A strong family theme runs throughout this collection, which features only two new stories (out of 17), both starring Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus, Kellerman's detective husband and Orthodox wife. Most of the stories barely rise above vignette or character sketch, and the short length of many results in hasty, unbelievable conclusions. Kellerman fans will enjoy the visit with the Lazarus–Deckers, though, and get into the author's mind a bit with the two memory pieces, one about her mother being mugged and the other
about working with her father in his deli.

Kellerman collaborates with son Jesse ("Mummy and Jack") and daughters Rachel and Ilana ("The Luck of the Draw"), but the strongest stories in this volume are her own. "Holy Water" has a rueful rabbi kidnapped by a soft-drink mogul's minions for a secret recipe. "Bonded" is a creepy, disturbing view of a bored California girl and her father. "The Stalker" is a taut little tale with a twist. In every story, including the two new ones ("The Garden of Eden" and "Open House"), the sense of place is strong, even when the story is skeletal. (WARNER, Sep., 327 pp., $24.99)
Reviewed by: 
Liz French