Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Mercedes Coffin

I didn't read the last couple crime novels by Faye Kellerman, so it was a treat to meet up with her characters again in The Mercedes Coffin. I always enjoyed reading about Lt. Peter Decker, his wife, Rina Lazarus, and his daughters, Cindy and Hannah. It's unfortunate that the family life was the best part of this crime novel. I had high hopes for this book because of the cold case aspect, but the book seemed to drag on and on.

When Genoa Greeves, a billionaire, read about a homicide in Los Angeles, it reminded her of the murder fifteen years earlier of Dr. Ben Little, the only teacher who ever gave her a word of encouragement. He was shot execution-style, and left in the trunk of his Mercedes in a deserted parking lot. No killer was ever found. Now that a record producer was found in the trunk of his Mercedes, it stirred up her memories. She approached the LAPD, offering money for them to reopen the case on Dr. Little.

Peter Decker is assigned the case, and pulls in his old team, Marge Dunn and Scott Oliver, to investigate with him. He even uses his daughter, Cindy, who is now a cop in Hollywood, where the most recent body was found. The case takes them into the world of music and lies.

Decker is getting older, and so is this series. Scenes and conversations were very drawn out. If Kellerman wanted to show that interrogations and hostage situations are lengthy processes, she succeeded. She didn't need to make them quite as tedious as they are in this book.

Peter Decker does make a statement, though, that rings true for readers of cold case books. He says, "It's the ghosts of murder past who stirred things up. I'm just the translator for the dead." It's too bad that the rest of the book wasn't as interesting as this comment. As much as I like Peter Decker, perhaps it's time he, and the series, were retired.

Faye Kellerman's website is www.fayekellerman.net

The Mercedes Coffin by Faye Kellerman. William Morrow, ©2008. ISBN 9780061227332 (hardcover), 367p.

8 comments:

Julie P. said...

Oh no! I have been a loyal fan of this series! I just picked it up at the library last night!

Kay said...

Lesa, I had not read several of the last books by Faye Kellerman and was glad to catch up with Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus. However, I agree that this series seems to be getting a little tired.

Lesa said...

Julie - Don't worry. I still enjoyed Decker and Rina. Hopefully, you'll enjoy it. Some of the scenes were a little drawn out.

Lesa said...

kay,

It sounds as if you had the same reaction I did. Nice to catch up, but it's getting a little stale.

bookfool said...

I enjoyed the book, but it certainly wasn't her best effort. I was pretty annoyed how Rina's character has sort of become Queen of the Kitchen, a peripheral cookie baking character.....

Lesa said...

You're right, Bookfool. And, the back flap indicated Rina would be an important part of the book, and she's a peripheral character in this, as you said, Queen of the Kitchen.

Kay said...

I wasn't happy that the synopsis portrayed Rina as a big part of things either. I kept looking for her. Maybe I just need to go back and re-read A RITUAL BATH. I loved that one!

Lesa said...

Yes, Rina has been such a big part of the books in the past that this one was a disappointment. Like you, I liked some of the earlier ones, Kay.