The Forgotten: A Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus Novel

Kellerman, Faye

Published by William Morrow, 2001
ISBN 10: 0688156142 / ISBN 13: 9780688156145
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Synopsis:

The unofficial caretaker of her small storefront synagogue, Rina is shocked when she receives a morning call from the police. The modest place of worship has been desecrated with anti-Semitic graffiti and grisly Nazi death-camp photographs. Rina's husband, Lt. Peter Decker, is also rocked by this outrage, which cuts close to the spiritual heart of his family, but he can't let his emotions get in the way of his duties.

A suspect is soon in custody. Seventeen-year-old Ernesto Golding is one of L.A.'s children of wealth and privilege, a rich kid obsessed with haunting suspicions about the origins of his Polish paternal grandfather, who moved to Argentina after the Third Reich collapsed. Charges are brought against Ernesto, a deal is cut, and the vandalism case is eventually closed.

Still, Decker has never abandoned the possibility that others were involved in the desecration. And his hunch is confirmed when, six months later, Ernesto is found brutally murdered along with his therapist, Dr. Mervin Baldwin, at the psychologist's exclusive nature camp that caters to the wealthy's troubled children. Suspicion falls immediately on Baldwin's psychologist wife, Dee, who has vanished mysteriously. Further probing by Decker fails to produce quick answers and simple solutions. For Decker and Rina, unraveling the truth behind Ernesto's violent death becomes more terrifying with each sinister twist, pushing them into the ghastly world of ruthless parents and damaged youths. Slowly, lethal secrets with roots in the horrors of a past generation surface, propelling Peter and Rina into a dreaded journey of dark and evil -- and of ultimate retribution.

Review: L.A. homicide detective Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus, his Orthodox Jewish wife, return in a new entry in this popular series. Faye Kellerman can be counted on to deliver emotional complexity along with suspense, and in The Forgotten it comes from the relationship between Peter and Jacob, Rina's troubled teenage son. Jacob has a personal connection to the event that sets off this intricately plotted novel, the defacing of Rina's synagogue by one of his classmates. Ernesto Golding can't explain why he vandalized the synagogue, but when he and his therapists are murdered months after the incident, Peter realizes that something the teenager told him when admitting his guilt may hold the key to the killings: Ernesto's belief that his grandfather may have been a Nazi who posed as a Jew to escape to South America after the war. Investigating Ernesto's story gives Rina a strand of the plot to tease out; meanwhile, Peter concentrates on another motive for the therapist murders that involves computer fraud, the College Board exams, and the high cost exacted by parents who pressure their teenagers to succeed.

Kellerman skillfully keeps the dramatic tension going as she pulls all the pieces of her complex plot together. But what makes this novel her best yet is her acutely revealing portrait of Jacob, struggling with the existential angst of adolescence as he attempts to reconcile his devotion to Judaism with the temptations of contemporary life, from drugs to sex. She brilliantly limns his search for identity, intimacy, and independence even as he redefines his relationship to Peter and Rina, in a scenario that resounds with psychological truth. The Forgotten is a terrific addition to the Kellerman oeuvre. While she's always been an exceptional illustrator of the emotional life of the family, this time she writes with an expertise that may owe something to professional insights of her husband, author Jonathan Kellerman, who's also a child psychologist. --Jane Adams

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Forgotten: A Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus ...
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: 2001
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Near Fine
Edition: 1st Edition

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