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The Theory of Death: A Decker/Lazarus Novel Paperback – Large Print, October 27, 2015
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“The crimes, puzzles, mysteries, and thrills are all exciting when it comes to Kellerman’s writing, but it is the perfect relationship between Decker and Lazarus that still holds the reader and grows better and better with each novel. (Suspense Magazine)
“Kellerman writes with her usual sensitivity [...]. Writing to her strengths, Kellerman shows her customary compasion for isolated souls like Eli and social outliers like his Mennonite farm family.” (New York Times Book Review)
“THE THEORY OF DEATH is perfectly paced, full of quirky and, yes, malevolent characters populating a puzzling mystery, which, at its heart, concerns whether or not a crime actually has been committed. Faye Kellerman continues to impress and mightily so.” (Bookreporter.com)
From the Back Cover
It has been almost a year since Greenbury’s last murder. Peter Decker, a former lieutenant for LAPD, has enjoyed the slow pace of his new job with the sleepy upstate police department. All that changes when an unidentified,nude male body is found deep within the local woods.
It appears to be a suicide—single shot to the head, gun by his side—but until the coroner makes the final determination, Decker must treat the scene as a suspicious crime. The first thing he must do is identify the body—no easy task. But then Decker gets lucky.
Tyler McAdams, a former Greenbury detective and now a first-year law student, calls Decker, and once he hears about the intriguing case, his attentions shift from statutes to corpses.
When the body is finally identified, Decker and McAdams must penetrate into indecipherable upper echelons of mathematics and mathematical prodigies at Kneed Loft College. It turns out to be a dangerous sphere of scheming academics, secret cyphers, and hidden corruption, where even harmless nerds can morph into cold, calculating geniuses. They will have to employ all of their wits to penetrate enigmatic formulas and codes to solve a dark, twisted tale created by depraved, evil masterminds.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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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.