Beth's Book Review

Heartbreak Hotel by Jonathan Kellerman

Heartbreak Hotel by Jonathan Kellerman ( Penguin Random House, 2017)

“Thalia Mars's wide amused mouth was augmented by meticulously applied coral lipstick. Her eyes were clear brown. Shoulder-length hair tinted the ivory of old piano keys had been whipped into a meringue of waves. Nearly a century of gravity had done its inevitable thing with her jawline, but a dagger-thin face below the cloud of hair retained enough integrity to suggest a once-firm chin and prominent cheekbones.” This is the introduction that child psychological/police consultant, Alex Delaware, delivers of an intriguing character, Thalia Mars, who is three weeks shy of her 100th birthday in Jonathan Kellerman's latest novel, Heartbreak Hotel.

Character development and complex plots are the cornerstones of the Alex Delaware series. Heartbreak Hotel, the 32nd installment, ranks as one of the best yet, with an intriguing plot and fascinating characters, who rank from mobster molls, to slick lawyers, to corrupt business men, to serial killers.

Sign Up for E-News

The novel opens with Alex Delaware being summonsed to meet Thalia Mars, who has come upon him through Google. Mars has been a resident of Cabin Uno in the once posh Hollywood Hotel, the Aventura. Delaware figures that she has been living in this fading luxury for about 70 years, and wonders how did the old lady afford to dwell in such style. The Aventura, now fading and dilapidated, still serves as a haven for Hollywood's elite who desire privacy in which to recover from plastic surgery. Thalia's little home is set away from the larger hotel, and seems to be the only occupied cabin in the area, leaving the centenarian vulnerable and very alone.

Alex is taken immediately with the charming and sharp woman, who hints about a dark past and poses several questions of Alex that pique his curiosity about her life. She begins by explaining why she contacted him to begin with. “I became interested in your involvement in . . .less savory matters,” she starts the conversation.

The questions which Thalia begins to ask lend towards philosophical answers. She queries of Delaware, “What's the current psychological wisdom with regard to guilt,” “Can total scoundrels be changed,” and “are most people morally sound?” At the end of their conversation, Dr. Delaware is not quite sure what his ancient patient is seeking but agrees to return to see her on the morrow. Mars gives Alex an overly generous check of $6000, and when he protests her largesse, she waves him off and says if he doesn't use all of the retainer on her treatments, he should donate the excess to the Western Pediatrics Hospital, one of her favorite charities, and Alex's place of work when dealing with disturbed children.

When Alex returns for his second session with Mars, to his dismay, the ancient lady has died during the night. Fortunately, a sharp-eyed, young EMT corroborates Delaware's observation that although Thalia looks at peace, there are some indicators, such as unusual mottling of skin by her nose, that are suspicious and may indicate that foul play has occurred in Mars's passing.

Alex takes the opportunity to call in his best buddy, Lt. Milo Sturgis of the LAPD, and asks him to come to the Aventura to have a look. Thus, the two sleuths begin their investigation into the life and death of the enigmatic Thalia Mars, in order to untangle the web of questions that Mars had begun to probe with Alex Delaware just the day before.

Like most novels of the detective genre, there is not a lot of action in Heartbreak Hotel. The Delaware series is more about how Sturgis and Delaware probe the past, look for clues, and put the pieces of a puzzle together in order to figure out a mysterious case. While working on Thalia's murder, it is actually the beautiful Robin, Delaware's long time girlfriend, who poses a question that sets the two men on the right path to figuring out who had the motive to slay a centenarian.

Woven into the complicated investigation are all of the earmarks of an Alex Delaware, including Sturgis' raiding the Delaware fridge to concoct creative sandwiches out of the left-overs, and the gentle nudging of Alex's French bulldog Blanche, who loves belly rubs and attention. These are the little details that give the reader an inside peak into the relationships of the clinical Delaware with his lady, his dog, and his best friend.

Jonathan Kellerman, a psychologist himself, who is currently a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles, has won both the coveted Edgar and Anthony Awards for his best selling suspense novels. Married to the novelist, Faye Kellerman, author of the Peter Decker/Rina Lazurus books, it is intriguing (and perhaps a little sinister) to imagine being in the Kellerman household when the couple discusses plots and characters of their latest novels. Their son, Jesse, is now penning his own books as well.

