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Billionaire Genoa Greeves believes the LAPD should finally solve the fifteen-year-old execution-style murder of her favorite teacher, Bennett Little—especially now that Hollywood music producer Primo Ekerling has been slain in an eerily similar manner: shot and stuffed into the trunk of his Mercedes-Benz.

Lieutenant Peter Decker resents having to commit valuable manpower to a cold case simply because a rich woman says, "Jump!" But when a primary investigator in the Little case, now retired, suspiciously commits suicide hours after he and Decker talk, the detective realizes something evil's connecting the dots in two murders separated by a decade and a half. Wife Rina Lazarus offers a cool, rational outlook, as always, despite her growing concern for her husband's welfare—as past and present collide with a vengeance, catapulting Decker ever closer to the edge of an infinite dark abyss.

Topics: Los Angeles, California, Cold Cases, Murder, Wealth, Police, Crime, Suspenseful, Music, Drugs, Series, 2000s, Female Author, and American Author

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061982880
List price: $9.99
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Now this book had some real promise, and right until the end it had me guessing who dunnit...but gues what? You finish the book not knowing...well, not for certain. While the ending had a different twist to it, it seemed to have been written in such a way that indicated that Kellerman was rushing for the bus or something as it went from high drama and excitement (involving naked girls in a seedy hotel no less) to a picnic of no fixed abode...very odd. In fact I would go so far as to say that Kellerman herself didn;t know who committed the murder(s) and is still trying to solve it.It follows a senior LAPD Detective as he seeks the killer of a popular school teacher 15 years before the story is set...and if he does, there is a cool million on the table. But when another murder happens in the neighbouring precinct with startling similarites, yet no obvious connection, Decker (as that is his name) goes on a chase resembling a pup chasing its tail.This was well written and thought out which had you double-guessing the investigators and the suspects in every chapter, but the ending was oh so bad...and to ram a point home, as bad as my 'mate' Richard Laymon! Now that's a criticism if there ever was one.more
I don't love Faye Kellerman's writing unconditionally, but with the Decker-Lazarus books she usually succeeds in elevating it beyond the pure bullets and blood mysteries.With the Merceded Coffin, Kellerman has branched out, dipping her toes in waters even further removed from the run of the mill mysteries out there (and evidently leading reviewers into mixed metaphors)! Has she bitten off more than she can chew? Perhaps, but hopefully this is just the first bite, and she will keep trying until she gets it right. There is real promise for change in this book, giving hope for the future although it is not fully realized in this work.more
Below average thriller. As I approached the end of the book, I simply did not care whodunit.Our hero's family life plays too much of a role in the novel, without adding anything. His wife is too perfect. The younger daughter is billed as being withdrawn from the family, but every scene she is in puts the lie to that characterization.more
This is not one of the best one of the Rina Lazarus and Peter Decker series. In fact it might one of my least favorite. Not because its not good, but its was a mostly average read whereas much of the series has been fantastic. In this installment, Peter takes on a cold case that has been dug up due to a recent murder. His daughter, Cindy, shows up some to help, but Rina wasn't in the story much (and she was sadly missed). Most of it seems to be a pretty standard mystery, but at least the ending was exciting and yet believeable unlike many mysteries. It was okay, but I wished I could have liked it more.more
Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus SeriesAs the seventeenth Faye Kellerman book in the Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus series, The Mercedes Coffin was a complex book that addressed the current exercise of solving of cold cases. As someone that is very interested in the Jewish faith, I was a little disappointed that we did not see more of Rina in this book.The story line has Peter investigating a 15 year old file of the murder of Dr. Ben Little, a school VIP. His department was asked to look into the case because of a request received from a very wealthy woman who promises great things as a reward. When a second victim is also found in the truck of his Mercedes, there appears to be a tie-in to the previous unsolved murder.Faye Kellerman’s books always have twists and turns and solving this mystery is very complicated and takes thinking outside the box. You must pay attention to what every person says who is questioned. The clues are there hidden in their statements.As a fan of Faye Kellerman’s Decker and Lazarus series, I look forward to her next book.more
I enjoyed this a lot. As always, it was a well-plotted mystery with interesting characters. I'm way behind on Rina-and- Peter books, though, and just kept getting distracted by things like "When did their baby grow up?" "When did Cindy become a cop?" "Who's that guy she's married to?"more
