SERPENT’S TOOTH by Faye Kellerman

serpent's toothYeah, I know.  Another Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus mystery.  I am binge-reading my way through the series.  I normally don’t like reading too many of a series in a row because I get series burnout, but for some reason,  I am groovin’ on this bunch.  Must be the positions of the planets or something.

The official blurb:

A busy night at an elegant restaurant. Minutes later a gunman opens fire. Thirteen people are dead, dozens wounded, the medics working frantically to save them. Your worst nightmare. But at least the culprit seems clear. An ex-employee ambled up to the bar then sprayed the room with bullets, finally turning the gun on himself. But Lieutenant Peter Decker, in charge of the investigation, needs to understand what drove the man to such a terrible act. And some details don’t quite add up.
Then when he interviews an attractive woman whose wealthy parents were killed in the massacre he finds himself suddenly slapped with a sexual harassment suit – an accusation that means an interview with the police complaints authority, exposing his wife Rina and their complex past relationship to their salacious scrutiny.  Somehow, he must discover the truth behind these horrible murders and bring to justice the well-connected woman he now believes to be a ruthless killer – without losing the career that, along with his family, is his life.

As you might guess from the title, the theme for this book is not from the orthodox Jewish religion but from Shakespeare:

If she must teem,
Create her child of spleen, that it may live
And be a thwart disnatur’d torment to her!
Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth,
With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks,
Turn all her mother’s pains and benefits
To laughter and contempt, that she may feel
How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is
To have a thankless child!

Some great stuff in King Lear.  One of my favorites of the plays.  However, I digress, but only a little.  The story is an examination of just how big a favor we parents do for our kids by giving them everything.  Because it would seem that the parents who do that don’t give their kids the one thing they really want.

We keep all this in mind when Peter’s adult daughter Cindy decides she wants to become a police officer.  She is tired of the criminology courses, and thinks she wants to get into the thick of it all.  You can imagine the horror Peter feels — the last thing he wants is for his daughter to be in the middle of the sleeze and grime of the world.    In addition, he is still dealing with the issues of his stepsons as they grow into their teenage years.

Perhaps that is why I like this series.  Maybe every book isn’t a homerun, but the characters do not remain static, caught in a sliver of time.  They age and grow, and the approaches to solving the mysteries changes with that fact.


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