BY FAYE KELLERMAN
Fifteen years ago, high school senior Chris Whitman went to jail for murdering his girlfriend, Cheryl Diggs. Propelled by a misguided sense of chivalry, he confessed, determined to save another classmate, the beautiful and vulnerable Terry McLaughlin, from having to testify at his trial. When the truth came out, Chris was released from prison, married Terry—pregnant with his child—and changed his last name to Donatti. He also became a professional killer.
Peter Decker was the detective on the case, and over the years, he and Terry kept in touch. Now his friend is in L.A. and asking for a favor. Though Decker knows full well that getting involved will bring Terry's sociopathic husband back into his life, the obsessive and duty-bound LAPD lieutenant reluctantly agrees. The favor soon becomes complicated when Terry goes missing and Donatti disappears, leaving their fourteen-year-old son, Gabe, with no one to turn to except Decker and his wife, Rina Lazarus.
But Peter's search for Terry must share center stage with a gruesome murder. Adrianna Blanc, a neonatal nurse at St. Timothy's Hospital, had signed off her night shift at eight a.m. Six hours later, a foreman supervising the construction of a house in a nearby suburb discovered her body swinging from the rafters, a cable wire around her neck. Her car was found where she had parked it the night before, with no signs of foul play.
A dedicated and conscientious professional, Adrianna had a circle of close friends. Yet as Decker and his able team soon learn, the young woman also had her share of detractors. A party-hearty girl, she enjoyed booze, kinky sex, and revenge-cheating on her boyfriend, Garth Hammerling, another nurse at St. Tim's. Suspicions heat up when Decker and his team find that one of Adrianna's last phone calls was a provocative and disturbing message to her vacationing boyfriend—who himself has vanished without a trace. Was Adrianna's death something personal because of her carefree lifestyle? Or was this unusually cruel and very dramatic murder the first signs of a serial killer? With lives hanging in the balance, Decker and his colleagues, Sergeant Marge Dunn and Detective Scott Oliver, need to find answers and fast.
As if juggling two investigations weren't enough for the lieutenant (not to mention turning sixty!), things are becoming even more dangerous with his precarious home life. Ever the concerned parent, Decker wants to look after Terry's son, Gabe. Yet who will protect his own family? Because if there's one thing he knows for sure, with a sociopath like Donatti on the loose, no one is ever really safe.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Faye Kellerman was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and grew up in Sherman Oaks, California. She earned a BA in mathematics and a doctorate in dentistry at UCLA, and conducted research in oral biology.
Kellerman's groundbreaking first novel, The Ritual Bath, was published in 1986 to wide critical and commercial acclaim. The winner of the Macavity Award for the Best First Novel from the Mystery Readers of America, The Ritual Bath introduced readers to Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus, who People magazine called: "Hands down, the most refreshing mystery couple around." The New York Times enthused, "This couple's domestic affairs have the haimish warmth of reality, unlike the formulaic lives of so many other genre detectives."
There are more than twenty million copies of Faye Kellerman's novels in print internationally. The Decker/Lazarus thrillers include Sacred and Profane; Milk and Honey; Day of Atonement; False Prophet; Grievous Sin; Sanctuary; Prayers for the Dead, which was listed by the LA Times as one of the best crime novels of 2001; Serpent's Tooth; Jupiter's Bones; The Forgotten, and Stone Kiss. The novels Stalker and Street Dreams introduced Kellerman's newest protagonist, Police Officer Cindy Decker. In addition to her crime series, Kellerman is also the author of New York Times bestseller Moon Music, a suspense horror novel set in Las Vegas featuring Detective Romulus Poe, as well as an historical novel of intrigue set in Elizabethan England, The Quality of Mercy. She has also coauthored the New York Times bestseller Double Homicide, with her husband and partner in crime, Jonathan Kellerman.
