Billionaire genius Genoa Greeves never got over the shocking death of her favorite teacher, Bennett "Dr. Ben" Alston Little, murdered execution-style and stuffed into the trunk of his Mercedes-Benz. No arrests were ever made, no killer charged for the brutal crime. Fifteen years later, the high-tech CEO reads about another execution-style murder; this time the victim is a Hollywood music producer named Primo Ekerling. There is no obvious connection, but the case is eerily similar to Little's and Genoa feels the time is right to close Dr. Ben's case once and for all—offering the L.A.P.D. a substantial financial "incentive" if justice is finally served for Little.
Lieutenant Peter Decker resents having to commit valuable manpower to a fifteen-year-old open case simply because a rich woman says "Jump!" Still, the recent murder of Primo Ekerling does bear a disturbing resemblance to Little's case, even though two thug suspects are currently behind bars for the Ekerling murder. Decker can't help but wonder about a connection. His first phone calls are to the two primary investigators in the Little case, retired detectives Calvin Vitton and Arnie Lamar. Lamar is cooperative, but Vitton is not only reluctant to talk, he winds up dead of a suspicious suicide twelve hours later. Plunging into this long-buried murder, Decker discovers that even though the two slayings are separated by a decade and a half, there is still plenty of greed, lust, and evil to connect the dots.
Decker's team of top investigators not only includes his favorite homicide detectives, Scott Oliver and Marge Dunn, but also his newly minted Hollywood detective daughter, Cindy Kutiel, whose help proves to be invaluable. His wife, Rina Lazarus, continues to be his backbone of support, offering a cool, rational outlook despite her growing concern for her husband's welfare and safety. Rina's worries and fears begin to build at a fevered pitch as past and present collide with a vengeance, catapulting an unsuspecting Peter Decker closer and closer to the edge of an infinite dark abyss.
A relentlessly gripping tale spun by a master, Faye Kellerman's The Mercedes Coffin races through a dangerous urban world of fleeting fame and false dreams, making heart-pumping hairpin turns at each step of a terrifying journey, where truth and justice are fine lines between life and death.
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Faye Kellerman lives with her husband, New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman, in Los Angeles, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.From Booklist:
Part of the fun of reading Kellerman’s early Decker-Lazarus mysteries is the infusion of Jewish tradition in the mix. In recent years, however, series entries have given Rina Lazarus, Decker’s lively, clever wife, a decidedly minor role. Although that’s certainly the case here, Kellerman compensates somewhat by writing with her usual zest, and telling the story almost exclusively in dialogue, which not only quickens the pace but also allows readers an intimate glimpse of how the detectives patch together the clues. The body of a music producer stuffed into the trunk of a Mercedes left parked in a remote spot attracts the attention of a millionaire businesswoman, whose favorite teacher, Ben Little, was similarly killed 15 years before. Wondering if the murders are linked, she promises a big payoff to the LAPD if Little’s murder is solved. The pressure’s on Lieutenant Peter Decker, and, of course, everyone he talks to has something to hide—Little’s wife, the gangbanger turned basketball coach, a musician gone crazy, even the cop who investigated Little’s murder. Although Decker never ties up all the loose ends, he eventually answers enough of the questions to put bad guys behind bars, win over Miss Moneybags, please his boss—and satisfy his many fans. --Stephanie Zvirin
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