Faye Kellerman is particularly skilled at balancing the private details of her character’s lives with the mysteries that entangle them. She does this with a light hand in her novels, fleshing out characters that never tire her readers. This is a challenge in a novel format, even more so in short stories. Kellerman excels in both arenas.
Peter Decker and wife Rina Lazarus are featured in several of the stories in this volume, and “Mr. Barton’s Head Case” introduces Peter’s daughter, Cindy, to the mystery audience. Fans of her longer works will be pleased with the shorter tales; they are especially satisfying when reading time is limited by the demands of work and family.
I had become so accustomed to the Decker/Lazarus stories that Kellerman’s delve into more macabre plots surprised me. “Mummy and Jack,” while not graphic in detail, made my toes curl. “Bonding” is a story that both horrifies and breaks ones heart; it is a disturbing tale of teenage boredom and prostitution.
The book showcases Kellerman’s range in the mystery genre. Some stories include bits of ironic humor; “Malibu Dog” in particular is a satisfying tale of revenge. “The Back Page” is a tongue-in-cheek version of an urban tale the author remembers from her days in dental school. Coca-Cola fans get a good giggle from Kellerman’s spin on “Holy Water.”
A well-crafted short story is a delight, and Kellerman’s work is outstanding.