Like Father, Like Daughter
From Faye Kellerman, half of one of the literary world's most successful writing couples, comes a new Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus novel: Stalker. This time out, Kellerman focuses on Peter Decker's daughter, Cindy, who in the last book of the series, Justice, declared her intent to become a cop like her father, much to Peter's dismay. Now, in Stalker, Cindy has made it through her training and is working as a rookie. And she's having some problems that make Peter's worst fears for her come true.
Having a somewhat famous lieutenant father on the force is enough to put a chip on some cops' shoulders. For Cindy Decker, it seems to alienate her to some cops and makes others tiptoe around her. This delicate détente isn't helped any by Cindy's tendency to say what she thinks and harbor a mulish stubbornness. The fact that she is a woman in what used to be an exclusive brotherhood only adds names to the list of those who resent her. And the final nail in her coffin is her college education and degree in psychology, a fact some of her street-smart but book-dumb coworkers view as a threat. So as a rookie, Cindy's life on the job is complicated enough. But when she shows up her superior officer, Clark Tropper, in a domestic hostage situation, things get even stickier.
Cindy's struggles are compounded by her father's overprotectiveness. Although he tries to keep his distance and let Cindy have some independence, his paternal instincts often get in the way. And it turns out he has a lot to be concerned about when he learns that Cindy's apartment has been broken into several times and someone may be following her. What's more, a recent rash of carjackings that Peter is investigating may be related to the jacking/kidnapping and fiery crash death of land developer Armand Crayton the year before. And it turns out that Cindy not only knew the victim, but someone took a few potshots at the twosome as they were leaving their gym together not long before Armand was killed.
Although Cindy's current troubles don't appear to have anything in common with Armand's death or the carjackings, neither Cindy nor Peter can shake a gut feeling that they are all somehow connected. While a few officers claim some of the incidents Cindy has experienced are a form of hazing imposed on her by her fellow cops, the very nature of the incidents escalates in both severity and frequency to the point that Cindy starts to fear for her life. What's worse, the very people who are responsible for keeping her alive on the streets -- her fellow police officers -- are at the top of her list of suspects. By the time Cindy uncovers the truth, a truth more shocking than anyone suspects, it will be the same stubborn willfulness that caused some of her troubles that will end up saving her life.
One of Kellerman's greatest strengths is the depth and breadth of her characters, whose eccentricities and details make them seem so real, you half expect to encounter them on the street. Kellerman also has a flair for detail that, in this case, brings the subculture of the police world to vivid life. While the character of Peter Decker has been a creative and literary gold mine for Kellerman, the stubborn and spunky character of Decker's daughter, Cindy, is worth the launch of a whole new series all her own.