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Justice by Faye Kellerman

Justice (1995)

by Faye Kellerman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Decker/Lazarus (8)

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7221513,019 (3.8)20



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A disturbing murderer may be innocent of this crime but not others.


She died of breast cancer. She had it for a long time, but was afraid to go to the doctors. She was afraid of losing her breast, disfiguring the body he loved so much. She just let it go until it was way too late. Stupid. He later told me the sexiest thing about her chest wasn’t her breasts but her heartbeat.
---Faye Kellerman (Justice p 48) ( )
  nicolewbrown | Nov 13, 2016 |
That is an unusual book for the series. Marge is on vacation (so Peter ends up working with another cop (unintentionally first); Rina is mostly missing, Cindy is away in college (and making her father anxious because of a rapist on campus), the boys do not even make an appearance and Hannah Rose shows up almost as a background.

But we get to meet Terry McLaughlin - almost half of the book is from her POV - a good student that does not get much love at home. And then she meets Chris - a fellow student, a bit older than her, with a music career that takes him away - which causes him to fall behind at school. Thus Terry finds herself tutoring him - and falling in love with him. The only way she knows how - completely and without reservations.

But unfortunately this is not a happy story. Chris has a dark past and even darker present - between the mafia, murders and past connections, he is as far away as possible from Terry. When a girl is found dead, he is the main suspect - and the dark secrets start unraveling. Decker gets pulled into the case and starts finding connections to older cases - until he is pulled off it and the case is closed with a decision that just does not sit well. It takes him a while to decide that it really cannot sit and he is off investigating again - against orders and expectations. He finds the truth but you get to wonder, is it enough? And what would really be justice in this case.

In a way it is the story of a lost innocence - both Chris's and Terry's; about consequences and choices. It is also a lot more explicit in its sex scenes than I ever remember Kellerman being. Going to jail for the one you love is an old trope but it is done here in a way that breaks your heart. Love does not seem to be enough and yet that is all that Terry and Chris have - even with the murder in the middle of the story.

The ending is almost perfect - anything else would not have really worked - the darkness of the story matches the darkness in everyone's heart. At the end of the day, it is a love story - the love story of two broken kids that never had any choice in anything that happened to them. ( )
  AnnieMod | Mar 25, 2016 |
Justice deals with the murder of a Los Angeles prom queen who was found tied to a bed in a hotel room and strangled to death. The most obvious suspect is Chris Whitman, her date, who appears to be just another high school student. Although he's graduating this year, he is older than most of the other students and lives in an expensive apartment he pays for by his cello concerts. The prime suspect, Chris Whitman, is related to an important Mafia figure. He's also a pathological liar and probable sociopath. But did he commit the murder? Peter Decker doesn't think so, even though his lieutenant is pressuring him to arrest Chris.

Terry, a smart, hard-working high school senior, is asked to tutor Chris. He's handsome, charismatic and way out of her league she thinks. As she becomes more attracted to him, she enters a world of lies and intrigue and Chris becomes obsessed with Terry. This book is loaded with twists and turns, and deals with police politics, race relations, and gangland justice.

I always enjoy the character development of Peter Decker and his wife, Rina Lazarus and the authentic Judaism keeps me interested in both the mystery and their daily life. There is less of Peter and Rina in this book but the author does present the psychological angst of the two young lovers in a realistic way. This is the eighth Peter Decker/Rina Lazerus mystery and was one of my favorites when I read it years ago. I didn't realize there were several sequels to the storyline and decided to do a re-read of them in order: Justice, Stone Kiss, Hangman, Gun Games and Beast (I think).
( )
  Olivermagnus | Jan 17, 2016 |
It's hardly fair to label Justice a 'Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus' novel because Rina has been relegated to a few scenes. At least she, now two-year-old Hannah Rose, and Ginger get to be in scenes. The boys and Cindy are behind the scenes only. Peter's partner, Marge Dunn, is on vacation, but there's an Officer Wanda Bontemps from Wilshire substation who helps Peter solve the case. So does a Detective Bert Martinez from Van Nuys.

Peter is on edge because Cindy's college has a serial rapist who has avoided being caught. Then a girl not much younger than Cindy is found murdered. Peter is so caught up in the case that he's hardly home.

A beautiful high school student from the same school as the victim, Terry McLaughlin, gets some of what would normally be Rina's chapters. She's a good girl who loves a mysterious gorgeous boy at her school, Chris Whitman. Chris gets the prologue and the rest of Rina's chapters.

Chris is an accomplished cellist and artist. He misses a lot of school to play at gigs, so he hires Terry to tutor him. Terry is trying to earn money for college. Meanwhile, she studies, tutors, does the cooking, cleaning, and housekeeping at home while her stepmother works/goes out. It's a good thing for her little half-sister, Melissa, that Terry is willing to give her all of the mothering her own mother can't be bothered to give her.

Terry and Chris' love story isn't bad, but I'd prefer more Rina and family. At least Peter, Bert, and Wanda get their murders solved.

By the way, the real-life 1994 Northridge 6.7 magnitude earthquake gets some mention (as a past event) in this entry.

Note on chapter 35:

'Paraschat Pinchas,' the Torah reading that Rina might give a talk about in Rebbitzen Schulman's absence is from the Book of Numbers, chapter 25. Pinchas was Phineas, son of Eleazar, son of Moses' brother, Aaron. (I recognized the story because Rina mentions that he speared Zimri and the Midianite princess, Kozby -- 'Cozby' to Catholics such as myself.)

Dog lovers: besides a cameo or two for Peter's Irish Setter, Ginger, there's a watchdog whom Peter handles better than her owner does. ( )
  JalenV | Aug 16, 2015 |
Was put off track at the beginning of chapter 2--there is some mistake, what is this about. Turned out one of best in Decker/Lazarus series. Don't know much about mafia but felt there was a lot of truth in some of their dealings. Characters were well developed and gave insight in true life. Terry's disfunctational family made her into a better person, but she never had a healthy childhood to help her ____________ ( )
  PatinIrmo | Dec 29, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Faye Kellermanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cunningham, CarolineDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Exley, JonathanAuthor photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Foltz, BradfordCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
PhotonicaCover photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my own teenagers, my tweener and my toddler.

Please G-d, just keep them safe.
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He saw the flash before he heard the pop. [from the Prologue]
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380724987, Mass Market Paperback)

The cruel and bizarre slaying of a beautiful teen leads Detective Decker into the dark heart of an exotic subculture: the seamy, sometimes violent world of Southern California's rootless, affluent youth. But even the confession of a disturbed kid with cold "killer eyes" cannot soothe Decker's inner torment. For he knows in his gut this crime goes much deeper and higher than anyone expects -- and that true justice, brutal and complete, has yet to be done.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:47 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

"The cruel and bizarre slaying of a beautiful teen leads Detective Decker into the dark heart of an exotic subculture; the seamy, sometimes violent world of Southern California's rootless, affluent youth."--P. [4] of cover.

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