Hey, call me naive, or plain ignorant, but I had no clue when I borrowed this mystery from the library that it was actually part of a series. I had never heard of the recurring character LAPD Peter Decker and his Jewish Orthodox wife Rina Lazarus. But by now I know better, and I’ll probably look for more.
I remembered Kellerman from a short story in the collection called “A Woman’s Eye“. I was looking forward to a police procedural (the paper equivalent of slouching on the sofa with ice cream and watching Law & Order reruns late into the night), and it did fulfill the contract (minus the calories, which is just as well). I did stay up late to finish this page-turner, whose last 100-150 pages are pure action, adrenaline, and easy entertainment to sort out a complex plot.
Yet the fun came from unexpected sides, because the cover jacket (in my edition) was quite misleading to me. It presents a young woman who can’t tell her family and friends of being stalked by a psycho. I was thinking Tess Gerritsen or Patricia Cornwell, but it’s not that at all. There’s some violence, but it’s more realist than graphic.
The young woman is Cindy Decker, a 25 year-old policewoman, fresh into the force and daughter of a renowned detective in LAPD. She has a hard time fitting in, as a woman, as a university graduate, and as the daughter of everybody-knows-whom. That is the primary reason why she can’t tell of her stalker. It all starts like a bad hazing prank, and there’s no lack of people around who would be happy to take her down a peg or two. Cindy doesn’t want to complain, and she even less wants to tell her famous daddy about it. But soon things escalate and a lot of people get involved.
Funnily enough, even though it was the first time I’d heard about them, what worked best was the duet Peter Decker / Rina, who are supposed to stay in the background but still steal the show. Between them exist a real family dynamics, and when you add partners and colleagues like Marge and Hayley Smith, you have a nice little world brimming with life. Cindy’s character worked well in her interactions with her father, but I did find her a bit whiny and snooty with all her colleagues. I don’t want to step forward as a possible suspect, but if it had been in my workplace I too would have loved to take her down a peg or two (but you can take my word for it, I’m no evil stalker, eh eh).