Because of her status as a bestselling international novelist and acclaimed public speaker, Kellerman was invited to Germany for a major media book promotion tour in 2001. After her initial visit to that country, she recorded her impressions in An American Jew in…Not Quite Paris, an original essay for mightywords.com. During the process of researching and penning that piece, she rediscovered her father's experiences as a Jewish G.I. stationed in Germany during World War II. Three more trips to Munich and two and half years of extensive research led her to produce her latest novel, Straight into Darkness, an historical crime thriller set in 1930s Munich, featuring Homicide Inspector Axel Berg.
Faye Kellerman's highly praised short stories and reviews have been anthologized in numerous collections, including two volumes of the notable Sisters in Crime series, Sara Paretsky's A Woman's Eye, The First Annual Year's Finest Crime and Mystery Stories, The Third Annual Best Mystery Stories of the Year; Women of Mystery, and Deadly Allies 11. Her personally annotated collection of her award-winning stories, The Garden of Eden and Other Criminal Delights, was published in 2007.
Active in community affairs, Kellerman has served on the board of the Southern California Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America and has been a judge for The Scriptor Awards. She plays mandolin and guitar and is often heard making music with her husband. Her other hobbies include gardening, sewing, and fencing—if her back doesn't give out. She is the proud mother of four children, and her eldest son, Jesse, is also a published author. She lives in Los Angeles and Santa Fe with her husband, Jonathan, their youngest child, and a Papillon called Dreamy.
In Faye Kellerman’s new Decker/Lazarus crime novel, HANGMAN, LAPD Lt. Peter Decker finds himself mixed up with two people he was involved with sixteen years earlier. Terry McLaughlin and Chris Whitman were only teenagers then and involved in a murder case. Terry McLaughlin is now an emergency physician, who kept in touch with Peter all these years, while her husband goes by Chris Donatti, and is paid to kill people. However, much to Peter’s wife’s dismay, Decker agrees to meet up again with Terry when she asks him to come with her to be the witness when she meets to speak with Donatti. Little does Decker realize this will end up with both Donatti and McLaughlin missing and his caring for their 14-year-old son, Gabe Whitman. Although Gabe has a few relatives, it would not be a good position for him to be in, and so the lieutenant agrees to take Gabe into his own home while he searches for his parents. Peter is very aware that by taking care of Gabe, he also has to be careful to watch over his own family. Donatti is, after all, known as a sociopath and so Terry’s husband may come looking for his son.
Meanwhile, Marge Dunn and Scot Oliver, Decker’s partners are involved in another puzzling crime which means Decker is as well. A nurse, Adrianna Blanc, is found hanged at a construction site and the hunt for her killer ensues. Their investigation unveils some significant details about the nurse’s party habits that include some rough sex, drinking, and partying within a rather broad social group. Their number one suspect is followed from LA to Los Vegas and that is when they realize that the trail is marked with missing people bringing them to wonder if there is a serial killer on the loose? While Decker works 24/7 to crack this case, he is still caring for Gabe and trying to find Terry McLaughlin.
With the inclusion of Gabe into the Decker’s home, Author Faye Kellerman creates a broader look into the family life of her popular character, Peter Decker. The enjoyable relationship with his wife, Rina Lazarus, and the “normal” family problems people face even if they are looking for murderers and lost parents, gives the story a bit of normalcy. Also, it allows fans of the series to get to know Decker’s teenage daughter Hannah better. She and Gabe hit it off and become strong supporters of each other and friends.
HANGMAN shows Kellerman at her best. Her characters are real and you see and experience their feelings. The double mysteries are gripping and the police work is realistic and intriguing. Her style of writing has an easy flow and one that grabs the reader and keeps them wanting more which is obvious considering the popularity of her work, and especially this series. Lastly, it needs to be said that although there is so much going on in HANGMAN, the stories flow evenly into each other, and readers are able to enjoy the book without having to keep notes on who’s who and which plot are they following.
THANKS TO MEGAN, SHAWN, AND FOLKS
AT HARPER COLLINS PUBLISHING,
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