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Hangman (Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus Series #19)
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Hangman (Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus Series #19)

3.5 323
by Faye Kellerman

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Murder, a missing woman, and a sociopath from the past sweep Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus into a labyrinth of mystery and danger in this electrifying new tale of suspense from New York Times bestselling author Faye Kellerman. . . .

Fifteen years ago, high school senior Chris Whitman went to jail for murdering his


Murder, a missing woman, and a sociopath from the past sweep Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus into a labyrinth of mystery and danger in this electrifying new tale of suspense from New York Times bestselling author Faye Kellerman. . . .

Fifteen years ago, high school senior Chris Whitman went to jail for murdering his girlfriend, Cheryl Diggs. Propelled by a misguided sense of chivalry, he confessed, determined to save another classmate, the beautiful and vulnerable Terry McLaughlin, from having to testify at his trial. When the truth came out, Chris was released from prison, married Terry—pregnant with his child—and changed his last name to Donatti. He also became a professional killer.

Peter Decker was the detective on the case, and over the years, he and Terry kept in touch. Now his friend is in L.A. and asking for a favor. Though Decker knows full well that getting involved will bring Terry's sociopathic husband back into his life, the obsessive and duty-bound LAPD lieutenant reluctantly agrees. The favor soon becomes complicated when Terry goes missing and Donatti disappears, leaving their fourteen-year-old son, Gabe, with no one to turn to except Decker and his wife, Rina Lazarus.

But Peter's search for Terry must share center stage with a gruesome murder. Adrianna Blanc, a neonatal nurse at St. Timothy's Hospital, had signed off her night shift at eight a.m. Six hours later, a foreman supervising the construction of a house in a nearby suburb discovered her body swinging from the rafters, a cable wire around her neck. Her car was found where she had parked it the night before, with no signs of foul play.

A dedicated and conscientious professional, Adrianna had a circle of close friends. Yet as Decker and his able team soon learn, the young woman also had her share of detractors. A party-hearty girl, she enjoyed booze, kinky sex, and revenge-cheating on her boyfriend, Garth Hammerling, another nurse at St. Tim's. Suspicions heat up when Decker and his team find that one of Adrianna's last phone calls was a provocative and disturbing message to her vacationing boyfriend—who himself has vanished without a trace. Was Adrianna's death something personal because of her carefree lifestyle? Or was this unusually cruel and very dramatic murder the first signs of a serial killer? With lives hanging in the balance, Decker and his colleagues, Sergeant Marge Dunn and Detective Scott Oliver, need to find answers and fast.

As if juggling two investigations weren't enough for the lieutenant (not to mention turning sixty!), things are becoming even more dangerous with his precarious home life. Ever the concerned parent, Decker wants to look after Terry's son, Gabe. Yet who will protect his own family? Because if there's one thing he knows for sure, with a sociopath like Donatti on the loose, no one is ever really safe.

Editorial Reviews

In this double barrel mystery, Peter Decker deals with something old and something new. For the LAPD Lieutenant, the disappearance of a young mother and her sociopathic professional killer husband evokes disquieting memories about a 15-year-old homicide, a false confession, and its strange aftermath. While contemplating that provocative case, Decker and his wife Rina Lazarus must also solve the perplexing hanging death of a neonatal nurse party girl. Crisp plotting; some fetching false leads.
Publishers Weekly
Kellerman once again mixes mystery and soap opera in her 19th novel featuring Lt. Peter Decker of the LAPD and his wife, Rina Lazarus (after Blindman's Bluff). Terry McLaughlin, a doctor and battered wife, asks Decker, who's an old friend, to help mediate a meeting with her abusive husband. When McLaughlin disappears soon after the meeting, her 14-year-old son, Gabe, a gifted piano prodigy, is left on his own. Welcomed into the Decker/Lazarus household, Gabe is allowed to attend their youngest daughter's Jewish day school, even though he's Catholic. Meanwhile, Decker fears that an unidentified woman who's found hanged at a construction site may be Gabe's mother. Readers should be prepared for some unconvincing police procedure (members of Decker's team obliviously contaminate a crime scene) and some stilted prose ("Everything works out. Sometimes it works out good. And sometimes it works out bad. It's the bad that concerns me"), but series fans will cheer the serendipitous developments that lead to a better life for Gabe. (Aug.)
Kirkus Reviews

Even though he's working an endless homicide, LAPD Lt. Peter Decker celebrates his 60th birthday by opening his house to a new child.