Beth Moroney, former English teacher and administrator in the Edison Public School District, specialized in teaching Creative Writing and Journalism. Recently Moroney published Significant Anniversaries of Holocaust/Genocide Education and Human/Civil Rights, available through the New Jersey Commission on the Holocaust. A passionate reader, Moroney is known for recommending literature to students, teachers, parents, and the general public for over forty years. Moroney can be contacted at trackdak19@hotmail.com.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Morristown

AtlantiCast: Episode 008

On this week’s AtlantiCast, you’ll learn about a groundbreaking new clinical trial in the fight against pancreatic cancer, meet an award-winning child neurologist at Goryeb Children’s Hospital and hear about the new Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center at Atlantic Orthopedic Institute – plus stay tuned at the end to see our debut episode of the AtlantiCast Medical ...

Coastal Sports NJ Teams up with BMartin Sports Academy and Prime Time Football

Fairfield, N.J. - November 22, 2017 -  The 60,000+ Square Foot facility at Coastal Sports welcomes a new partnership to their already extensive array of sports activities and programs. Brian Martin, founder of BMartin Sports Academy, and his certified staff of performance coaches and experts bring 25 years of experience training pro football players and prospects, as well as running local ...

Peck Girls Win Core Values Award and Advance to State Robotics Tournament

MORRISTOWN, NJ - The Peck School in Morristown fielded three teams at last weekend’s FIRST Lego League Regional Robotics Competition in Clifton, NJ. All three teams were great ambassadors for Peck and one team – Peck’s first ever all-girl robotics team - won a Core Values award and will progress to the state-level tournament on December 9.

Judges rate teams in three ...

Madison Police Chief Appointed as 2018 President of the Morris County Police Chiefs Association

December 17, 2017

FLORHAM PARK, NJ - Madison Police Chief Darren P. Dachisen, Sr. was sworn in on Tuesday as the 2018 president for the Morris County Police Chiefs Association at its annual installation and awards luncheon at Park Savoy Estates in Florham Park.

Catherine Broderick, former Supervising Assistant Prosecutor with the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, was also recognized as the 2017 honorary ...

Famed Chef Marcus Samuelsson Opens Restaurant in Newark

December 12, 2017

NEWARK, NJ —  Acclaimed celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson knows what he wants and he knows how to get it.

He helped Harlem, long the hub of African-American culture, become happening again with a pair of successful restaurants that are contributing to the revitalization of the famed Manhattan neighborhood.

Samuelsson is rolling the dice by opening a new restaurant in Newark, now ...

Santa Will Be Touring Morris Township Neighborhoods This Weekend

December 16, 2017

MORRIS TOWNSHIP, NJ - Its a bird, its a plane, no...it's Santa! Santa will be making appearances around town with the help of the Morris Township Firemen this weekend.

Here is a list of dates and times where you can see Santa in and around town.

Santa and his elves will be visiting the the Hillside service area on Saturday December 16 and Sunday December 17.

The Mount Kemble ...

Holiday Benefit Concert for the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship Friday Dec. 15

MORRISTOWN, NJ - The Folk Project’s 2017 Holiday Benefit Concert for the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship will be held on Friday December 15th at MUF.  The festivities start at 7:00 PM with participatory caroling. The concert starts at 7:30 PM.  A minimum suggested donation of $15 at the door is requested.

 

The evening will be ...

First Night Morris Marks 26th Year - Tickets Available Now

TWO FIREWORKS SHOWS AND PLENTY OF ENTERTAINMENT

First Night Morris is celebrating its 26th anniversary on Dec. 31, as one of New Jersey’s biggest and brightest First Night events — a New Year’s Eve family-friendly, alcohol-free celebration of the arts – with nearly 200 artists, 85 events in 24 venues – representing dance, theatre, music, world cultures, visual ...

