Devil’s Waltz by Jonathan Kellerman

Devil’s Waltz (#7 in the Alex Delaware series), Jonathan Kellerman, 2006


My favorite quote: The opening line: “It was a place of fear and myth, home of miracles and the worst kind of failure.” (I didn’t know what Jonathan Kellerman was describing right away, but soon realized it wasn’t my underwear drawer after all. Anyway, the moment I read that first line, I was like, here is a man who knows how to hook readers. And by readers, I mean me)

Most interesting characters: Alex Delaware, a forensic psychologist; Milo Sturgis, his sidekick; Cassie Jones, a child who keeps getting inexplicably ill

Opening scene: Devil’s Waltz begins with Alex Delaware being called to the hospital he used to work at. His friend and former colleague, Stephanie, has a young patient who’s suffering from continuous illnesses, and while she doesn’t like to think it, she’s beginning to suspect that the child’s mother is causing the sicknesses. She asks Alex Delaware to help her get to the bottom of things

The gist: Alex Delaware is called upon to prove that a mother is causing her twenty-one month old daughter’s mysterious illnesses — like I just said. Sometimes I feel like you’re not even listening to me 

Greatest strengths: Few writers can spend as much time on descriptions as Jonathan Kellerman and get away with it. The difference, I think, between those who can pull it off and those who can’t depends on what information they’re giving and why. Personally, I appreciate being placed firmly in the scene I’m reading, and Devil’s Waltz accomplished that throughout. I felt like I was there — and since hospitals and sick children and nasty nurses aren’t the kinds of things I’m immediately familiar with, I liked being fully steeped in that world

Standout achievements: With little Cassie’s overly-devoted nurse, a stern-faced indignant woman who takes an instant dislike to Alex Delaware, Jonathan Kellerman creates a whole new kind of tension. On one hand, I felt bad for Nurse Nelly (or whatever her name was — I can’t for the life of me remember it), but on the other, I wanted push her down a flight of stairs and blame it on the mother who was probably heading to prison anyway 

Fun Facts: I’ve never met Jonathan Kellerman, but I have had the pleasure of meeting his wife, Faye — a lovely woman and fine thriller writer herself

Other media: N/A — although films have been made from other Alex Delaware books

Additional thoughts: Unlike most books which I pick up on account of the attractive covers, I picked this one up for its name. Devil’s Waltz. It just sounds cool. I had no idea it was about Munchausen by proxy or that it was part of a series — I just liked the title. Come to find out, judging a book by its title is as effective as judging a book by its cover — Devil’s Waltz turned me into a Jonathan Kellerman fan

Hit or Miss: Hit

Haunt me:

Read Devil’s Waltz

Published by Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. First published in 2012, he has since co-authored The Cliffhouse Haunting and Mother with Tamara Thorne and is working on several other projects. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, was an Amazon bestseller. The Black Wasp, book 3 in The Vampires of Crimson Cove series is on its way. Find out more about him at: ********************************************************************************************* In collaboration, Thorne and Cross are currently writing several novels, including the next volume in the continuing gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their first novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was an immediate bestseller. Together, they hosted the horror-themed radio show Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! which featured such guests as Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of Hellraiser 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, Kim Harrison of the Hollows series, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore. ********************************************************************************************** Currently, Thorne & Cross are hosts of Thorne & Cross: Carnival Macabre, where listeners can discover all manner of demented delights, unearth terrifying treasures, and explore the dark side of the arts.

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