Eighty-nine year old eccentric, Hobart Penny, is found dead in the apartment he shares with a full grown Bengal tiger. Penny has been bludgeoned and shot, but clues are hard to find since the apartment has been torn up and befouled by the frustrated, hungry tiger.
When LAPD detective Peter Decker and his colleagues Marge Dunn and Scott Oliver investigate the homicide they find that Penny - who was not a nice guy - harbored a slew of dangerous pets, including venomous snakes, deadly spiders, poisonous fish, and more. Suspects include Penny's ex-wife and children, call girls that visited Penny regularly, the manager of an animal refuge, and anyone else in regular contact with the old man.
A side story involves the foster son of Peter and his wife Rina, 17-year old piano prodigy Gabriel Whitman. Gabriel courts trouble by meeting up with Yasmine, the girl he loves whose parents have forbidden her to see him.
A good part of the book is devoted to describing the ins and outs of keeping exotic animals: what they eat, what kind of supplements and medications they need, treating their wounds, and so on. To me the plot was not riveting and the character interactions were relatively mundane. In previous books we saw a lot going on with Peter and Rina's biological children, which added interest to the stories. This isn't a terrible story if you're in the mood for a mystery but Faye Kellerman has written much better books.
Rating: 3 stars