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The Theory of Death: A Decker/Lazarus Novel Paperback – Large Print, October 27, 2015
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
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Two deaths occur as the professors and their students engage in competition to claim credit for each other’s work. One is an apparent suicide—the other made to look like suicide. Peter Decker and his young associate Tyler MacAdams girded by Rina’s good Kosher food and good ideas set out to solve the mysterious deaths. The suicide had been a math prodigy with such a great future in store that it was difficult to believe he’d taken his life. The second death—an untenured female professor was engaging in outside work that the school would never approve. The math-speak is crucial to the story and I admire Kellerman’s handling of it. She made me, feel like I understood it. There are plenty of twists and turns and rich back-stories, as well. Tyler MacAdams is now a Harvard law student and the Peter Decker worries that he won’t pass his exams. MacAdams’ romantic interest is a suspect. The final denouement took me by surprise. When they finally ferret out the reason for the suicide it is a complete surprise as well.
Kellerman brings out the richness of family and culture in Orthodox Judiasm. Her books have been critical as well but I always come away from reading her with a sense of satisfaction in my own Judiasm. When an author creates something sordid like a murder or suicide, if the characters enjoy a background of richness and richness of detail then this reader finds full satisfaction.
One thing that really bothered me in this book was a key element in one death that carried over to another. The neatly folded clothing of the deceased. This bothered me greatly because the author never states how anyone could know that this was a key element in the first death. She never states that this could be known by the general public or that this information had been made available. This is clue is surprisingly clumsy for a writer of her calibre. It really bugged and still does a day after finishing the book.
The characterization was thing here too, somehow Rina seemed flat. I usually read her books in a day. I actually took four days this time as I put it aside to read and review another book before picking it up again.
While this book is very very good, if picking this book up as my first Decker/Lazarus book I doubt I would be curious enough to look for others. For people who have followed the series from that start, it's not a bad book at all it simply does not have the magic.