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The Beast: A Decker/Lazarus Novel (Decker/Lazarus Novels) Hardcover – August 6, 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 492 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Faye Kellerman lives with her husband, New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman, in Los Angeles, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Product Details

  • Series: Decker/Lazarus Novels (Book 21)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1st Printing edition (August 6, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062121758
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062121752
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (492 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #391,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
THE BEAST begins with Gabe Whitman, the piano prodigy, seventeen-year-old foster son of Rina and LA Lieutenant Peter Decker completing a day of testifying for the prosecution in a rape case. It quickly moves on to investigating complaints of neighbors about the smell from an apartment where the police discover a full grown lion and a dead man. The investigation reveals that the victim, an eighty-nine-year-old billionaire recluse named Hobart Penny, was very strange, was willing to pay for whatever he wanted, especially kinky sex, and had no friends. He also had some very unusual collections, part of which lead to other potential victims.
A subplot revolves around Gabe's relationship with fifteen-year-old Yasmine Nourmand.
LA Lieutenant Peter Decker and his partners, Marge and Oliver, are the central character in the latest of Faye Kellerman's Rina Lazarus/Peter Decker series. When the series began, Rina Lazarus was the main character and the main story line involved her and her life. She and Peter didn't know each other. Rina barely played a role in this book. She's described as a stereotypical patient, devoted housewife who took care of the house and family, maintained their social life, prayed, exercised, and taught at a Jewish High School. The cover calls it "A Decker/Lazarus Novel with Rina in second place."
Kellerman also brings in Dr. Alex Delaware, the main character of some of Faye's husband Jonathan's novels.
The end of the book suggests major changes for the family but seemed rushed.
THE BEAST talks around the opening case but it seems that it is a continuation of a previous book. The particulars are omitted and left me wanting more information.
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I've read all of Faye Kellerman's books and many of those by her husband and/or their son. This series (Peter/Rina) started with the enchanting and disturbing "Ritual Bath" book and went from there - telling the family and professional stories of the characters over the past couple of decades - some better than others, with a turn for the good with the introduction of Chris Donatti, villain par excellence. (His one-time friend/paramour, later mother of Gabe, started out as a good character too, but became totally unlike herself a few books later, and was annoyingly written to run off to India and not be in the series much at all.)

Unfortunately, this story really reads like Kellerman rushed to slap something together for the publisher. Aside from the usual problems that plague well-anticipated sequels, such as grammar and spelling errors, the plot has a bunch of gaping holes and the ending just falls off.

The book opens with a peculiar murder scene, involving a tiger and later many other dangerous animals/snakes/insects. The murder victim is an elderly, wealthy recluse. His family and its relationships were a high point of this otherwise mediocre book, because they were drawn realistically and memorably, if a bit too treacly at times.

The murder was a weird combination of different people's actions and motivations, without getting into spoiler-y detail. However, none of the motivations were really clearly laid out, and there were a bunch of characters with more interest than we were told in the story. Also, the detective work was way too easy compared to previous Decker cases. And in the end, they made reference to planning various investigations, and then there's just a paragraph wrap-up with none of that actually done.
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I've read most of the books in this series, not because I think Faye Kellerman is a particularly good writer (she's not and never has been) but because her books have been okay, reasonably satisfying when you don't want to think and just need a time-killer. This book is plain awful, from its silly premise and plot to the poor writing and complete lack of editing. From the beginning, you have to believe (Strike 1) that an 89-year-old main keeps a tiger in his apartment building AND HIS NEIGHBORS DON'T KNOW it. More ludicrous still (Strike 2), that a frail 89-year-old man manages to keep a tiger in his apartment without becoming dinner himself. Wild animals are wild animals, and even one of the famous Las Vegas big-cat trainers was seriously mauled. Then (Strike 3) you have to deal with the fact that Rina, originally the main character in this series, and formerly a spunky and intelligent woman, has devolved into a pathetic, boring, stupid 1950s housewife, cooking meals for her man, contacting the children, soothing everyone, and having no personality whatsoever. I wouldn't have been surprised if she turned up at the door clad only in Saran Wrap to make her man Decker happy. (Wait, that might've been something from the 1960s, not the 1950s.) Kellerman was obviously floundering about the plot because she needed filler material and threw in, for instance, a first chapter that has nothing to do with the rest of the book and is completely out of context. Early on, this book got on my nerves, but then I started amusing myself by looking for the next unreadable sentence or lack of editing, which became too easy. Some early examples: "His father's brothels patronized all sorts of men..." (HUH???) or "Oliver returned back after 15 minutes..." or "...rapping (sic) the solid chain around the gate...Read more ›
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