Rina Lazarus and her husband, LAPD Homicide Lieutenant Peter Decker, are shocked by an outrage that cuts close to the spiritual heart of their family. Rina's small storefront synagogue has been desecrated with anti-Semitic graffiti and grisly Nazi death camp photographs. The alleged perpetrator is seventeen-year-old Ernesto Golding, a "rich kid" obsessed with haunting suspicions about the origins of his Polish paternal grandfather. Then Ernesto is found brutally murdered, along with his therapist, Dr. Mervin Baldwin, at an exclusive nature camp that caters moneyed, troubled children. For Decker and his wife, unraveling the truth behind Ernesto's violent death becomes more terrifying with each sinister twist. For lethal secrets with roots in the horrors of a past genteration are coming to the surface, propelling Peter and Rina into a ghastly world of ruthless parents and damaged youth -- and toward a dark evil and its ultimate retribution.
In this complex, disturbing novel (after 2000's Stalker), Kellerman again adroitly balances Rina Lazarus's consuming Orthodox Judaism with the broader societal issues faced by her husband, L.A. homicide detective Peter Decker. Here they intertwine when the vicious defacement of their synagogue reverberates in a widening circle of murders. Ernesto Golding, a troubled, spoiled youth and acquaintance of Rina's son, Jacob, confesses to the crime, but several months later Ernesto and his therapists, Mervin and Dee Baldwin, are murdered. Ernesto had discovered that his beloved grandfather may have been a Nazi who escaped Germany disguised as a Jew. While Rina delves into this provocative strand of the plot, Peter and his staff investigate hate groups. Then another killing ties the therapists to not only the hate groups but also an insidious current of psychological and sexual manipulation and computer fraud. Kellerman focuses on the plight of desperate young people misused and misunderstood by their parents, who apply unbearable pressures for success on their often- bewildered children. She also shows the deepening love and rapport between Decker and his stepson as Jacob helps solve the case. Although the Holocaust subplot seems forced to give Rina a larger role, the author, as usual, seamlessly weaves her themes of religious belief and familial respect into a multilayered thriller, with finely realized characters and a tangible sense of place. 250,000 first printing. (Aug. 14) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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June 25, 2007
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