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On a DVD found near her lifeless body, Elise Freeman chronicles a year-and-a-half-long ordeal of monstrous abuse at the hands of three sadistic tormentors. But even more shocking than the lurid details is the revelation that the offenders, like their victim, are teachers at a prestigious LA prep school.


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If ever homicide detective Milo Sturgis could use Dr Alex Delaware's psychological prowess, it's now. From the start, this case promises to be an uphill climb for truth and a down-and-dirty fight for justice. Alex and Milo must penetrate the citadel of wealth and scholarship to expose the dirty secrets and deadly sins festering amongst LA's elite. But power and position are not easily surrendered, and Alex and Milo may well be walking into a highly polished death trap.

Dirty White Boys. Their four children include the novelists Jesse Kellerman and Aliza Kellerman. The woman had haunted eyes. Pale, drooping at the outer edges, they stared into theunseen camera with an odd combination of defiance and defeat.

BONES by Jonathan Kellerman - An Alex Delaware Novel

She didn't move. Neither did the camera. The wall behindher was brown-blue, the color of an old bruise. The couch on which she perchedwas gray.

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She was a pretty woman, made less so by fear. Her shoulders werebunched high, her neck tendons taut as bridge cables. A black, sleeveless dressshowcased soft white arms. Too-blond hair fell limply to her shoulders.

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Moments passed. Nothing happened. In another situation Imight've cracked wise about it being one of Andy Warhol's old anti-films:interminable, static studies of the Empire State Building, a man sleeping. When a homicide lieutenant brings you something to watch,you keep your mouth shut. Milo stood behind me. His black hair and raincoat wererumpled. The coat was cheap, green, wrinkled past the point of salvation.

Itgave off a not unpleasant vegetative odor. He'd placed a massive breakfastburrito in a take-out box on my desk, hadn't touched it. When he drops in, he usually beelines for the fridge,empties a quart of something, raids the shelves for bad carbs.


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  8. This morning,he'd marched to my office, loaded the DVD with a flourish. She'd tried her usual smile, had figured outsomething was different when Milo didn't stoop to pet her. I rubbed her knobby head. She looked up at me, returnedher attention to the monitor. The woman's lips moved. Milo said, "Here we go. I'm ateacher and tutor at Windsor Preparatory Academy in Brentwood.

    Deception (Alex Delaware Series, Book 25)

    She knotted her fingers, flopped them onto her lap. Which I willhereon refer to as Prep. Their names are. A finger pointed upward. I am makingthis recording so that in the event something violent happens to me, theauthorities will know where to look. I do not know what else to do as I feeltrapped and frightened and have nowhere to turn. I hope this recording neverneeds to come to light but if it does, I am glad that I made it.

    Her lips moved soundlessly andshe slumped. Suddenly her jaw jutted and she was sitting up straight. Moredefiance than defeat. Staring hard at the camera.

    Milo said, "Talk about a D-movieplot device. She was murdered? She's on ice. Ice of the dry sort. Frozen CO2. She was found in her home, lying in abathtub full of the stuff. Or maybe apsychopath coming up with a new way to showcase his handiwork. Removingthe disc, he slipped it back into a clear plastic jewel box. I said, "Where are you going with this? Maybe sometoast? When Milo wants to think, phone, text, or sleep hesometimes asks me to do the driving. It's against LAPD regs but so are lots ofthings. He makes up for my mileage cost with bar tabs and such. The toast was occupying his attention so I offered totake my Seville.

    He shook his head, scattering crumbs, continued to his latestunmarked, a bronze Chevy Malibu with a phlegmy ignition. Heading north onBeverly Glen, he steered with one hand, stuffed rye bread into his mouth withthe other. The police radio was switched off. The burrito rested inthe backseat and filled the car with eau de frijole. He said, "In answer to your question, toomessy. Where are wegoing? I sat back and drank coffee.


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    Milo said, "Maybe there'll be a microwave and I canheat up the burrito. Close enough to the thoroughfare to hear Valley traffic, butmature vegetation and larger houses blocked any urban visuals. The little green box sat at the terminus of a long dirtdriveway split by a strip of concrete. A gray sedan was parked near the frontdoor. Full-sized car but not big enough to hide the bungalow's blemishes as wedrew close: worn and ragged siding eroded to raw wood in patches, curlingshingles, a noticeable listing to the right due to a sinking foundation.

    Deception (Alex Delaware, book 25) by Jonathan Kellerman

    No crime scene tape that I could see, no uniforms onwatch. I said, "When was she found? He says he talked toher on the phone three days ago but after that, she stopped returning hiscalls. A forty-eight-hour time frame fits the coroner's TOD guesstimate. Probably at the tail end-early morning. Apparently, dry ice doesn't melt, itsublimates-goes straight into the atmosphere-so there's no water residue forestimating degradation. In an ice chest, the rate of sublimation is five to tenpounds every twenty-four hours, but it's faster under normal roomtemperature. The DVD, the key to the house, and what'spassing for a file were messengered to my house ten minutes later.

    Layers of greenery to the left, a two-story Colonial mansion tothe right. The big house was wood-sided like the bungalow, but what I could seeof it was painted white and adorned with black shutters. It sat on a generouslot partitioned from Freeman's skimpy ribbon of real estate by a ten-footstucco fence topped with used brick. Bougainvillea topped areas of brick,amping up the privacy quotient on both sides.

    The smaller structure might've begun life as anoutbuilding of the manse, back when multi-acre estates spread across Valleyhillsides. A guesthouse, servant's quarters, maybe tack storage for one of thecowboy actors wanting proximity to the Burbank film-lots that passed for WildWest badlands.

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    Milo rolled to a stop inches from the Crown Vic. No oneat the wheel, but a man in a cream-colored suit emerged from behind thebungalow. A hair over Milo's six three, he was broad, black,bespectacled. The suit was double-breasted and tailored to nearly conceal a gunbulge. He gave a cursory nod. The departmentlooks kindly on self-awareness and insight. Milo said, "What brings you down from Olympus,Stan? Cool morning but the back of his neckwas moist ebony. Doctor, you really need to absent yourself.