At a Glance
The popular Alex Delaware murder mysteries by New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman started in 1985 with When the Bough Breaks, which won an Edgar Award for Best First Novel. All books in the Jonathan Kellerman series involve Alex Delaware, a child psychologist who consults for the police in Los Angeles. Here is the list of the Alex Delaware books in order for the popular series.
New Alex Delaware Book
Alex Delaware Series In Publication Order
- When The Bough Breaks, 1985
- Blood Test, 1986
- Over The Edge, 1987
- Silent Partner, 1989
- Time Bomb, 1990
- Private Eyes, 1992
- Devil’s Waltz, 1993
- Bad Love, 1994
- Self-Defense, 1995
- The Web, 1996
- The Clinic, 1997
- Survival of the Fittest, 1997
- Monster, 1999
- Doctor Death, 2000
- Flesh and Blood, 2001
- The Murder Book, 2002
- A Cold Heart, 2003
- Therapy, 2004
- Rage, 2005
- Gone, 2006
- Obsession, 2007
- Compulsion, 2008
- Bones, 2008
- Evidence, 2009
- Deception, 2010
- Mystery, 2011
- Victims, 2012
- Guilt, 2013
- Killer, 2014
- Motive, 2015
- Breakdown, 2016
- Heartbreak Hotel, 2017
- Night Moves, 2018
- The Wedding Guest, 2019
- The Museum of Desire, 2020
- Serpentine, 2021
- City of the Dead, 2022
- Unnatural History, 2023
- The Ghost Orchid, 2024
Other Alex Delaware Books in Publication Order
- True Detectives, 2009 (spin-off)
- The Murderer’s Daughter, 2015 (Alex Delaware is briefly mentioned)
- Alex Delaware: A Mysterious Profile, 2022
Alex Delaware Graphic Novels In Publication Order
Who is Alex Delaware In the Series?
In the popular crime mystery book series written by New York Times Bestseller Jonathan Kellerman, Alex Delaware is a retired child psychologist who now assists LAPD homicide detective Milo Sturgis on serious cases.
He was once a developmental psychologist but retired from the profession after a traumatic experience with a sexual predator. Despite his retirement, he still works as a special consultant to the Los Angeles Police Department, specifically with his friend, gay detective Milo Sturgis, on serious and dangerous cases that require his expertise as a psychologist.
Alex is a highly-regarded psychologist due to his strong morals, ethics, and empathy toward his clients. He is known for his keen eye for detail and great sense of observation, which he uses to solve complex cases working along various law enforcement officials.
Throughout the series, his character remains constant, and he is not known to evolve as a person. He is polite, restrained, and has a strong sense of ego, but he is not an arrogant person. His background, skills, and research abilities make him one of the best detectives of our time.
The brilliant psychologist Alex Delaware series, well-received by mystery fans for its fast-paced, non-stop action, tackles various important issues such as homosexuality, terrorism, insanity, murder, human depravity, lack of morals, and the loss of personal identity. The series has been criticized for being too formulaic, but it remains one of the most popular crime mystery series of modern times.
The latest Alex Delaware novel by Jonathan Kellerman, The Ghost Orchid, was released in 2024. There are 39 books published to date by Jonathan Kellerman, all featuring Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis working together to solve crimes. Whether you are a fan of the crime mystery genre or not, and if you like the writing of the author Jonathan Kellerman, the Alex Delaware series is worth checking out for its unique and well-written characters and thrilling and engaging storylines.
Should We Read the Alex Delaware Books in Order?
I’ve read most of the Jonathan Kellerman books so far (have to catch up to 3 more) and I’d daresay it’s best to read them in proper order, however, if you get them out of order, you won’t miss all that much, as each book has its own plot that starts and ends with the book.
I love to follow a character that I get attached to, so if you are into character progression and development, reading them in order will make more sense to you.
Above is the order of the Alex Delaware stories based on the date of publication and chronological order. For this particular series, both the chronological and publication order are the same.
Note that Alex Delaware also makes sporadic appearances in some of Jonathan Kellerman’s Petra Connor series.
The Alex Delaware Series In Brief
When The Bough Breaks
Child psychologist, Alex Delaware, is tasked with unlocking the truth behind a double murder by getting through to the only witness, 7-year-old Melody Quinn.
