Thursday, January 19, 2012

Review: Gun Games by Faye Kellerman

Title: Gun Games
Author: Faye Kellerman
Year Published: 2012

Genre: Adult Detective/Mystery
Pages: 375
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Challenges: What's in a Name (something you find in a purse)
Geography Connection (my Google Reading map): USA (California)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with a gift certificate

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): LAPD lieutenant detective Decker and his wife, Rina, have willingly welcomed fifteen-year-old Gabriel Whitman, the son of a troubled former friend, into their home. While the enigmatic teen seems to be adapting easily, Decker knows only too well the secrets adolescents keep--witnessed by the tragic suicide of another teen, Gregory Hesse, a student at Bell and Wakefield, one of the city's most exclusive prep schools.

Gregory's mother refuses to believe her son shot himself and convinces Decker to look deeper. What he finds disturbs him. The case becomes complicated by the suicide of another Bell and Wakefield student. *I am leaving out some of the description because I feel like it gives too much away!

Review: When I choose to read a Faye Kellerman mystery I know that I am going to settle in to spend time with old friends. This is the 22nd Decker/Lazarus novel that I've read and I really enjoyed it. Peter Decker is an LAPD detective who works along with Marge and Oliver, characters that are also no-nonsense and very likable. Rina, Peter's wife, is the glue that ties it all together. They are an orthodox Jewish couple so I usually feel like I learn something cultural when I read these books as well (but not this time). In each novel Peter and Rina's personal lives, and those of their children, always make an appearance, which I like. I think that's why it feels like reading about friends.

Kellerman's writing style is also one that works well for me. It is casual, not frilly, and straight-forward. There are descriptions of characters and situations, but that aspect is not overdone so that the reader can picture the scene, but doesn't get lost in the details. The focus is on character rather than place, which makes it my kind of writing.

In this novel the plot is one that makes my heart break: teen suicide, bullying, and gun use. Such an awful combination. She manages to integrate life at a prestigious private school with it's "circle the wagons" administration, parents who don't always know what's really going on with their teen, and the "games" that go on at any school: Big Man on Campus; wanting to fit in; hiding truths about oneself; etc. Kellerman did a fantastic job at weaving life at Bell and Wakefield with the life of their foster son, a teenage musical phenom.

There are sex scenes, bad language, and descriptions of crime scenes, but none of it is gratuitous. 

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