14 Aug 2014


THE BURNT HOUSE and COLD CASE (published as The Mercedes Coffin in the US)  by FAYE KELLERMAN.

Books 16 and 17 in the Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus series. Whilst each of the books deals with a separate case I strongly recommend that they be read in order (I read the previous books pre-Pen and Paper) as as well as the crimes themselves the books predictably follow family life in the Decker/Lazarus household, the earlier ones in particular dealing with Peter's journey into orthodox Judaism after he discovers his birth parents were Jewish.

SOURCE: Purchased from amazon.co.uk

THE BOOK: Details here.

FIRST SENTENCE {Prologue}: At eight-fifteen in the morning on a balmy Los Angeles winter's day, a 282 Lucent Industry Aircraft, better known as WestAir flight 1324, took off from Burbank Airport holding forty-seven commuters.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 234}: Oliver held up his mobile. "I just called your cell, Mr. Dresden." He pointed to the pink case. "That baby isn't ringing, but your pocket is."

MY THOUGHTS: With two cases to solve, one of which could have happened any time over the previous thirty years, as is nearly always the case with Faye Kellerman's books The Burnt House is an intelligent, multi-layered crime thriller with the unique addition of a religious aspect in which the author goes to great pains to illuminate the ins-and- outs of every day orthodox life though in this case the domestic (a huge part of the series appeal to me) was not quite as prevalent as in previous books.

Gripped from beginning to end. I thought the 'was she actually dead and if so whodunit' aspect riveting, the advances in some of the forensic procedures depicted particularly fascinating.

SOURCE: Ex-library stock.

THE BOOK: Details here.

FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter 1}: Twenty-five years ago, they were called nerds.

MEMORABLE MOMENTS {Page 160}:He went into Banks's place, squatted and swabbed a small blotch on the baseboard of the kitchen. The Q-tip turned blue.

MY THOUGHTS: Not one of the authors best offerings it has to be said (a rating of three stars for me usually signifies average but OK, in this instance it represents a poor average). If this had been the first book in the series I had read whilst I'm sure I would have enjoyed it I'm not convinced I would have gone out of my way to read any of the other books.

Despite the synopsis of the English edition of the book which states that Decker 'enlists the help of his daughter, Hollywood detective Cindy, as well as Rina, his wife' the book lacks any real impact from Rina Lazarus (this aspect of the books having lessened the further into the series you get) it was however the confusing, somewhat damp squib of an ending that left me thinking I'd missed something essential that really let the novel down.


Kelly said...

This is not a series/author I've ever read. From this review (and everything I've seen before), I feel sure I would enjoy the books. I'm not sure I want to start another series this lengthy, though.

Melliane said...

Oh it's too bad for the second book. I didn't not this series nor this author but maybe one day.

Literary Feline said...

I've only read one Faye Kellerman book and it was one I really liked. I've read a number of her husband's books (for awhile, he was a favorite author of mine).

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I'm always putting this author's books back at the library, but I haven't read any of them. Thanks for sharing; I like a good mystery.

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Hi Tracy,

I have several of the Kellerman family books on my shelves, (husband Jonathan and children Jesse and Aliza),although I haven't read any of Faye's work yet.

It would seem that there is no point me digging out one of her books, if, as you say, they really need to be read in order, although the chances of me reading that many books to get up to date with the series, is seriously unlikely!

Isn't it strange how two consecutive books in a series can have such a different affect on you. Perhaps the storyline in the second book simply didn't resonate with you, or possibly Faye is just churning out the books a little too quickly and the attention to the detail of the storyline, is rather going by the wayside as a result?

I think that would put me off reading any more of the series for a while.


Suko said...

Tracy, I always count on you to "tell it like it is". Thanks again for your honest review. I have not read anything by Faye Kellerman yet.

Yanting Gueh said...

I'm getting back on reading crime fiction again, and I'll definitely check out The Burnt House.

Barbara said...

Hi Tracy, Whilst I like the sound of the burnt house I don’t think I can bring myself to read the series from the start, so I just might pass on these. Excellent reviews as always.Have a good weekend, Barbara

Brian Joseph said...

This is indeed a long running series!

Kudos to you Tracy for reading this deeply into it.

Sometimes such long sequences of books can get a little stale. Based on your review that does not seem to be the case here.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Oh I've been wanting to read a book by her. I just won't start with Cold Case. Might do The Burnt House first though! Great recs!

DMS said...

I haven't read anything by this author, but based on your thoughts on these two books I should definitely read something by her. Thanks for sharing!

The Bookworm said...

Wow, that's a lot of books in this series. The forensic procedures in the first one sound interesting. Great post!

So many books, so little time said...

I have read a Faye Kellerman years ago, maybe time to try another. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

brandileigh2003 said...

The mystery and suspense sounds like it made it a great read