An academic whose bestselling, man-hating self-helper made her popular enough for somebody to murder provides another overwrought but gripping case for Dr. Alex Delaware (Over the Edge, 1987; The Web, 1996, not reviewed, etc.). Three months after most of the NYPD has given up on nailing Prof. Hope Devane's killer, Lt. Milo Sturgis wants his longtime friend and consultant Delaware to explain why the author of Wolves and Sheep was brutally stabbed to death. The problem, as Delaware soon finds, is that so many people hated Devane, "the ultimate scholar-slash-good-mother," that they might as well have given out numbers at the murder scene. Her withdrawn, older husband was afraid of losing her; her fellow-guests on the talk-show circuit made good livings (surprisingly good) from sharpening their claws on her; the students her freelance university tribunal put on trial for sexual harassment (ranging from persistent requests for dates on up to date rape) would've loved to see her permanently assigned to a higher jurisdiction. And, as usual, when Delaware digs deeper, he finds much, much more, none of it very nice. Why was Devane earning fat consulting fees from big-shot lawyer Robert Barone and fertility specialist Dr. Milan Cruvic (whose own resume shows some suspicious gaps)? And how did her childhood (which old fans of Delaware will have seen looming as the touchstone long before Delaware gets around to rooting it up) steer her toward misanthropy, kinky sex, and even darker secrets? At the heart of it all are a conspiracy that'll confirm your worst urban-legend fears and a killer so clever that the deductions and the arrest only open a new chapter in Delaware's job. The red-herring neuroses Delaware keeps digging out of Hope Devane's past make this as pulpish as you'd expect from Kellerman. But his success in pulling everything together in the end makes the entry a standout in Delaware's bumpy series.