The strong interpersonal relationships that characterise Faye Kellerman's Decker & Lazarus series are not simply those between the continuing characters. In this seventeenth episode Decker investigates a 15-year-old cold case involving people who are still close-knit. I enjoyed the leisurely unfolding of the police procedure but I would have liked to have seen some development of the long-running story arc. Note that this was published in the UK as A Cold Case.more
I was so looking forward to reading this book ever since I saw it on the Early reviewer list. Boy was I wrong. A very boring mystery without any surprises and an author that doesn't let you think for yourself. There was so much dialog that made sure that every aspect of the story was spelled out that it lacked any creative imagination.I had never read this author and after reading this book I probably never will again.more
Fifteen years ago, Dr Ben Little, a very popular school VP, was murdered execution style and found in the trunk of his Mercedes. The crime was never solved. One of the students whose life he touched is now a very wealthy woman. When she reads a current article in the newspaper about another man found dead in the trunk of his Mercedes, she believes the two crimes are somehow related. She offers a million dollars to the LAPD to take another look at the cold case.The story follows Lt Peter Decker who is assigned the task of finding Dr Ben’s killer through a maze of relationships that tie known associates to both of the murdered men. The story contains a lot of layers as the puzzle pieces come together. This is the first book I’ve read by the author. I very much appreciated the mystery aspect of the story which was well thought out, and was surprised at the outcome. I also appreciated that triggers were pointed out to us during questioning of various people, giving us a better idea of what the detective got out of it, instead of having it explained to us afterwards.more
The Mercedes Coffin is the 17th novel Decker and Lazarus series. A fifteen year old murder case gets reopened when billionaire Genoa Greeves reads about a murder eerily like her teacher's that never got solved. She offers a very large financial incentive to solve the cold case which falls into Peter Decker's lap having just solved a major case. As with any well-written mystery, the pursuit of the cold case is tied to the current case, a few more murders and characters just trying to remain innocent unless proven otherwise.This is the first book I have ever read of Kellerman's and I have already added a few more to my wishlist. I loved that Kellerman shows us the human side of homicide detectives. Peter Decker is a family man and a man of faith, and he balances those two roles with the role of Homicide Lieutenant Detective.more
Faye Kellerman’s latest novel features the engaging Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus duo she created in The Ritual Bath. Pete’s challenge in this novel is a fifteen year old very cold case revived by an eccentric billionaire, Genoa Greeves. Money talks, and the department snaps to attention to work on the execution-style slaying of the only teacher who gave words of encouragement to the awkward nerd during her high school years. Genoa was struck by the similarity of a current case to the one that took the life of her teacher. Initially the cases don’t appear to be related, but as the novel progresses, the relationship between the cases grows and fades and grows as Peter, his crack team of Marge Dunn and Scott Oliver, and his daughter Cindy Kutick, follow the clues through a forest of music producers, gamblers, former detectives and rappers to solve the crime. Along the way, the detectives working the current case and Peter and his team clash over territory, with Cindy, the newly minted detective, caught in the middle.The mystery is well-crafted, but the relationships of Rina, Peter, Cindy and Hannah don’t receive as much attention as in prior novels. Rina, in particular, has been relegated to a supportive wife role rather than the active part she has played on occasion in the past. Hannah is growing up, learning to drive and plays a minor role in the novel. Cindy receives more attention since she works with the detectives assigned to the current case and provides information to help her Dad sort out the connections with the cold case. Although the character of Genoa Greeves spurs the plot into action, she only appears a couple of times later in the book after being featured in the first chapter. Kellerman captures the sound and the rhythm of the rappers speaking in her dialogue, and differentiates the voices. The characters are very diverse and well developed, and range from a gambling ex-wife, a street kid rescued by his grandmother, a former detective that “eats his gun” and more. It’s a great read for the beach!more
