Not that Kellerman isn't happy to milk trendy topics for all their headline value. Self-Defense manages to incorporate repressed memory, hypnosis, murderer groupies, serial killers, copycat criminals, and jailhouse autobiographers into its hero's attempt to unravel two puzzles, one the present-day case of a patient who may be the target of a killer; the other the young woman's recurring nightmare that seems to be the memory of a decades-old crime.
If there's a flaw in the Alex Delaware novels, which are rarely less than intelligent and engrossing, it may be the too-good guy at their core. Delaware, a wealthy, attractive professional who tends to his girlfriend, Robin, and his koi pond with equal earnestness, is poised, calm, even-kelled, sympathetic in short, a perfect therapist but a drab detective. If he ever had a cranky day, a panicky moment, a fleeting neurosis, it happened when readers weren't looking. Perhaps it's time for Kellerman to solve that mystery. Until then, Self-Defense will do nicely. B