STONE KISS: A Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus Novel
Raw. Brutal. Ugly. And, of course, riveting. L.A. homicide detective Peter Decker, an orthodox Jew, answers a call for help from his half-brother, Jonathan, in this 14th tale (after 2001's The Forgotten) from bestseller Kellerman. Ephraim Lieber, Jonathan's brother-in-law, has been found murdered in a seedy Manhattan hotel. Ephraim's 15-year-old niece, Shaynda, who was supposed to be with him, is missing. Reluctantly, Peter agrees to fly to New York to assess the situation, advise the family and perhaps consult with the police investigating the crime. Wife Rina and daughter Hannah accompany him to make the trip something of a vacation as well. The bare questions of the case are difficult and delicate enough (had Ephraim, a recovering drug addict, backslid? was his relationship with Shaynda abusive? what part did other family relationships play?). Peter is quickly caught up in a desperate attempt to find and save the girl while battling an intransigent family, unfamiliar territory and reckless killers. Worse, his best ally in this impossible situation is Chris Donatti, first encountered in Justice (1995), a psychotic, mob-connected killer and maker of pornographic films. Whether Kellerman is depicting the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community or a pornographer's studio, she is utterly convincing. Amid the wreckage of lives taken or thrown away, Kellerman's heroes find glimmers of hope and enough moral ambiguity to make even her most evil villain look less than totally black. (One-day laydown July 30)
Forecast:A five-city author tour, TV advertising in L.A. and New York, national print advertising and more should propel this title into bestseller territory.