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The Garden of Eden and Other Criminal Delights Hardcover – August 21, 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bestseller Kellerman's hardcore fans will welcome this eclectic volume, whose 17 selections include two new tales about her series husband-and-wife team, LAPD Lt. Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus; two stories with family themes, one coauthored with Kellerman's two daughters ("The Luck of the Draw"); and a pair of autobiographical essays, one a poignant tribute to her late father ("The Summer of My Womanhood"). Kellerman's short stories may lack the intricate plotting of her novels (Stone Kiss, etc.), but a typical effort like the title story, in which Decker notices some things out of place when a friend dies of an apparent heart attack, is never less than entertaining. Brief comments at the start of each entry provide context. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Kellerman may be best known for her Rina Lazarus-Peter Decker mysteries, but she's also written numerous short stories, 18 of which are collected in this rather varied anthology. Not all of the stories fall within Kellerman's usual crime beat. "Luck of the Draw," for example, a collaboration between Kellerman and her daughters (at the time, 11 and 15), is a pleasant tale in which a sudden windfall causes a close-knit family to reassess its economic priorities. On the other hand, "Mummy and Jack," which Kellerman wrote with her author-playwright son, Jesse, is a dark psychological thriller. Rina and Peter appear in several stories, and Kellerman includes a tale starring one of her first PI characters, Andrea Darling. Greed, dashed hopes, and boredom, occasionally leavened with a touch of humor, are the stuff of many others. A brief note about how each selection came to be heads each tale. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First Edition edition (August 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446530395
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446530392
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,901,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rebecca Huston on December 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Faye Kellerman's novels of crime and psychological turmoil have earned a permanent spot on my reading shelves, albeit I've noticed a general slide towards a flat, repetitive style in the last few novels. But now she is taking a slightly different turn with this collection of short stories from throughout her career.

Several of her stories feature her most popular characters, those of Peter Decker, and his wife, Rina Lazarus. Others feature historical figures, characters on the edge, and all sorts of human nature. There isn't any sort of linking theme here, just that they are stories by Kellerman, and several either co-written with or inspired by her children or husband. And as usual with short story collections, several are downright creepy, a few are very good, and one or two fall short of the mark.

The Garden of Eden

This one, and the next three, are stories that feature the Deckers, a married, Orthodox Jewish couple that are very real, and good to read about. In this one, Rina and Peter have a problem at home when Rina's indoor gardening starts to get out of hand. Mixed in with this is the death of an elderly friend that has hints of foul-play and a stash of money that is missing. How both problems are resolved is done with Kellerman's deft hand at suspense.

Open House

A dead body turns up in a vacant home, and it's up to Decker and his officers to puzzle out the how and why. It's a sordid little tale of a man who gets caught with his pants down and the girlfriend is getting a little too annoying. While it's a simplistic tale, I was glad to see more of the policemen that Decker gets to work with.

Bull's-eye

This one features Decker's daughter, Cindy, who is a chip off the old block when it comes to solving crimes.
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Format: Hardcover
Faye Kellerman has put together a nice collection of her short stories in this volume, The Garden of Eden and Other Criminal Delights. The title story will give you a good flavor of the rest of the collection, most of which are very good. There's a short piece (Mummy and Jack) written in collaboration with her son that I really didn't care for (in fact, I'm not sure I even understood it), but that is a minor fault. The story "Bored"? Brrrr. These really were engaging stories, and I'll bet they would come across great on CD.

Short story collections are often a hodgepodge of ideas, characters, and storylines. This one was interesting in that Lt. Decker, a character from other novels, also appeared in a few stories. There are also a few (4) non-fiction pieces in this collection (I assumed they were non-fiction); they seemed out of place. I wanted more mysteries!

Bottom line? You will enjoy this collection by Faye Kellerman.
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Format: Hardcover
Of the seventeen offerings the only disappointment was "Bonding," a radical departure from Kellerman's usual portrayal of family relationships. The collaborative efforts with her daughters in "The Luck of the Draw" is a delightful story from three points of view on how a lottery win changes family values.

"Free Parking" becomes a study of the generation gap as four generations of women gather at the nursing home every week to play Monopoly so the 87 year old great-grandmother of the family can participate. ("It depends on what you want out of the game, Christy. For your grandma and her sisters, it's the process. The game is just an excuse for them to get together and chat.....You'll understand when you get older.")

Author Faye Kellerman is a noted crime writer who gives readers an unusual offering of seventeen short stories full of suspense and mayhem in this book. A bit like a gift basket, this veritable sampler of stories is sure to please fans of the prolific Kellerman, and win new readers to her following.

An introduction by the author to each story provides the readers insight regarding not only characters and plot, but also often inspiration for the piece. Two of the stories are in collaboration with Kellerman's children, and another two are autobiographical essays.

The title piece, "Garden of Eden" portrays a family's greed as daughters fight over their mother's will. Kellerman's famous husband and wife team of Detective Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus appear in this new story that reveals that true treasures are found in unexpected places.

In "Bulls Eye," Decker helps his daughter solve the mystery of the assassination of an unpopular police academy drill instructor.
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Format: Hardcover
Faye Kellerman, is one of the best authors i have read. Her diversity in this book of short stories, shines through impeccibly.

She not only writes about Peter Decker and Rina Lazerus, but other stories, such as a touch on Jack the Ripper, in my opinion!!

She puts such detail, in such a small story, that it's not overwhelming. Like many authors, we are left sitting there after reading, thinking and pondering what we have just read. Sometimes we even have to re-read a passage or two.

But with Faye Kellerman's novels all you have to do, is sit back, read and enjoy!
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