However, as he begins to work with Melody, he realizes that her silence stems from more than just witnessing the traumatic event. Alex knows that LA is full of darkness, but he soon finds himself delving into a deeper and more sinister world of perversion and violence.
Doctors believe that they can successfully treat a 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.
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 teenage daughter, Nona, and an increasingly sinister case to solve.
Over the Edge
Jamey Cadmus is clearly a deeply troubled young man. Found clutching a bloodied knife at the scene of a brutal double homicide, surely he must be the vicious serial killer who’s been terrorizing LA. What other explanation can there be? The public is demanding the death penalty but his lawyer is pleading diminished responsibility.
Alex Delaware is asked to make an assessment of Jamey’s mental health but to do that he needs to look into Jamey’s past, and no one wants Alex digging there
Dr Sharon Ransom is the most beautiful woman in the room and the most troubled. So when former lover Alex Delaware bumps into her at a lavish LA cocktail party for a controversial sex therapist, though still attracted to her, fear of reviving unhappy memories prevents him from offering her the help for which she seems so desperate.
Hours later, Sharon’s body is discovered with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Tortured by guilt, Alex wants answers. As his investigation begins, dark memories of his past with Sharon emerge, and a present full of madness, murder and sexual violence unfolds.
A sniper opens fire on a crowded Californian elementary school but is killed before any children are harmed. When the sniper’s identity is revealed, a media frenzy erupts. Why would they want to take innocent lives?
Alex Delaware is brought in to help the kids cope with the ordeal but is drawn into investigating the motives of the would-be assassin. Alex soon finds himself on a bloody and twisted trail into the world of political extremism from which there may be no way back.
Alex Delaware regards Melissa Dickinson as one of his greatest achievements. A tormented seven-year-old who once dialed the hospital helpline asking for comfort when she first appeared in his LA surgery, two years on, she was fully recovered.
Years later, Melissa contacts Alex, desperate for him to help her mother, Gina. Gina was a budding Hollywood starlet until a vicious acid attack left her disfigured. Crippled with fear, Gina has hidden from the world for two decades. But before Alex can help, she disappears. Now Alex is locked in a search leading him into a grotesque labyrinth of hidden histories and desires.
21-month-old Cassie Jones has spent most of her short life in and out of Paediatrics Hospital. Cassie is persistently, seriously ill and when no amount of testing can identify the cause, her doctor is lead to a disturbing diagnosis – Cassie’s mother could be making her daughter deliberately sick in a case of child abuse.
Alex Delaware is asked to make an independent assessment of the Jones family. But Alex’s attempts to find the answers and save a young girl’s life will reveal a terrifying circle of corruption, abuse and murderous hatred.
It starts with a tape delivered to Alex Delaware’s house – a recording of a soul-sickening scream followed by a twisted, childlike voice chanting ‘Bad love. Bad love. Don’t give me the bad love…’
Alex heard that phrase a decade ago, at a symposium for Dr Andres de Bosch and his work with troubled teens, why is he hearing it now? Then there are strange phone calls, a horrific act of vandalism and the discovery that other symposium delegates have been murdered. Unless Alex can make sense of the mind games being played he will be next…
Someone traumatise Lucy Lowell after serving jury duty on the trial of a depraved killer. Horrific images haunt her waking life and at night she’s terrorised by the recurring nightmare of a small child watching a terrible scene unfold in a darken wood.
Lucy’s terrified that she’s losing her grip on reality. Her psychologist, Alex Delaware, thinks her dreams are repressed memories of something very real – a very real murder. Alex knows that delving into Lucy’s mind might awaken past terrors but nothing could have prepared him for the horrors about to be unleashed…
Dr William Moreland has spent much of his life attending to the physical and mental health of the inhabitants of Knife Island, a tiny Micronesian community. Feeling that his records should be analysed to ensure that the wealth of information contained within them should not be lost, he asks Alex Delaware for assistance.
The timing is perfect for Alex and his partner Robin. Desperate to escape the violence of Los Angeles and recuperate from a terrible ordeal, they seize the opportunity for a sabbatical.
Psychology professor and bestselling author Hope Devane is murdered and the police have no leads. Milo Sturgis enlists the help of his friend, psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware, to uncover the truth.
