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Blood Test by Jonathan Kellerman
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The second book in the Alex Delaware series could have been written now - despite the lack of the modern technology and connections - the topic is even more relevant than it was in 80s (or as relevant anyway).

Apparently, some of the earlier novels also have the Milo/Alex partnership reversed - Alex is the one that finds the case here. A boy has cancer - fully curable if he stays in the hospital and is treated. But the parents are reluctant - and Alex is called to try to help and convince them. And when the parents take the boy away and a big amount of blood is found in the parents' hotel room, Milo is pulled into the chase - the boy can be saved but only if he is found on time and the tumors stop developing. The older sister is also missing - which leads Milo and Alex to a madam and a service that had given her a job - snagging the girl from the small town into the claws of the big city. That adds some more possibilities to what happened to the family. As do the cult members that have visited the family before they took off.

Alex and Milo start following the boy and the parents (and the older sister) and finding their backstory. And the backstory is terrifying - what happens when a man loses everything he has due to the weather and turns to his dark side. The last part of the story got a bit too surreal for my taste- it never left the land of the possible but still.

It is a terrifying novel. Very well done, very insightful but still leaving you with your skin crawling - the way that horror never can - because that may actually happen. ( )
  AnnieMod | Mar 27, 2016 |
Kellerman writes a tightly woven plot. When 5 year old cancer patient Woody Swope disappears from the hospital, Dr. Alex Delaware and Det. Milo Sturgis are pulled into the search and uncover more than they expected. ( )
  JenniferRobb | Jan 17, 2016 |
### From Publishers Weekly

Dr. Alexander Davenport, a child psychologist in Los Angeles, is called in to evaluate the case of a leukemia patient whose parents want to discontinue chemotherapy. When the boy disappears from the hospital and his parents are found dead, the only leads are the boy's sensual older sister and a holistic-meditative cult called The Touch. Davenport's search for the child takes him to a small town near the Mexican border where he finally unearths the dark secrets kept by the boy's family and the townspeople. He also uncovers drugs and group sex in the commune and survives a few harrowing attempts on his life. (Particularly well-drawn is a failed assassination at the tale's end, which has intriguing mythic echoes.) As in his praised first novel, When the Bough Breaks, Kellerman draws on his experience as a clinical psychologist to enrich and broaden his considerable storytelling talents. Imbued with a vivid sense of place and featuring a strong supporting cast, including Milo Sturgis, Davenport's burly gay detective friend, this second adventure points happily toward an Alex Davenport series. Paperback rights to NAL.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

### Review

"A suspenseful thriller whose solution lies in the darker recesses of the human soul." -- *The Wall Street Journal* --The Wall Street Journal

"A suspenseful thriller whose solution lies in the darker recesses of the human soul." --*The Wall Street Journal* ( )
  Hans.Michel | Sep 13, 2013 |
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. ( )
1 vote EmScape | Oct 17, 2012 |
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 ( )
  Carl_Alves | Jun 5, 2012 |
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As always, for Faye, Jesse, and Rachel, and welcoming Ilana
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I sat in the courtroom and watched Richard Moody get the bad news from the judge.
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Book description
Family ties can bind you too tight.

Doctors believe that they can successfully treat five-year-old cancer patient Woody Swope. But Woody's parents, members of a cult called 'The touchers', are not only refusing the treatment, they're also threatening to remove him from the hospital.

Psychologist Alex Delaware is called in to talk the parents round. But before he can, the swopes are gone and so is Woody. All that remains is a savagely ransacked and bloodied motel room, their promiscous teenage daughter, Nona, and an increasingly dark and bizarre case for Alex to solve.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345466616, Mass Market Paperback)

It is a case unlike any psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware has ever encountered. Five-year-old Woody Swope is ill, but the real problem is his parents. They refuse to agree to the one treatment that could save this boy's life.

Alex sets out to convince Mr. and Mrs. Swope--only to find that the parents have left the hospital and taken their son with them. Worse, the sleazy motel room where the Swopes were staying is empty--except for the ominous bloodstain. The Swopes and their son have vanished into the sordid shadows of the city.

Now Alex and his friend, homocide detective Milo Sturgis, have no choice but to push the law to the breaking point. They've entered an amoral underworld where drugs, dreams, and sex are all for sale...where fantasies are fulfilled at any price--even at the cost of a young boy's life.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:23 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

It is a case unlike any psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware has ever encountered. Five-year-old Woody Swope is ill, but the real problem is his parents. They refuse to agree to the one treatment that could save this boy's life. Alex sets out to convince Mr. and Mrs. Swope--only to find that the parents have left the hospital and taken their son with them. Worse, the sleazy motel room where the Swopes were staying is empty--except for the ominous bloodstain. The Swopes and their son have vanished into the sordid shadows of the city. Now Alex and his friend, homocide detective Milo Sturgis, have no choice but to push the law to the breaking point. They've entered an amoral underworld where drugs, dreams, and sex are all for sale...where fantasies are fulfilled at any price--even at the cost of a young boy's life.… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

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