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Book Review – Blindman’s Bluff by Faye Kellerman

Synopsis:    As a lieutenant in the LAPD, homicide detective Peter Decker doesn’t get many calls at 3 a.m. unless a case is nasty, sensationalor both. Someone has broken into the exclusive Coyote Ranch compound of billionaire developer Guy Kaffey and viciously gunned him down, along with his wife and four employees.


A well-known figure on both the business and society pages, Kaffey, with his sons and his younger brother, Mace, built most of the shopping malls in Southern California and earned a reputation for philanthropy, donating millions to worthy causes. It doesn’t take long for Peter, his trusted detectives Scott Oliver and Marge Dunn, and the rest of his homicide team to figure out that the gruesome killings must be an inside job. Things become even more entangled when they discover that Kaffey’s largesse had included organizations that extended second chances to delinquents, many of whom Kaffey had hired for his personal security. But was the job pure murder/robbery or something even more twisted? A developer of Kaffey’s magnitude doesn’t make billions without making more enemies with blood grudges.

With leads taking the team across L.A., up and down the Golden State, and into Mexico, Decker is plenty busyand plenty thankful not to have to worry about his wife, Rina Lazarus, getting caught up in this deadly case. Rina is out of harm’s way, serving on a jury at the courthouse.
But then a chance encounter with a court translator who needs her help leads Rina into the terrifying heart of her husband’s murder investigationsand straight into the path of a gang of ruthless killers. To protect Rina, Decker must find his prey before death unites his two worlds.

First Line:  “Ah, fantasy:  the stuff of life.”

Random Quote:  “Decker wondered how much of his outbursts had to do with his possible bipolar disorder.  Did he sue his brother in a manic fit or was there just cause?”

Review:  I’ve written before about books as comfort food and Faye Kellerman is on that list for me.  She writes smart, complicated crime fiction and I just love her primary series characters, Pete Decker and Rina Lazarus.  If she’s got a new book on the shelf, I’m reading it.

As with any series some books are better than others.  I found Blindman’s Bluff to be quite satisfying with just enough of the elements needed to make it an entertaining escapist read.

Los Angeles skyline and San Gabriel mountains.Los Angeles skyline – Image via Wikipedia
I’m back and forth on the aging of this series’ characters.  On the one hand it’s natural and seems much more real than books where the next one is a week later.  Everyone’s sort of perpetually 25 and too many things happen every week.  It stretches credulity.

On the other hand, I’m kind of sad to see Pete and Rina aging.  They should, but something about it feels as if it’s going to be harder and harder to get stories out of them.  In some ways I’d almost like Ms. Kellerman to let them go and start working on one of her other characters.  It’s not that older people can’t be in thrillers, but at some point the body wears down and you can’t go dashing around the city on coffee and cigarettes.  Realistically at some point people go behind a desk or retire and move on to gardening or opening their second business or consulting or traveling the world.

As always a great read, but I’m beginning to wonder if Kellerman is writing herself into a corner.  It’ll be interesting to find out.

FTC Disclosure:  On loan from the Berkeley Public Library

Rating:  Green

Reading Challenges:  Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge

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