Serpent's Tooth

Faye Kellerman, Author William Morrow & Company $24 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-15649-7
Layering crisis upon crisis, Kellerman builds a page-turner in this 10th Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus novel, which, like previous titles in the series (most recently Prayers for the Dead), is based on a complex, carefully established network of relationships. A former employee of a ritzy restaurant opens fire there, killing 13 people and wounding dozens; then he commits suicide. Or so it seems, until LAPD Lieutenant Peter Decker and his team spot inconsistencies. Fatal bullets came from several directions; a single gunman could not have sprayed so many shots; and one murdered couple left an estate worth millions. Decker suspects their daughter, Jeanine Garrison, a beautiful but manipulative charity organizer with penchants for power and handsome young tennis players. He connects her with a suspected killer, but she pressures police brass to back off and then hits the detective with a bogus sexual harassment complaint. When a mysterious drug overdose kills her brother, Jeanine gets the entire inheritance. While Decker struggles with the murders (the grisly killings trigger Vietnam flashbacks) and departmental politics, his older daughter from his first marriage, Cindy, decides to become a cop. Decker is appalled, but Cindy's ambition could help crack the case. Decker's wife, Rina Lazarus, stands on the sidelines here, trying to smooth relations between their Orthodox Jewish household and Decker's adoptive Baptist family, until it's she who makes use of her husband's past to reveal the final piece of the puzzle. Lots of action, an intricate plot and credible, multi-dimensional characters make this another standout entry in an evolving series. 175,000 first printing; major ad/promo. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
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Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-671-57757-5
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Ebook - 432 pages - 978-0-06-147781-2
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Hardcover - 436 pages - 978-0-7553-2007-3
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