As they delve into her personal life, they uncover secrets and connections to another murder. Alex’s investigation into her childhood reveals the reasons behind her controversial beliefs and the betrayal that ultimately led to her death.
Survival of the Fittest
The mentally disabled daughter of a diplomat is killed in cold blood in a deserted corner of the Santa Monica mountains. Her father adamantly denies the possibility of a political motive, which leaves Milo Sturgis and his friend Alex Delaware to pose the question: why? The father is so intent on controlling the investigation that Alex and Milo start to wonder if he wants to find the truth – or keep it buried.
Within days, and after another killing, Alex finds himself ensnared in one of his career’s darkest, most menacing cases. Driven to find answers, Alex goes undercover, alone, to expose the smug brutality of a murderous conspiracy and a terrifying contempt for human life.
A corpse is found in a car trunk. The victim was a 25-year-old would-be actor called Richard Dada. He had been sawn in half. Eight months later, the body of Claire Argent, a psychologist at a hospital for the criminally insane, is discovered. She was mutilated in the same horrific way.
Milo Sturgis is put on the case and, when the incoherent ramblings of a patient locked up in a mental hospital for the criminally insane begin to make terrifying sense, he calls on Alex Delaware to help him delve into the muddy waters of insanity.
Can Alex and Milo unravel this dark web of family secrets, vengeance and manipulation in time to stop further killing?
People are dying prematurely in Hollywood Hills in California, some through assisted suicide, others through murder. As the debate over euthanasia’s legality continues, a man nicknamed Doctor Death is at the center of it all. Alex Delaware joins the argument but Milo Sturgis in the law inforcement suspects that some patients are not willing participants. Delaware soon realizes that euthanasia may not be the true motivation behind Doctor Death’s actions. What is driving him to kill so many?
Flesh and Blood
When Alex Delaware first saw Lauren Teague she was a sullen teenager with the usual teen problems.
But then years later, a shock: at a bachelor party for a fellow doctor, Delaware finds himself uncomfortably watching two strippers going through a degrading display – and one of them is Lauren Teague.
The Murder Book
Alex Delaware’s relationship with his long-term partner is on the rocks. He is floored when Robin announces she’s heading off on a three-month music tour.
But he soon has other things to think about. He is sent an envelope with no return address. Inside, he finds an album with gold letters on it – THE MURDER BOOK. It’s full of macabre pictures of murders, with brief descriptions of how, and why, the victims died. One picture – marked ‘Not solved’ – shows the horrifically mutilated body of a young woman.
A Cold Heart
Juliet Kipper, a gifted painter, is strangled in the LA art gallery where her first solo show has opened to critical acclaim, and Milo Sturgis takes on the murder investigation as a favour to an old friend. After seeing the murder scene, he consults Alex Delaware, who, researching parallels with other deaths, looks for artists killed when on the verge of a breakthrough or comeback. And he finds two others.
The investigation points to a gruesome, sadistic pattern of death, taking Milo and Alex into the dark side of the art world, and Alex’s ex-lover Robin into terrible danger.
Investigating the case of a lovers’ lane murder of a pair of college students, Milo Sturgis asks the help of Alex Delaware. As the two peel back layer upon layer of deception, they encounter shocking truths that extend way beyond the slaughter of two young lovers.
Something other than therapy has been taking place within the plush, soundproof chambers of the young man’s therapist…
Eight years ago, Alex Delaware evaluated two teenage boys charged with the shocking murder of young Kristal Malley. Now one of the killers is out of prison – and wants to meet up with Alex.
But by the time the pair do come face to face again, one of them is dead. Was Rand Duchay just another victim of an LA street crime? Or is something more sinister going on here?
Alex and Milo Sturgis mean to find out. To do so, they will follow a trail of blood that will lead them to the depths of cruelty – and straight to the heart of murderous betrayal.
An aspiring actress is accused of staging her own abduction with her boyfriend, but when she is murdered and he disappears, Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis are called in to find the truth.
As they search the depths of LA’s seedy underbelly and audition suspects, they soon realize that there’s more to this case than a simple script. With more dead wannabes turning up, they must uncover whether Dylan is a deranged killer or another victim.
