The nearly identical suicides of two students at a prestigious private school, both involving stolen handguns, pique the interest of LAPD Lieutenant Detective Pete Decker and his squad. But the focus here is less on Decker and his wife, Rina Lazarus, than on Gabe Whitman, the son of a friend who’s living with them temporarily. Gabe, a 15-year-old musical prodigy, also has street smarts learned from his mobster father, Chris Donatti, that stand him in good stead when he’s “crowded” and threatened by the clique called the B&W Mafia. Home-schooled Gabe also falls head-over-heels in love with 14-year-old Yasmine Nourmand. While the reciprocal relationship is grounded in love of music (plus raging hormones), it appears doomed by cultural and religious differences. Plot threads intertwine head-on in a violent confrontation, eventually tying up most loose ends extremely satisfactorily. The twentieth Decker/Lazarus novel shows Kellerman in fine form, taking on the au courant issue of bullying, in a slick, fast-moving mystery that should entice even those new to the series. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: After a slight misstep with Hangman, Kellerman returns to fine form here, and fans of the long-running series will return as well. --Michele Leber
From the Back Cover
Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus are back in this gripping mystery involving a secret cabal of some of Los Angeles’ most wealthy—and vicious—teens
LAPD lieutenant detective Decker and his wife, Rina, have willingly welcomed fifteen-year-old Gabriel Whitman, the son of a troubled former friend, into their home. While the enigmatic teen seems to be adapting easily, Decker knows only too well the secrets adolescents keep—witnessed by the tragic suicide of another teen, Gregory Hesse, a student at Bell and Wakefield, one of the city’s most exclusive prep schools.
Gregory’s mother, Wendy, refuses to believe her son shot himself and convinces Decker to look deeper. What he finds disturbs him. The gun used in the tragedy was stolen—evidence that propels him to launch a full investigation with his trusted team, Sergeant Marge Dunn and Detective Scott Oliver. But the case becomes darkly complicated by the suicide of another Bell and Wakefield student—a death that leads them to uncover an especially nasty group of rich and privileged students with a predilection for guns and violence. Decker thought he understood kids, yet the closer he and his team get to the truth, the clearer it becomes that he knows very little about them, including his own charge, Gabe. The son of a gangster and an absent parent, the boy has had a life filled with too much free time, too many unexplained absences, and too little adult supervision.
Before it’s over, the case and all its terrifying ramifications will take Decker and his detectives down a dark alley of twisted allegiances and unholy alliances, culminating at a heart-stopping point of no return.