18 September 2007

Delightful details

After having a delightful dinner with granddaughter J, her mother, grandmother, and aunt on Friday, I ran off to Sidetrack on Saturday afternoon for a 3-day vacation. N stayed home to edit my words and lay them out for the 3rd edition. Maybe it was a vacation for both of us.

One of Book Giver Mary's presents was sitting atop the bedroom dresser, and since I had little else to read, I picked it up. The book was The Burnt House a mystery/procedural story by Faye Kellerman.

Kellerman's name was unfamiliar to me, but N seemed to know her books. How had she evaded my radar? She'd written nearly 20 other books before this one. The book jackets says she is a "NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR." And a sticker-like graphic on the cover says, "Decker and Lazarus are back!"

Well, I don't have a clue about why a mystery fan like me has missed Kellerman. Perhaps neither N nor any of you have written her about her. Or maybe I have not been "listening."

I enjoyed The Burnt House. The story is well-written. The characters are believable and likeable (at least to me). Upon reflection, the investigation is smoother than is likely for identifying a 30-year-old missing person and finding a missing victim of a deadly plane crash, but the way Kellerman lays out the story, it's an unfolding of clues that reminded me of assembling a picture while putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

There are three main Los Angeles detectives working on the missing person/homicide case. But they don't do everything themselves. There are a large number of other cops involved. Gee, just like real life. Kellerman describes a lot of the thinking, complexities, and planning that go into the investigation. The boss gives orders and sets agendas and sends his lieutenants (well, sergeants, since the boss is a lieutenant) off to do what needs to be done. It sounds realistic. And at least two of the main characters have real lives away from the job. You'd think they were real people. Like the families of the victims, who are also realistic characters in the book.

I went into the Amery this morning and stopped at the public library to find another Kellerman mystery, but they had none. What? I'll have to ask next time I'm there why they don't stuff more of their window ledges with more books.

I will read more of Kellerman's books. I'm sure other libraries must have copies of the older ones. The Burnt House might be there too, but it's at the book store.

When you read one of them, write and let us know what you think.

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