SERPENT'S TOOTH

Author(s): 

Without a doubt, Faye Kellerman is one of the most unique suspense writers around. Her blending of Jewish religion, family and culture with the gritty realities of LA streets makes for unmatched entertainment!

No one paid much attention to the man in the green jacket when he walked into Estelle's, the trendy Los Angeles restaurant; that is, until he pulled out a gun and began shooting. When the carnage was over, 13 people, including the gunman, were dead and 31 people were injured. Lt. Peter Decker and his team are in charge of making some sense of this crime.

What sent occasional actor/tennis instructor Harlan Manz into a murderous rage? He had been fired from his job at Estelle's two weeks earlier, but was this enough to warrant the sudden behavioral change?

Peter begins to suspect no, when ballistics evidence points toward a second shooter on the premises.The fact remains that Manz's death may not have been suicide. If this was a carefully planned hit, then who was the intended target?

Socialite and charity fund-raiser Jeanine Garrison became wealthy upon the death of her parents. Peter quickly suspects the stunningly beautiful woman who gives Machiavelli a run for his money. Any plans to investigate are quickly sabotaged by her filing of a sexual harassment charge against him. Furious to be blocked by politics and lies, Peter and his team try to find alternate routes for the investigation.

The team gest some unexpected help from outside sources; those close to Peter do the digging the police can't. Each new revelation, however, makes the massacre at Estelle's more of a convoluted puzzle.

(May, 416 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith