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Moon Music


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About the Author

Faye Kellerman was born in St Louis, Missouri. She began her career as a dentist but turned to writing after the birth of her eldest child in 1978. As well as the highly popular Peter Decker series she has also written one historical mystery. In between writing, she tries to find the time to enjoy her two favourite hobbies, gardening and music. She has four children and lives with them and her husband, novelist and psychologist Jonathan Kellerman, in Los Angeles.


Best-selling author Kellerman turns to the gritty underside of Las Vegas for her latest venture into crime fiction. Moon Music marks the debut of Detective Sergeant Romulus Poe, in charge of investigating the gruesome death of a showgirl turned hooker. The case reminds Poe of a brutal, unsolved murder 25 years in his own past and brings up his unresolved feelings for his partner's troubled wife. When a second, similarly mutilated body is found, Poe and his team must uncover the truth, even if it involves confronting a powerful, corrupt casino owner. Kellerman's characters have complex interrelationships that often seem more important than the murder investigation itself. Perhaps not as compelling or appealing as her Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus series (Prayers for the Dead, LJ 8/96) but still a safe bet for most public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/98.]‘Laurel Bliss, New Haven, CT

In leaving behind LAPD detective Peter Decker and his wife, Rina Lazarus (last seen in Serpent's Tooth, 1997), for this Las Vegas mystery, Kellerman unfortunately also abandoned the warmth and depth of characterization that mark her series' books. Featuring Las Vegas homicide cop, Romulus Poe, in the murder investigation of two prostitutes, this tale also trades in the series' foundation in religion (Orthodox Judaism) for sensational pseudo-scientific and/or supernatural suggestions of lycanthropy. The first prostitute whose badly mutilated corpse is found in the desert was the onetime mistress of Poe's fellow cop Steve Jenkins. That complication exacerbates the two cops' already strained relationship: Poe and Jenkins's wife, Alison, who were high-school lovers, still harbor feelings of attachment. Alison's mental and emotional instability figure large in the narrative, which also involves the above-ground testing of atomic bombs at the Nevada Test Site when Poe and his twin brother, Remus, were infants. (The boys' growth was severely stunted; Remus, the first to be treated with growth hormone, became a seven-foot giant; Rom, treated less aggressively, achieved a normal height). Alison, a teenager when her mother died under suspicious circumstances, may also have been affected by radiation fallout. More deaths and mutilations lead to a climactic action scene at the Test Site, but it and the sketchy resolution are no more convincing than the dialogue, the characterization or the plot in this neon-lit disappointment from a writer capable of much better work. (July)

I am a fan of Kellerman's `Peter Decker' series, but I was ready to give up on her after the disappointing Serpent's Tooth. Obviously the problem was that those characters no longer stimulated her imagination, because Moon Music is a fine return to form. Headline describes it as a `breakout departure novel' and in some ways it is - the plot is thickened by the possibility that the killer is supernatural - but most of Kellerman's trademarks remain. All the characters are seriously disturbed, which allows her perception of evil to be more complex than that of most crime novels, and there is sexual tension aplenty. The action takes place in Las Vegas, a town shown to be every bit as seedy and dark as Los Angeles. Romulus Poe is an appealing lead character, part Italian, part Native American. He is clearly flawed and almost out of control, which is what makes him more than one dimensional. Despite having a fair idea early on who the killer is, this is a satisfying crime novel. It should do well in the shops as long as booksellers stress that it is quite different from Serpent's Tooth. Mahina Drew is a bookseller at Reader's Feast, Melbourne. C. 1998 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors

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