Jupiter's Bones (Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus Series #11)

Jupiter's Bones (Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus Series #11)

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by Faye Kellerman

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When Dr. Emil Euler Ganz (later known as guru Father Jupiter) is found dead, gossip and wild conjecture are the only clues available to LAPD lieutenant Peter Decker as he faces his most shocking case to date.  See more details below


When Dr. Emil Euler Ganz (later known as guru Father Jupiter) is found dead, gossip and wild conjecture are the only clues available to LAPD lieutenant Peter Decker as he faces his most shocking case to date.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
The mass suicide of the Heaven's Gate cult fascinates me. Being an unruly sort myself, I can't imagine convincing that many egos to go along with anything as final as suicide. Nonetheless, the event struck me then, as it strikes me now, as a wretchedly sad commentary on the spiritual torpor of our time.

Faye Kellerman apparently shares my fascination, for her latest novel is a spellbinder about a cult much like Heaven's Gate, led by the quixotic former scientist Dr. Emil Ganz, a.k.a. Father Jupiter.

Kellerman manages to make this a particularly southern California story, the background noisy and vibrant with the community reaction to the suspicious death of Father Jupiter. If such cults bloomed in New Hampshire, say, we'd have a different ambience here.

The death is an excuse for Kellerman (and her fictional sleuths Pete Decker and Rina Lazarus) to look inside the cult, which she does with great and earnest skill and not without a certain sympathy for what she finds there. A lesser writer would have turned the book into an attack or low comedy. But Kellerman isn't afraid of serious religious speculation, and her look at the cult is both challenging and disturbing. In fact, in places Jupiter's Bones reminds me of Nathanael West's chagrined pity whenever he dealt with the monstrously pathetic.

Did someone inside the cult hate Father Jupiter enough to kill him? Kellerman never forgets that this is a mystery novel and keeps her A plot moving straight ahead at all times. But, like a true novelist, she allows herself and her readers to ruminate on some of the sadder truthsofour time. An excellent novel.

—Ed Gorman

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus Series, #11
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.12(d)

Read an Excerpt

Jupiter's Bones

Chapter One

"The thing is, they moved the body, Lieutenant."

"What?" Decker strained to hear Oliver's voice over the unmarked's radio static. "Who's they?"

"Whoever's acting as the head honcho of the Order, I guess. Marge did manage to seal off the bedroom. That's where Jupiter was found

"Could you talk up, Scott?"

"-- point being that the crime scene is screwed up, and the body has been messed with because of the shrine."


"Yeah. When we got here, the members were in the process of dressing him and constructing this shrine -- "

"Where's the body now?"

"In a small anteroom off some kind of church -- "

Temple, Decker heard a male voice enunciate from the background. "Someone with you, Detective?"

"Hold on, lemme.. ."

Decker tapped the steering wheel until Scott came back on the line. It took a while.

Oliver held his voice low. "I told them to stop messing with the corpse until you got here. Not being a trusting soul, I've been guarding the body with some self-appointed guru who calls himself Brother Pluto. I sent an officer in there to keep him company so we could talk more privately."

The electronic noise cracked through Decker's ear. He said, "You need to talk louder."

Oliver spoke up. "This Pluto person doesn't want the police here. He keeps insisting that the death was natural, waving this bogus death certificate to prove it, disregarding the empty fifth of Stoli underneath the bed. Which he claims wasn't Jupiter's because Jupiter didn't drink."

"Death certificate?" Decker said. "Has the coroner been there?"

"Nope. It was signed by agent named Brother Nova."

"Who's be?"

"Got me, sir."

"Did you explain to them what we're doing is standard procedure in sudden deaths?"

"I've tried to explain it, but Pluto's not listening." A laugh. "I've been biting my tongue, refraining from asking him where Goofy was."

Decker smiled. Oliver was showing unusual discretion. "Did you tell him that we have to transport the body to the morgue for autopsy?"

"Been saving the good news for you. Because right now, Pluto and his toons are not happy campers, though I suspect they've never been a cheerful lot. Who called the death in?"

"Jupiter's daughter. Her name is Europa Ganz. She's on the faculty at Southwest University of Technology. Jupiter used to be a hotshot professor there years ago. His real name is Emil Euler Ganz. Apparently, the daughter's not associated with the Order."

"So how'd she find out about the death?"

A good question. "I don't know, Scott. The details are sketchy." He hesitated. "Find out about Ganz's death certificate. This Nova must be a member of the Order, right?"

"I'd assume so. Probably some kind of in-house doctor. But that doesn't qualify him to sign off on Jupiter."

