a cult guru and a fight to the death with an ax-wielding maniac.If the plot sounds a tad far-flung, that’s because it is. Yet Kellerman’s deft first-person narrative style and tight prose tie the various story threads together into a suspense-filled and surprisingly emotional tale about the misuse of power and the unintended effects of so-called victimless crimes. Basically, though the author probably didn’t intend this, it’s a story about the far-reaching consequences of sin.As a psychological thriller, Blood Test succeeds. It is exciting and creepy and satisfying. Readers should be aware, however, that it contains rather graphic depictions of the evil acts carried out by some of the characters, including drug use, prostitution, and physical and emotional abuse, along with one very disturbing description of a sex ritual. It should also be noted that Alex Delaware’s best friend is gay, though the author primarily uses this very likeable character not to promote a homosexual lifestyle but as a means of exploring prejudice and social injustice.Though it not a “issue book,” Blood Test certainly tackles several issues that are if anything more prevalent today than when the book was written over two decades ago. The disturbing elements of the story may offend some readers, and certainly caution should be exercised in reading, but Alex Delaware’s heroism and Kellerman’s eminently readable writing make this book worthwhile for those who are able to stomach some of the nastier parts and grasp the story’s message that good—at least “good” as seen from a purely secular perspective—ultimately triumphs over evil.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The ending scenario is just too impossible. In enjoyed the build up to the point of the bizarre green house, but the after that it got too bizarre. The psychology in the first 2/3 is good. I am not saying no incest progression could not go like this, but I would be surprised.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Alex Delaware has been asked by a friend, a pediatric oncologist, to speak with a family who is considering refusing cancer treatment for their son. Before he gets a chance to connect with them, they disappear. A local cult called the Touch comes under suspicion, as well as the flaky, lady-killer resident at the hospital. Alex delves deeper into the mystery, taking a lot of the investigating upon himself, (which I still find unlikely) and putting himself in direct danger again. I've been reminded that this is fiction, and that it's a mystery/thriller, and that I shouldn't expect characters in books to just do their jobs and leave the police work to the actual police. I still have a hard time with it, and it lessens my enjoyment with what is actually a very well-plotted and intriguing mystery. I agree with Alex's take on psychology and I like how he pays attention to people's body language and couches his own reactions to the situation based on what he needs to portray in order to manipulate suspects. I did not guess who the "bad guy(s)" were halfway through, which is a bonus. I appreciate that the action and the threads of the tale are well-concluded at the end. Really, my only complaint is that it's a little far-fetched. But it's fiction! I know. Okay.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I haven't read many of the early books of this series. It was interesting to see how sort of naive and unscarred Alex Delaware is in these early books.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Second Delaware novel. I think I prefer this one to When The Bough Breaks, the first Delaware book; it relies less on coincidence and accidental happenings, and more on solid work (both psychological and detective).Woody Swopes has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma; treatment is possible and he had a good prognosis, but the family may be resistant to the idea of treatment. Then Woody disappears from the hospital. Alex, first brought in to look at the family dynamics regarding that possible resistance to treatment, won't let it go after the disappearance and plays detective.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Dr. Alex Delaware is back in action, this time to save a boy dying of cancer. His parents are both obsessed with fruits (they have a farm), and have some serious issues. Nona Swope, the boys brother, is a twenty year old wild child with a serious act to grind with her parents. Then there is The Touch, a cult like group who operates a commune in the same town as the Swope family. And although they preach that they are sincere, and are just trying to get away from the rat race and get back to nature, it becomes more than obvious that they are not what they claim to be.Although this book has a good bit of drama and suspense, it loses its punch because basically every character in the story besides Alex Delaware, his gay detective friend Milo, and the sick boy, everyone else is a complete deviant. When you have basically every person, either being a child molester, drug dealer or killer, it lacks any real sense of believability or credibility. After a while, it's hard not to lose interest after yet another character is revealed to be an evil fiend. It just becomes too much. This is definitely a case where more is less. This overshadows a decent plot and solid writing skills by Jonathan Kellerman.Carl Alves - author of Two For Eternity
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Interesting book, but very bizarre storyline. It is really hard to see it as believable and the book jumps around a good bit.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
In this second installment, Kellerman did get the word count down, in general and in the overly detailed descriptions. They're not completely gone, but no longer a nuisance to the flow of the story. This story was a variation on the theme of the first book and I hope it doesn't repeat itself again for a while. Back in the 80's it was breaking news, today it isn't. I still like however that Delaware is unpredictable, still grappling with the good angel while not completely giving in to the bad. Kellerman makes him quite human and that's an interesting and welcome change for this genre.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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