Thursday, October 21

Blindman's Bluff - Faye Kellerman

Billionaire developer Guy Kaffey, his wife and four employees have been shot to death on Kaffey's compound; critically wounded is older son Gil. The case is high profile,which is why LAPD lieutenant Peter Decker is woken at 3AM. There are several perplexing elements to the case, and Decker finds aid from an unlikely source - his wife.
Rina Lazarus could probably have avoided jury duty thanks to her husband's career, but she likes the idea of contributing to her community. The case she's serving on has a number of Hispanic witnesses, and interpreting for them in the enigmatic, and blind, Brett Harriman - when Harriman overhears a couple of men speaking about the murders, particularly about someone called el patrĂ³n being angry that there were survivors, he asks a nearby woman to describe the men, one of whom is speaking Spanish with a Mexican accent, the other with Cuban intonation. The woman is Rina.
I loved this series from the beginning - unlike more famous husband Jonathan's Alex Delaware/Milo Sturgis series, the mystery/crime plots are strongly tempered by character development and the rites and ritual of orthodox Judaism. In the very first novels, where Peter and Rina meet, fall in love, and he learns about his unknown heritage, this was particularly beautifully done.
Sadly neither series feel fresh to me any more - though I finished Blindman's Bluff, I never felt engaged with, interested in the mystery, or connected to the characters. Given the central relationship is now up to its nineteenth outing, and that I've been reading about them for over twenty years, this is not a good sign. I heartily recommend the early novels (The Ritual Bath, Sacred and Profane, Milk and Honey and Day of Atonement in particular), but have to pass on this. - Alex

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