Saturday, October 1, 2016

Review of "Murder 101" by Faye Kellerman


In this 22nd book in the series, former LAPD homicide detective Peter Decker - who's close to retirement age - is now working for the Greenbury, NY police department. He and his wife Rina Lazarus have moved East to be closer to their children. As the book opens, a couple of valuable Tiffany stained glass panels have been stolen from a mausoleum in the local cemetery, replaced by cheap fakes. A couple of suspects come to light, a young female student and an award-winning professor, each of whom is associated with a different artsy college in upstate New York. Before long both are brutally murdered.

Decker leads the investigation along with a brash, young, too-full-of himself, Harvard-educated partner named Tyler McAdams who's taken a temporary job with the Greenbury Police Department. Decker and McAdams discover that the murders seem to be associated with art thefts, perhaps of some very valuable works such as Russian icons, a historic Russian 'amber room', Nazi-confiscated art, panels from valuable reference books, and so on.

Rina and Decker's old partner Oliver help with the investigation; everyone puts heir heads together to make sense of the clues, twists, and numerous suspects. Even McAdams - who starts out as a rather irritating snob - mellows out and makes himself useful. Rina also fosters camaraderie among the disparate personalities by organizing a delicious kosher dinner and serving tasty sandwiches and snacks as needed.

I enjoyed visiting with familiar characters and I liked the plot until the climax. The unmasking of the killer and the reasons for the crimes are anti-climactic and, in fact, don't make a lot of sense. It feels like Faye Kellmerman ran out of steam and just hurriedly wrapped up the book. Up to then, though, it's a pretty good story. I can't whole heartedly recommend the book but fans of the series will probably like it okay.

Rating: 3 stars

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