Could there possibly be a connection between two murders 15 years apart? No one seems to think so until someone offers the LAPD a seven figure endowment if they are able to solve the 15 year old cold case. Even though Peter is a lieutenant, the chief assigns him to the case. Of course his top detectives Marge & Scott are there to help him. As well as his detective daughter Cindy. The going is tough at first, yet slowly but surely Peter and his team start connecting the dots and can't believe where it leads them. Has Peter pushed it to the limit one to many times??? I'm a huge fan of this series. I've read them all from book one. I love how the characters have grown along with each book - no soap opera rapid aging syndrome here. I can remember when Peter and Rina got married and had Hannah - and now she's got her license and has become her own person. The one thing I didn't like about this book was that Rina seems to have been turned into a boring cooking, cleaning and gardening housewife. She's not as active in this investigation as she usually is. Other than that - another great book by Ms. Kellermanmore
Old unsolved murder cases seem to have caught the public’s imagination during the past few years, as evidenced by the success of the television series Cold Case on CBS and a spate of recent novels by Stephen White, Edna Buchanan, and others. The genre benefits from the current forensics craze started by bestselling novelist Patricia Cornwell, in that forensics is often involved in closing old crime files. Like archaeology of a lost civilization, cold cases can reveal a lot of evidence without providing the essential pieces needed for a solid conclusion, and it is this aspect that makes them such rich pallets for the writer’s art.Now comes Faye Kellerman. In her newest novel, The Mercedes Coffin, the 15-year-old homicide of a beloved high-school teacher is reopened at the behest of a former student who, having grown up to become a highly successful entrepreneur, offers the Los Angeles Police Department a large monetary donation on the condition that they solve the case. As cold cases go, the evidence is stale, and those involved have moved on--some to the graveyard themselves. The case lands on the desk of Lieutenant Peter Decker, a character familiar to Faye Kellerman fans. Decker and his team begin collecting as much information as they can by reviewing the case files and interviewing the variety of people involved first hand: the original detectives, the family and acquaintances of the victim, and anyone who might have had a beef with him. This, of course, is what you’d expect from such a story, but Kellerman breathes life into the aged police-procedural genre by engaging the reader in the thinking process. She places you in the squad room, the squad car, and anyplace where the detectives mull over what they know, what they don’t know, and their various speculations over what might have happened; thus, the story unfolds clue by clue, allowing you to solve the case with the cops. And if that isn’t enough to hold your attention, the slew of daft characters—the beautiful widow with a grubby past, bad-boy musicians, sleazy music producers, burnt-out cops, and an assortment of lowlifes—compels you to turn the page to see what’s next. (Kellerman fans should be aware, however, that although the book is billed as a Decker and Lazarus novel, the character Rina Lazarus, Decker’s wife, has only a low-key supporting role in this go-around.)As much as I liked the story, two structural flaws annoyed me a bit: The character Genoa Greeves, the former student of the victim who induces the police to reopen the case, is described in great detail, given the whole of the first chapter, but contributes nothing of substance after that. She’s brought back in at the middle of the story and again at the end, but manages only to stall the plot. Her function is that of a prime mover, and would have fulfilled that role better by being relegated to a brief prologue without further involvement in the story. Secondly, this is one of those novels in which the narrative ends without revealing whodunit, and is wrapped up in the last chapter with a conversation between two of the characters. I’ve always felt that resolving a story in this way lacks skill, and I suspect the technique stems more from deadline desperation than literary considerations. Neither is a fatal flaw, however, and I expect this book to be well received. I found The Mercedes Coffin an enjoyable read.more
ARC Review: A "who dunnit" without a who dunnit. After Kellerman (Faye) begins the story by telling you "who dunnit," she spends the rest of the book attempting to disprove herself. Why? A new spin on an old concept? I'm not sure, as the attempt fell flat. Saying this, however, the books does begin strong. Don't let this fool you. Saggy middle strikes again. I wanted to love this book and couldn't.more
Note: This review is of a pre-publication version in the Early Reviewer program. I LOVE Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus books and have read all 16, but The Mercedes Coffin doesn’t really belong in the series. Unlike the previous books in the series, Rina plays a minor, almost insignificant part in this novel, as do the others in the Decker/Lazarus family: Hannah, Cindy, Jacob and Samuel. The Mercedes Coffin lacks the warmth, heart and flavor of the other books in the series. It’s missing the Orthodox Judaism theme, as well as the side plots involving the Decker/Lazarus family characters, which make these novels so appealing to me. Without them, Peter becomes just a cop pursuing a cold case involving a long, confusing list of suspects, snitches, and witnesses. It’s not a bad story but Kellerman leaves the Decker/Lazarus fan unsatisfied. Sure hope her next book makes up for the Mercedes Coffin.more
