When the Bough Breaks Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of When the Bough Breaks

The protagonist is a child psychologist, Alex Delaware, who after a few months retirement, though he is only 33, is asked by a friend, Milo, a police officer investigating a double murder, to have a word with a seven-year-old girl who may be a witness to the murder. The most horrific crime is gradually unfolded by Alex as he doggedly follows the trail from events that have been unexplained in the past, such as the apparent suicide of a paedophile in Alex's office, and the hit and run death of a young orphan in the middle of the night near the children's home where he is placed. The clues lead to very powerful people who are in a conspiracy going back forty years. Murder, kidnapping and child abuse are only part of it.
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Chapter Analysis of When the Bough Breaks

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Plot & Themes

How difficult to spot villain?    -   Moderately Challenging Time/era of story:    -   1980's-1999 Spying/Terrorism Thriller    -   Yes What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   60% Special suspect?    -   chronically deranged person Murder of certain profession?    -   businessmen Kind of investigator    -   amateur citizen investigator Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes General Crime (including known murderer)    -   Yes Who's the criminal enemy here?    -   drug dealers    -   finding a known killer

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   unemployed    -   psychiatrist Age:    -   20's-30's    -   40's-50's


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   California

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths Explicit sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   descript of kissing    -   actual description of sex    -   descript. of breasts    -   rape (yeech!) Unusual forms of death    -   perforation--swords/knives Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Jonathan Kellerman Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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