True enough. Decker's finely tuned psycho-BS-detector was on max. He said, "The static is really bad. I'm having trouble hearing you. Just keep status quo until I get there. "

"We're trying. But the parishioners are getting feisty. Is 'parishioners' the right word?"

It was fine with Decker although cult followers seemed more apropos. "Just try to keep everyone quiet."

"How far are you from the holy spot?"

"Four, five miles. Traffic's a little thick. I'll be there in about fifteen minutes."

"See you." Oliver clicked off.

The initial call had come through while Decker was still home, eating breakfast with his younger daughter, who was as skinny as the stick figures she drew. Hannah thought it was great fun to pick the raisins from her oatmeal, leaving behind the grainy mush. Decker was trying to spoon-feed her, attempting to get some nutrition down her gullet until Rina aptly pointed out that the child was five, and capable of feeding herself.

He lived about twenty minutes by freeway from the station house, about thirty-five minutes from the crime scene. That was on good days, and today wasn't one of them. Decker ran his left hand through strands of ginger hair now streaked with white, and settled into the seat of the unmarked Buick. He guzzled strong coffee from a thermos. Across the passenger's seat was the front page of the Los Angeles Times.

Eight-oh-five and nothing was moving.

Inching his way up to the next off-ramp, he decided to exit and take Devonshire. The boulevard was one of the main east-west arteries through the San Fernando Valley, six lanes lined with strip malls, wholesalers and industrial warehouses. Going farther west, the street's industry gave way to residences-stucco ranch houses sitting on flat land that once held agricultural orchards -- oranges, lemons, apricots. He and Rina had recently purchased a house in the area, intending to move in after a few minor renovations.

Which had turned (predictably) into a major overhaul.

He could have done the job himself if he hadn't been gainfully employed. So they bit the bullet, hiring subs while Rina acted as the contractor. One day, Decker had come to the property to find his wife precariously balanced on a ladder, pointing out to the roofer a defect near the chimney. Her skin blew in the wind as she spoke animatedly, though Decker couldn't hear a word of the conversation. Apparently the roofer had run the hose over the top of the house for twenty minutes, proudly pronouncing the place water-tight. But Rina had been skeptical. She had run the hose for three hours, discovering a leak after two hours and twenty minutes.

(The first rain would have ruined the hardwood floors, Peter.)

Decker smiled, thinking about her image -- that of his Orthodox Jewish wife perched on the highest rung of a tall ladder, one hand pointing out flaws while the other held down that hat she wore to cover her hair.

The scene helped to buoy his spirits. The day was gray and dirty, typical overcast May weather in Los Angeles. At least the cars were moving. He proceeded west into open terrain, the foothills on the right greened by the recent rains. They had become rolling waves of wild grass and flowers, spewing their pollens, making it a miserable allergy season. What Decker wouldn't have given to have the Allegra concession this year.

Jupiter's Bones. Copyright © by Faye Kellerman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Jupiter's Bones (Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus Series #11) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Camp jupiter Result I: welcome, rules and oath of allegince Result II: bios Result III: CAMP Result IV: armory Result V: parthon Result VI: temple Result VII: forest Result: VIII-beyond: restricted Oath: i wil swear my aligance to the holy roman empire and jupiter if i fail to do so all mighty jupiter strike me down Rules: listen to your leaders no giving fauns anything kill children of neptune and pluto they are bad luck kill greeks on sight obey the gods and may holy rome be with you Welcome - camp leader jason
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Camp jupiter?
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A good, basic mystery with an interesting scenario. Not the best ending, but I am super picky about those. Fun for fluff reading before bed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm not an avid reader, but yesterday I sat down and began reading. I finally put the book down as I was falling asleep in the wee hours of the morning, only to pick it up once again when I woke up. It was absolutely captivating. I loved it. I am looking forward to reading Stalker. I too wish there were a glossary for those of us who do not have a strong understanding of the Jewish religion.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Storyline is interesting. Unfortunately there is too much religious input. For those of us who are not orthodox jewish, the overload of reference, technical information and language take away from an otherwise captivating storyline.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a must read. I couldn't put the book down. Hold on to your seat - it's quite a ride. Really enjoyed it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put the book down I was so intrigued by the knowledge it took to write such a specific story. She explained in great detail the very intellectual parts of the book that would have been over my head otherwise. I love the Decker/Rina books, which I just started reading this year. Although I am not Jewish, I find the insight fascinating. I only wish there would be a glossary for those of us who do not know the language.