Just before she died, Patty Bigelow had a deathbed confession: she killed a man. Now her niece Tanya Bigelow is obsessed with finding out the truth about her aunt’s crime – and she needs Alex Delaware’s help…
Three strange cases of killing are linked only by a perplexing lack of motive until Milo Sturgis and Alex Delaware are called to the scene of a bizarre ‘crime’. A stolen car has been anonymously returned to its owner, undamaged and unblemished – except for a tiny, solitary bloodstain.
This miniscule clue is enough to set the pair on a hunt for a multiple killer, from the well-heeled centre of LA society to its desperate edges, even as far as New York where their search thaws out a long-cold case.
A body is found in a marsh outside LA, followed by the discovery of three more dead women, all but one of them prostitutes. Alex Delaware is brought in by Milo Sturgis to assist with investigating the crimes, believed to be committed by a serial killer.
But when a new murder doesn’t fit the pattern, they must consider the possibility of a more sinister and cunning mind behind the murders. The pursuit for the truth leads to a disturbing examination of the darkest drives and desires.
Two bodies are found murdered at a building site for a mega-mansion. Milo Sturgis and psychologist Alex Delaware are brought in to investigate. As they navigate the wealthy world, they uncover a plot of deception and evil that challenges their imaginations.
The police find a DVD near Elise Freeman’s body, depicting her monstrous abuse at the hands of three sadistic teachers at a prestigious LA prep school. Milo Sturgis turns to his friend, psychologist Alex Delaware, for help. As they delve into the school’s community of wealth and scholarship, they uncover a web of dirty secrets and deadly sins, but their pursuit of truth and justice is met with resistance from the school’s powerful elite. Will Alex and Milo be able to bring the perpetrators to justice, or will they fall into a dangerous trap?
The Beverley Fauborg hotel is about to close in a glamorous area of Los Angeles. Psychologist Alex Delaware and his girlfriend Robin are making a farewell visit to the hotel bar when one patron, in particular, grabs their attention – a beautiful but aloof young woman dressed all in white.
Two days later, Alex is called in on a case and is shocked when he recognizes the victim as the woman in white. Discovering her true identity is not going to be easy though, and Milo’s investigation into the girl nicknamed ‘Mystery’ leads him to the darkest of secrets in the highest of places.
Not since Jack the Ripper has there been such a gruesome crime scene. One look at the victim’s apartment turned charnel house is enough for Milo Sturgis to summon his friend Alex Delaware for insights into the mind behind such carnage. But even Alex’s skills may be stymied when more slayings occur in the same ghastly fashion… with no apparent connection between them.
The only clue left behind – a blank page bearing a question mark – seems to be both a menacing taunt and a cry for help from a killer baffled by his own lethal urges. This one will haunt Alex’s waking life, and his darkest dreams, long after its end…
When a young couple takes possession of their dream home, they can’t wait to remodel the neglected mansion. That is until they make a gruesome discovery of a rusted metal strongbox containing two rotting leather doctor’s bags. And inside each bag, swaddled in sheets of sixty-year-old newspaper, lies a tiny human skeleton.
The case hits the media, and theories abound. The most likely culprit is a mysterious woman, employed as private nurse to wealthy LA families during World War Two. Milo Sturgis consults Alex Delaware for insight into the perpetrator’s motives but the horror is just beginning…
Well used to elevated emotions, Alex Delaware shrugs off a joking death threat from beautiful Beverly Hills physician Constance Sykes, whose attempt to secure legal custody of her baby niece is thwarted by Alex’s forthright report to the court.
Alex plays down the threat until LAPD’s Milo Sturgis rushes to his side with the shocking word on the street that a hit’s been taken out on him.
But while Alex may be in grave danger, it won’t be from the Beverley Hills doctor, for Connie is soon discovered brutally slain. When her sister Cherie and the baby disappear, apparently on the run, Alex’s search for answers leads him to aged rockers, charming homeboys and even Machiavellian judges.
The unsolved crimes and the victims without justice keep Milo Sturgis awake at night. One such victim is Katherine Hennepin, a young woman strangled and stabbed in her home. A single suspect with a solid alibi leads to a dead-end – one even Alex Delaware’s expert insight can’t explain. The only thing to do is move on to the next murder case – because there is always a next one.