Morristown Plans Menorah Lighting on the Green for Wed. Dec 13

December 11, 2017

MORRISTOWN, NJ - Join Mayor Tim Dougherty for a Hanukkah Celebration on Wednesday December 13. The annual Menorah lighting will take place on the Morristown Green at 5:30pm

After the Menorah Lighting, everyone is invited to join the Jewish Community as they enjoy live music, juggling, chocolate coins and doughnuts as they celebrate Hanukkah.

The event is open to all ages and is free of ...

Lucy's Gift Hosts 1st Annual Holiday Party and Fundraiser with Sales, Food and Santa

FLORHAM PARK, NJ - Santa fun, food, live DJ music, face painter, balloon artist and more bring holiday cheer to Foundation’s mission to help others in need and fight crime

On Saturday, December 9, Lucy’s Gift will host their first annual in-store Holiday Party and Fundraiser for the Maurice J. Spagnoletti Foundation. All are welcome to the festive, family event that will take place ...

Experience Winter on the Home Front: A Civil War Christmas Dec 2nd & 3rd

Immerse Yourself In Holiday Traditions During the Civil War-Era

MORRISTOWN, NJ. If you missed it yesterday, you can still step back in time and experience the holidays during the Civil War at Historic Speedwell in Morristown. Today Sunday, December 3, from 12 noon to 4 p.m. check out how the 2nd NJ Brigade soldiers prepared food, built winter huts to keep warm, and wrote ...

Happy Hanukkah from TAPinto Morristown

December 12, 2017

MORRISTOWN, NJ -- Although Hanukkah, "The Festival of Lights," is considered a “minor” Jewish holiday, it is a popular celebration among Jewish families across America.

 

According to ReformJudaism.org, when the Maccabees entered the Temple in Jerusalem to reclaim it from the Greeks, they immediately relit the ner tamid (eternal light), which burned ...

Lucy's Gift Hosted 1st Annual Holiday Party & Fundraiser for the Maurice J. Spagnoletti Foundation

Santa fun, food, face painter, balloon artist and more brought holiday cheer to Foundation’s mission to help others in need and fight crime

FLORHAM PARK, NJ - On Saturday, December 9, Lucy’s Gift hosted their first annual in-store Holiday Party and Fundraiser for the Maurice J. Spagnoletti Foundation. All were welcome to the festive, family event at the Florham Park store located ...

Holiday Concert: Newark Boys Chorus Performs at Morristown Medical Center

MORRISTOWN, NJ - The Newark Boys Chorus will be performing in a free holiday concert at Morristown Medical Center on Friday December 8. The concert will begin at 12noonin the Malcolm Forbes Auditorium, 100 Madison Avenue.

Founded in 1969, the Newark Boys Chorus has been heard throughout the world, performing a diversified repertoire that includes traditional classical music, spirituals, folk ...

The Walls Can Talk: Through His Writings, Greystone Patient Shares His Experience on Ward North-Three-One

December 15, 2017

MORRISTOWN, NJ - Wondering what went on behind the walls of old Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital? Hear it from one Raver, Richard David Comstock, as he reaches out to us from behind the austere walls of old Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital and across nearly 90 years, to inform us about his experience as a patient on Ward North-Three-One. 

Despite his initial anxiety ...

Morristown Kids Can Track Santa Online via NORAD Site

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE — The North American Aerospace Defense Command is celebrating the 62nd Anniversary of tracking Santa’s yuletide journey via the NORAD Tracks Santa website www.noradsanta.org beginning today Dec. 1. The site features Santa’s North Pole Village, which includes a holiday countdown, games, activities, and is available in eight ...

National Weather Service Issues Black Ice Warning for Monday December 11

NEW YORK, NY - The National Weather Service has issues a Hazardous Weather Advisory for the tri-state area regarding black ice. 

Snow has melted and is expected to refreeze tonight across the tri state area. This will cause slippery conditions on untreated surfaces tonight into Monday morning.

Black ice is expected tonight into Monday morning as any standing water and slush ...

Need another reason to brush and floss? Gum disease may increase cancer risk.

