3.5 stars out of 5
My feelings about this, the 23rd book featuring former LAPD Lieutenant Peter Decker and his wife, Rina Lazarus, are somewhat mixed. I admit I haven't totally adjusted to their move from California to a far less hectic life in upstate New York, although they seem to be handling it fairly well at this point (the second book set in their new location). When I finished the previous book, Murder 101, I had hopes that Rina would take a stronger role on the crime-solving end from then on. And to a certain extent, in this one she does - but it still seems she's much more valued for making sure lunch and dinner are on the table and soothing her overworked husband's ego.
This one begins when Peter, who now works at the Greenbury Police Department, is called in when the nude body of a young man is found in the woods. Killed by a single gunshot to the head with the gun near the body, at first blush the death is considered to be suicide. Peter gets some help from Tyler McAdams, a former Greenbury police colleague who's back in the area prepping for Harvard Law School finals (he earned an undergraduate degree from Harvard, is quite wealthy and, as readers are reminded many times over, isn't worried about passing his exams and therefore is able to help with the investigation despite Peter's insistence that he pay more attention to studying).
The body turns out to be a student in the Mathematics Department of Kneed Loft College, where he's considered a prodigy - working on (officially and unofficially) projects with real-world applications that could be worth millions. This is where things start to get a bit jumbled, at least to my totally math-challenged mind. No matter how - or how often - the concepts are explained in "layman's" terms, I didn't really grasp a word anybody said (with one notable exception that I can't reveal without spoiling it for others).
In the end, though, understanding really isn't all that important, except that it does give Rina a chance to show that her brain is capable of cooking up more than a great brisket. In fact, it appears she majored in math in the brief time she spent in college (a bit too conveniently, perhaps) and thus, with a tiny bit of brushing up, is able to explain what the math students and professors are about. There's even a suggestion that she should return to school and get a degree in math (aha - do I smell the basis for another book)?
Maybe yes, maybe no, but when that next one comes to pass, count me among those who will be reading it. I'm still a big fan and I don't see that changing anytime soon; I've followed this couple from the time they first got together, and they're almost like family to me. Yasher koach!
The Theory of Death by Faye Kellerman (William Morrow, October 2015); 384 pp.