Faye Kellerman's latest thriller features Cynthia Decker, daughter of Peter Decker, familiar to readers of the author's previous novels featuring the L.A. detective and his Orthodox Jewish wife Rina Lazarus. In Kellerman's earlier books, we've met Cynthia briefly as a difficult adolescent upset by her parents' divorce and later as an Ivy League college student with an interest in following her overly protective father into the family business: solving crimes. Now Cynthia's a young L.A. cop who's the subject of what at first seems like innocent-enough teasing from her colleagues. They think she's snooty and standoffish and riding on her father's reputation. Actually, she's all of those things, which makes for a somewhat less than sympathetic heroine:
Beaudry said, "Every time we start shooting the bull, talking about the day, you say things like, 'Yeah, my father once had a case like that.'"
"I'm trying to relate."
"It pisses people off. It makes them think that their experiences are nothin' special. Everyone wants to feel special. You already feel special because you've got all this college. You gotta remember that the average Joe on the force is a high school graduate, maybe a couple of years at a junior college like me. If you're real smart, okay, you do a four-year state, then enter the academy with the idea of doing the gold."
"Like my dad--"
"Stop mentioning your dad. He isn't a legend, Decker, he's a pencil pusher."
As the teasing escalates, Cindy's stalked, threatened, and finally frightened, although it pains her to admit it. There's a killer on the loose, and even if she's not the best cop on the force, she knows enough to turn to her father for help. But first, she has a brief affair with one of the men under his command. It seems a little too obvious a ploy for Daddy's attention and hardly adds to her character--we already know she's immature and a bit of a bitch. But at least this maneuver brings Peter back on the scene, allowing Kellerman to hit her stride as she gets back to a character who holds the reader's interest because he's more than two-dimensional. Sadly, Cindy's not quite ready for prime time; perhaps she'll grow up in her next outing. Or better yet, Kellerman will bring us more adventures by Peter and Rina. --Jane Adams
From Publishers Weekly
LAPD detective Peter Decker, promoted to lieutenant after his heroics in Jupiter's Bones (1999), is overloaded with troubles in this outstanding, suspense-packed mystery, the 12th in Kellerman's acclaimed series. As usual, a challenging case distracts Decker from his family, but this time there is one difference. Cindy, his smart, outspoken daughter from his first marriage, is now a cop, to the overprotective Decker's dismay. Meanwhile, Decker is faced with two different series of car-jackings. In one string, the thief targets young women carrying babies. The cops tie the other jackings to Armand Crayton, a sleazy real estate developer who had supposedly died in a car crash a year earlier, after being kidnapped. Several women Crayton knew have been threatened, their cars stolen. When Drecker discovers that an anonymous stalker has been harassing Cindy, he hits the roof. Is it one of her colleagues, or does trouble stem from her casual acquaintance with Crayton? Kellerman is a fine writer, beautifully evoking the feel of Los Angeles and creating scenes that would please Chandler and MacDonald. She deals realistically with the problems women face in a male police world. Her development of the tense father-daughter relationship is wise and honest: Decker is torn between his inability to accept Cindy as an independent adult and his pride in her accomplishments; meanwhile, Cindy respects and loves her father but is distraught by his interference in her personal and professional life. The complex Cindy is a most welcome addition to Kellerman's cast. (Aug.)
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