This time the victim is Ursula Corey, a successful, attractive divorcee who’s been gunned down – not a robbery but an execution, a crime that smacks of simple, savage revenge. And along with that theoretical motive come two strong contenders for the role of suspect: the dead woman’s business partner/ex-husband and her divorce lawyer/secret lover. But just as Alex and Milo think they’re zeroing in on the killer, a bizarre new clue stirs up echoes of the unsolved Hennepin murder.
Alex first meets beautiful and emotionally fragile TV actress Zelda Chase when called upon to evaluate her young son. Years later, Alex is unexpectedly reunited with Zelda when she is committed after a bizarre psychotic episode. But tragedy strikes and after her release, Zelda is discovered dead in the grounds of a palatial LA Estate, and her son missing.
Having experienced more than enough of the city’s dark side to recognize the scent of evil, Alex turns to his friend, Milo Sturgis, for help in finding the perpetrator.
And when other victims vanish from the same upscale neighbourhood, worry turns to terror. As Alex and Milo unveil each devastating revelation and damning clue, Alex’s brilliant mind is challenged as never before – and his determination grows to see a killer caged and the truth set free.
At nearly one hundred years old, Thalia Mars is a far cry from the patients Alex Delaware normally treats. But the charming, witty woman convinces Alex to meet with her in a suite at The Aventura – a luxury hotel with a checkered history.
What Thalia wants from Alex are answers to unsettling questions – about guilt, patterns of criminal behaviour, victim selection. When Alex asks the reason for her morbid fascination, Thalia promises to tell all during their next session. But when he returns the following morning, his question goes unanswered, and new ones arise…
In their most puzzling investigation to date, Alex and Milo must peel back the layers of a fascinating but elusive woman’s life. For Thalia Mars is a victim like no other, an enigma who harbored nearly a century of secrets and whose life and death draw those around her into a vortex of violence.
In this murder case, Milo turns to psychologist Alex Delaware for assistance. A disfigured body has been found in the upscale home of the Corvin family, with no evidence of struggle or identity. Alex and Milo must uncover the truth behind the murder and the guarded cooperation of the Corvin family, as they know that even the wealthiest neighborhoods can hide a multitude of dark secrets.
The Wedding Guest
When a horrified bridesmaid finds the body of a young woman at a wedding reception, it makes the bride and groom’s choice of a Saints and Sinners theme all the more macabre. There are no means of identification and nobody knows the victim.
The bride is convinced someone is trying to sabotage her big day. The groom is sure it’s a dreadful mistake. It’s up to Alex and Milo to uncover the truth. They have a hundred guests to question, and a strong suspicion that the motive for murder is personal…
The Museum of Desire
A mansion in Beverly Hills is rented out for a wild event, but the next day, 4 bodies are found in a limo, each killed in a different way. Psychologist Alex Delaware and LAPD homicide detective Milo Sturgis are tasked to solve the mass slaying, but they must confront an unprecedented level of evil.
Twenty-five years ago Ellie’s mother was found with a bullet in her head in a torched Cadillac that has overturned on infamously treacherous Mulholland Drive. No physical evidence, no witnesses, no apparent motive. And a slew of detectives have already worked the job and failed.
This is a case that calls for the insight of brilliant psychologist Alex Delaware. And as he and Sturgis begin digging, the mist begins to lift. There are too many coincidences. Facts turn out to be anything but. And as they soon discover, very real threats are lurking in the present…
City of the Dead
At 5 am in the upscale neighborhood of Westwood Village, two removal men make a horrible discovery – a naked man with no identification. Soon after, a woman is found dead in a nearby house suspected to be a brothel. LAPD’s Milo Sturgis works together with psychologist Alex Delaware, who recognizes the deceased woman as another psychologist. The case takes a complicated turn.
Dr. Alex Delaware and Detective Milo Sturgis are drawn into a dark case of violence and brutality in Los Angeles. The victim, a wealthy photographer, had recently received media attention for his latest project, which featured homeless people in elaborate costumes enacting unfulfilled fantasies.
The investigation uncovers a web of intrigue and complexity, with potential suspects ranging from the photographer’s disgruntled subjects to his own bizarre family.
As Alex and Milo peel back the layers, they face one of the deadliest threats they have ever encountered. This electrifying thriller explores the city’s underworld, where the wealthy’s palaces coexist uneasily with the hellholes of the mad and needy.