When you're the wife of a cop, all it takes is a single phone call from the police to send your heart reeling. But after learning that her husband and children are safe, Rina Lazarus's fright turns to fury. Someone has viciously vandalized the storefront temple where Rina and her family worship. And though years of living with religious intolerance should have steeled her, Rina quickly summons her husband, Detective Lieutenant Peter Decker, to find and arrest the culprit.
Not surprisingly, it's just a boy who claims responsibility for the crime. But something about the confession of Ernesto Golding, the 17-year-old scion of wealthy parents, and the easy sentencing of community service and counseling that he receives, leaves Decker troubled. How could a single young man wreak such total destruction on his own? And if he wasn't alone, then who acted with him or encouraged him to commit such a senseless crime?
It isn't long before Decker has more to worry about than another troubled teen spiraling out of control. Only weeks after entering counseling, Ernesto and his therapists are brutally murdered. And their deaths are only the beginning.
Now what seemed like and open-and-shut case has turned far deadlier that anyone could have imagined. And as the body count mounts, Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus find themselves thrust into the world of the nouveau riche, where hate and greed lie just beneath the surface of a glittering facade, twisted minds admire winning above all else, and a child's academic success is the ultimate status symbol.
Because in a world as perverted as this, the desire to be the best has driven otherwise good parents to do very bad things, leaving them and their families at the mercy of a killer who has his own reasons for needing to succeed. Few can resist the lure of his attractively disguised promise. None can hide from his psychopathic reach. And this time, not even Decker's own stepson will emerge unscarred from the search for a killer.
In this complex, disturbing novel (after 2000's Stalker), Kellerman again adroitly balances Rina Lazarus's consuming Orthodox Judaism with the broader societal issues faced by her husband, L.A. homicide detective Peter Decker. Here they intertwine when the vicious defacement of their synagogue reverberates in a widening circle of murders. Ernesto Golding, a troubled, spoiled youth and acquaintance of Rina's son, Jacob, confesses to the crime, but several months later Ernesto and his therapists, Mervin and Dee Baldwin, are murdered. Ernesto had discovered that his beloved grandfather may have been a Nazi who escaped Germany disguised as a Jew. While Rina delves into this provocative strand of the plot, Peter and his staff investigate hate groups. Then another killing ties the therapists to not only the hate groups but also an insidious current of psychological and sexual manipulation and computer fraud. Kellerman focuses on the plight of desperate young people misused and misunderstood by their parents, who apply unbearable pressures for success on their often- bewildered children. She also shows the deepening love and rapport between Decker and his stepson as Jacob helps solve the case. Although the Holocaust subplot seems forced to give Rina a larger role, the author, as usual, seamlessly weaves her themes of religious belief and familial respect into a multilayered thriller, with finely realized characters and a tangible sense of place. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kellerman's latest addition to her popular series is another gripping police procedural and engaging family drama. When the synagogue his family attends is viciously defaced, L.A. homicide detective Peter Decker becomes personally involved. With Peter's help, Ernesto Golding, a 17-year-old acquaintance of Peter's stepson, Jacob, confesses. Recently coming to believe that his grandfather, always a somewhat secretive man, was a Nazi who merely posed as a Jew to escape Europe, Ernesto seemed to be expressing his anger and confusion through vandalism. When Ernesto is found murdered along with his therapist at an exclusive camp catering to the disturbed children of the very wealthy, Peter's personal interest becomes professional. While Simon and Schuster's production is well abridged and features an outstanding narration by Dennis Boutsikaris, the unabridged edition read by Barrett Whitener contains all the details series fans will crave. Either version would be a solid addition to mystery collections; choosing between them will depend on budget and patron preference. Beth Farrell, Portage Cty. Dist. Lib., OH Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Back again-and in top form-are LAPD Homicide Lieutenant Peter Decker and his wife Rina Lazarus (Jupiter's Bones, etc.) for their 13th praiseworthy attempt to cope with a world they never made. This time the trouble starts when a vandal defaces Rina's storefront synagogue with spray-painted swastikas and other testaments to hate-mongering. Rina is shattered, Peter enraged. Though it doesn't take long to catch the culprit, at first glance Ernesto Golding seems not to fit the profile. He's bright, a good student, even charming. He's also half-Jewish. But, as events prove, Ernesto is an extremely disturbed young man, mixed up in a variety of extracurricular activities, all of them either sexually or socially destructive. To stay out of jail, Ernesto agrees to seek help from the doctors Baldwin, a husband and wife team of therapists. This shady pair prescribes survivalist training for Ernesto, at a camp run oh-so-profitably by the Baldwins themselves. It turns out to be extremely bad medicine, however, for the therapists as well as Ernesto. All three are gruesomely murdered. A dangerously deranged person, Decker decides, is acting out some sort of complex fantasy, but who, and what sort? "Every time we get a suspect," he laments, "he winds up dead." Meanwhile, the Decker household continues its unflagging soap-opera run. Orthodox Jew Rina and secular Jew Decker remain the at-odds couple on most available domestic fronts, while agreeing always that they love each other irrevocably. Warm, funny, fast-moving, even decently written: Kellerman at her unassuming best.