A study published in the journal Cancer Research this past week looked at the oral health of over 120,000 people in the U.S. for 10 years and found a 21% increase in the risk of esophageal cancer when people had gum disease caused by certain kinds of bacteria. 

 

National Library of Medicine – HealthDay summary: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_170118.html

Journal ...

The Weaponization of Diversity

While celebrating our multi-cultural differences, and honoring all of the nuanced intricacies of humanity we created a void in acknowledging the most important of similarities.  Stripping away the layers, and understanding the collective “we” is the only way to save humanity from destruction.

One day, a friend asked if I still considered him a friend even though he was a ...

Celebrate the Season at Sparta’s 16th Annual Lake Mohawk German Christmas Market

Don’t miss this weekend’s 2017 Weihnachtsmarkt: 16th Annual Lake Mohawk German Christmas Market at Lake Mohawk in Sparta!  

Ranked as “One of the Top Ten Things to Do in December in the State”, this market offers 100+ vendors selling beautifully-crafted and unique gifts; delicious food & drink; live entertainment (from folk dancers to carolers to chainsaw wood ...

New York Jets Wide Receiver Fever

Wide receiver Robby Anderson ran the 40 yard dash in 4.3 seconds at Temple University's Pro Day back in 2016. That's lightning bolt speed. Yet, he went undrafted in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Now fast forward to last weekend, as the New York Jets played a barn burner against the Kansas City Chiefs. The accolades for this 38-31 win most definitely goes to Robby Anderson and his wide receiver ...

'It's a Wonderful Life'from film to stage to radio

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ shows surprising appeal as radio/stage production

By Liz Keill

MADISON, NJ – The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey has selected a nostalgic and heartwarming version of the classic Frank Capra movie from the 1140’s to entertain holiday audiences. “It’s a Wonderful Life” has somehow become a classic Christmas ...

Family Health

When a Stroke is Possible, Experience Makes the Difference

When it comes to accurately diagnosing whether someone has suffered a stroke, “one can never be too smart,” says Dr. Gary Belt.

Belt, a stroke neurologist at Atlantic Neuroscience Institute in Overlook Medical Center, has more than three decades of experience in making those tricky diagnoses. He knows that superficial signs that seem to indicate a stroke can’t always be ...

Make Your Opinion Known

December 14, 2017

While the tax bill is still being negotiated between the House and Senate whatever passes will result in a  budget defecit in excess of 1 trillion dollars .

The  benefits will go largely to the wealthy and corporations not working people and deductions for state and local taxes will be eliminated or reduced.

the long term effects will be reductions in many programs that benefit ...

Levine, Jacobs & Co. Shares Concerns to Consider Before Buying a Child a Smartphone

December 17, 2017

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Although smartphones can be an engaging educational tool and also allow children to communicate with parents and grandparents while they're apart, members of Levine, Jacobs & Co. Certified Public Accountants is sharing some critical concerns to consider before buying a child his or her first smartphone.

On average, American children receive their first ...

Upcoming Events

Mon, December 18

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Tue, December 19

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Carousel_image_ef592f844bb78ccf1c9f_lg_cyber_monday_sale_2017

Tue, December 19, 12:00 PM

Florham Park

Lucy's Gifts Cyber Sale

Arts & Entertainment Business & Finance

Morris County Police; Morristown Man Arrested for Controlled Substance

December 11, 2017

MORRIS COUNTY PARK POLICE  BLOTTER 11-24 through 12-2, 2017

11/24: ARREST FOR NARCOTICS: Officers executed a motor-vehicle stop for a moving violation in Morris Plains. An investigation led to Erick S. Rivera, age 27, of Morristown, to be charged with Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He was released with a court date pending.

11/27: ...

Hickory Tree Chorus offers Free A Cappella Singing Series - January 2018

December 15, 2017

The Hickory Tree Chorus chapter of Sweet Adelines International invites women singers to register for its free “Sing A Cappella Series” of vocal workshops. Women will learn to sing chord-ringing, fun-filled, four-part a cappella music, Wednesdays, January 10, 17, and 24 at 7:15pm at The Shrine of St Joseph, 1050 Long Hill Road, Stirling, NJ.  The series kicks off with a ...