Believing that she'd had an abortion, Chris Donatti got into a shouting match with his wife, St. Timothy's ER physician Teresa McLaughlin. The episode would be forgettable if the argument hadn't erupted in violence and if Donatti, whom Decker first encountered 15 years ago, weren't a professional killer. Now Terry, afraid to be alone with him, begs Decker to sit in on the meeting in which she announces the terms of their separation. When she disappears the next day, the case becomes Decker's. So does the responsibility for Gabe, her 14-year-old son (though not necessarily Donatti's), who moves into Decker's house for just one night and then stays on at the insistence of Rina Lazarus, Decker's wife. And so does the death of Adrianna Blanc, a pediatric nurse at St. Tim's whose corpse is found hanging from a construction site around the corner. Adrianna's strangling, which seems linked to every felony committed in southern California and greater Las Vegas over a two-year period, ought to absorb every ounce of Decker's attention. But even though it leads him to a dozen blind alleys and two independent serial killers, it's the fate of Gabe, a gifted piano prodigy who's had to grow up awfully fast, that's more engaging.

The mystery depends on too many coincidences to take it seriously, but Kellerman (Blindman's Bluff, 2009, etc.) is more interested in the domestic details anyway.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus Series , #19
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

Meet the Author

Faye Kellerman is the author of twenty-seven novels, including twenty New York Times bestselling mysteries that feature the husband-and-wife team of Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus. She has also penned two bestselling short novels with her husband, New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman, and recently has teamed up with her daughter Aliza to co-write a teen novel titled Prism. She lives in Los Angeles, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Brief Biography

Beverly Hills, California
Date of Birth:
July 31, 1952
Place of Birth:
St. Louis, Missouri
B.A. in Mathematics, 1974; D.D.A., 1978

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Hangman (Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus Series #19) 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 323 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Los Angeles Police Department Lieutenant sexagenarian Peter Decker knows rumored New York hitman Chris Donatti and the alleged killer's wife Terry McLaughlin. He met them on a case fifteen years ago when the couple were in high school; Chris confessed to a murder he did not do to protect Terry. Now, both vanish after a fight and their young teenage son Gabe calls Peter. The cop and his wife Rina Lazarus takes the boy into their home though they worry about psychopathic Chris harming their daughter. Meanwhile Decker searches for the vanished parents. At the same time, Peter leads the inquiry into the brutal murder of St. Timothy Hospital's neonatal nurse Adrianna Blanc. She was found hanging at a construction site with her car still in the hospital lot. Decker and his team Sergeant Marge Dunn and Detective Scott Oliver learn the victim enjoyed booze and sex. Her boyfriend Nurse Garth Hammerling has also vanished while on vacation. This is a strong entry in the long running series due to the comparative analysis of two families. Decker-Lazarus is a loving unit with a strong relationship between them and with their daughter. On the other hand Donatti-McLaughlin is a dysfunctional unit with a history of violence with a piano prodigy offspring who uses music to escape his life. Although the inquires take a strange twist, fans will relish this fine police procedural as Decker fears Donatti might harm his family., but he and his spouse try to do what they believe is the right thing. Harriet Klausner
dhaupt More than 1 year ago
The life of a homicide detective is never dull, even if you're the boss and sometimes because you're the boss. Pete gets a blast from the past when someone from a previous case asks for help, he may be getting in over his head but he has to try. In the mean time there's a killer on the loose and it looks like there's more questions than clues. In this her 19th novel in the Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus series, you'd think that they'd start to get a little stale, well you'd be barking up the wrong tree because they are just getting better and better. Her story line is always fresh and current with what's going on in the world of crime fighting, and this time we get more than one case to solve in the tale, so more bang for our buck. Her characters are always interesting and entertaining and since we who are fans of the series know them, it's like catching up with old friends. Her main protagonists the Deckers are as always, right in the thick of things and that goes for Rina as well as Pete. It's also refreshing to see a couple who've been happily together for a long time, it gives old married people like me someone to empathize with. It's also nice to see genuine caring and giving people portrayed in literature, it gives me hope still for our world. Hangman stands very well on it's own, but why deny yourself the immense pleasure in really getting to know these characters, so if this is your first in the series, go back and be sure to read the rest.
1DANA3 More than 1 year ago
There are lots of twists and turns to keep the readers' interest as an old friend of Decker's needs his help to protect her from her abusive husband. Lots of thrills and suspense!
BookCore More than 1 year ago
I like almost all of the Faye Kellerman books, bcs I like the main characters (Decker and Lazarus) and of course, I love the California setting. This one brings back some characters from the past - Chris Donatti and Terry McLaughlin. Now I want to go back and re-read the book that introduced them.
medic2237 More than 1 year ago
This book has some twist and turns you dont really see coming. That in and of it's self makes it a good book for me. But either way still a good read tht has a few surprises. Kellerman is a force to b reckoned with!
bridget3420 More than 1 year ago
This is the first book of this series that I have read. I'm definitely going to check out the other 18. I really enjoyed Faye's writing and the plot. If you like James Patterson, I think you'll like Faye.
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I've enjoyed all of the Rina/Decker books I've read so far and hope to read the entire series, eventually. The plot twists and challenging and she develops her characters well.
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The Peter Decker / Rina Lazarus series never fails to provide a good read.
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hagar51 More than 1 year ago
As usual I super book by Faye!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the Decker character & how he & his family are interwoven with the story. Can hardly wait to read all the Decker series!
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