Review

Blindman's Bluff: A Decker and Lazarus Novel

by Faye Kellerman

Lieutenant Peter Decker is not one to be surprised by a phone
call telling him that a homicide has taken place in his
jurisdiction. But after so many years on the force, he knows a 3 AM
call means more than the usual trouble. When Decker is told of a
multiple homicide at the estate of tycoon Guy Kaffey, he knows he
will not be getting any more sleep that night. The Coyote Ranch
murders are at the center of BLINDMAN'S BLUFF, Faye Kellerman's
latest novel, and once again she succeeds in marrying a crisp
police procedural with the sympathetic characters of Peter Decker
and his wife, Rina Lazarus.

Just before Decker gets the middle-of-the-night call informing
him that at least four people have been shot at Coyote Ranch,
Lazarus finds out she has been selected to sit on the jury of
another Los Angeles criminal case. While there was seemingly no
reason that Lazarus, despite being married to an LAPD homicide
detective, should have been excluded from the jury, just days into
the trial, a strange occurrence at the courthouse connects her to
the case Decker is investigating.

The link between the two is a courtroom translator working on
the case Lazarus is hearing. Odd and a bit creepy, Lazarus and some
of the jurists she befriends call him “Smiling Tom” and
write him off as a weirdo. But when he asks Lazarus to take a look
at two men on whom he is eavesdropping, she is drawn into danger,
and the translator, Brett Harriman, won't leave her or Decker
alone.

Meanwhile, Decker and his team of seasoned detectives are deep
into the investigation at Coyote Ranch. Who would've wanted Kaffey
and his wife dead? Why was his son shot, and why were two
bodyguards still missing? With a full staff of employees at the
ranch, Decker and his crew have a lot of people to account for, and
as they work, no motive becomes clear. There are too many family
members who stand to inherit money and power, and it turns out that
Kaffey was fond of hiring former gang bangers to work as his
security detail. Decker and the others are pulled in a number of
directions as they try to sort out what happened that night and
why.

The story in this latest Decker/Lazarus book is intricate; there
are many characters to keep track of, and much of the plot involves
the legwork of the investigation. While Lazarus does take an active
role in the investigation, as she sometimes does in this series,
the marriage and family life of the couple remains merely in the
background here. BLINDMAN'S BLUFF lacks some of the tension and
drama of Kellerman's other novels, but the details, plotting and
thoughtfulness of the book make up for what it lacks in pace and
thrills. The characters are sometimes a bit flat or stereotypical,
but readers looking for a mystery with a less than obvious
conclusion and a couple of good twists will be satisfied.

Is BLINDMAN'S BLUFF the masterpiece of the series? Certainly
not. But it’s another solid and crafty tale of murder and
greed, good detective work and perseverance, and good guys versus
the bad.

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on December 22, 2010

Blindman's Bluff: A Decker and Lazarus Novel
by Faye Kellerman

  • Publication Date: August 1, 2010
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper
  • ISBN-10: 0061702412
  • ISBN-13: 9780061702419