Gun Games: A Decker/Lazarus Novel by Faye Kellerman (William Morrow, $25.99, 375 pages)
“She kissed his shoulder. He was a ball of coiled muscle. ‘I’m sorry.’ She kissed his shoulder and he felt a tear drop onto his skin.”
Enter a new generation of characters for the charming and endearing series about Rina Lazarus and Pete Decker written by Faye Kellerman. Now that the older children have been launched into the adult world, Uber-parents Rina and Pete are devoting time and energy to Gabriel Whitman, the son of acquaintances with Las Vegas mob connections. Gabe is a 15-year-old piano prodigy who studies with a professor at the University of Southern California – Fight On!!!
Gabe has been invited to live with the Deckers until he is ready to head off to college. This is a desirable placement for all concerned, what with his dad being a gangster and his mom having run off to faraway lands to have someone else’s baby. Some of his time is spent at the private school where Rina’s two sons by her first husband were students. The school provides a suicide victim, Gregory Hesse, a student whose mother refuses to believe he took his own life. The investigation centers on the weapon used in the suicide or murder. It seems that there are students at the school who are fixated on guns.
The twist to this plot is Ms. Kellerman’s use of a passionate love/youthful romance between Gabe and a 14-year-old girl, Yasmine, the daughter of devout, observant Jews. This sets up a bit of a culture clash that is the reason for a whole lot of sneaking around and trysting at the local coffee shop. The detailed scenes of their passion border on kiddie porn and this reviewer often felt like it was a bit too much.
The story moves slowly for the first two-thirds of the book and the tale is spread among many characters; Pete, his co-workers, the kid’s parents and a few guest appearances by Rina. The gears of the story finally engage and the last third reads more like a John Grisham novel of years ago.