The Mercedes Coffin by Faye Kellerman is the seventeenth Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus mystery. Having read most of the preceding mysteries, this is like visiting with old friends and very enjoyable.Peter Decker is asked to investigate a fifteen year old murder that is now a cold case, that of a very popular guidance counselor from a Los Angeles school who was found in the trunk of his Mercedes shot in the back of the head execution style. Interest in the case has been raised because someone else has been murdered in the same fashion and found in the trunk of their Mercedes. Faye Kellerman always writes a well plotted, interesting mystery and The Mercedes Coffin is no exception. I enjoy reading about the Decker and Lazarus family as much as I enjoy the mystery. I did feel that Rina Lazarus did not play as important a role in this book as she has in others I’ve read. But that said, I enjoyed The Mercedes Coffin very much and it kept me turning pages until the end. Highly recommended to mystery lovers.more
I opened The Mercedes Coffin, read the first couple of pages, and sighed happily. It was like sitting down with a good friend you haven't seen in a while, or slipping on an old, comfortable shoe. Not that the story wasn't exciting; it was - very much so. But, it felt so GOOD to be reading about the Deckers again.Teacher Ben Little was killed, stuffed in the trunk of his Mercedes, and the car was abandoned in a park. His murder was never solved. When Primo Ekerling is killed the same way, fifteen years later, one of Little's students wonders if there isn't a connection. Now a billionaire, the student offers to donate lots of cash to the LAPD if they will solve both murders. The case goes to Decker. What can I say about Kellerman that hasn't already been said in many other reviews? She's a wonderful writer, easily conveying the emotions of her characters with her words. You feel Decker's concern, Rina's fear and exasperation as Decker risks his life yet again. You get a realistic view of the time it takes to solve many crimes and the tedious legwork that goes into getting that solution. In fact, this last is one of the things that really impressed me about this book. So many police procedurals have cases solved so quickly, it's a little unrealistic. Kellerman makes a point of letting us know that weeks and months are passing before we reach the final, heart-pounding scene.This book is a must read for those who have followed Peter and Rina all these years. It is also a good story for those who haven't met the Deckers yet. All in all, it's a good read for anyone who appreciates a good police procedural.more
The Mercedes Coffin by Faye KellermanA former high school geek, Genoa Greeves who is now a Silicon Valley multi-billionaire, opens the paper one day to read of a murder in LA that reminds her of a murder that occurred 15 years before. The previous murder had resulted in the death of the only person in all her high school years who was ever kind or encouraging to her, Dr. Ben Little. "Dr. Ben's" murder had never been solved and Genoa feels that she is now in the position to encourage the police to pursue this cold case with even greater diligence. Enter our main character, Lt. Peter Decker, along with his usual staff, Marge Dunn and Scott Oliver to attempt to solve this case and earn the big financial windfall for the department that Genoa promises. Along the way, they discover links to the recent case that had piqued Genoa's interest, a long list of suspects and some fuzzy associations between the past and present. As a frequent reader of Faye Kellerman's, I find myself annoyed lately by the author/publishers insistence on calling her novels "A Decker and Lazarus Novel". In past novels, both characters were pretty much equally involved in the cases, and while I understand that this wasn't a very realistic portrayal of a police officer and his family, it did make for better reading. I have always enjoyed Rina Lazarus Decker's role in this series. I thought I had learned a lot about orthodox Judaism, which having grown up in a tiny Montana town, I knew nothing about. Rina's role in The Ritual Bath as well as other early novels, endeared her to me as a strong minded, intelligent and pretty fearless woman. However, recently she sort of became the cookie baker, picnic maker and gardener. I understand the point the author makes, and as a stay at home wife and mom, I appreciate the importance this role has in the dynamic of her family. Her loving support is priceless to her husband and it enables him the personal stability to really pursue the bad guys with such passion. However, it doesn't really make her a very compelling literary character. It's sort of like reading about me. Yep, I'm important, but darn, I'm mundane and I'd make a pretty boring literary character. The book is overall an average effort. The plot is interesting, the cast of characters perhaps a bit too long, but since a 15 year old case is being solved, that's probably pretty realistic. Lots of fuzzy connections, and too many "maybe's" remained at the end. Although the case is concluded, it isn't really concluded in a substantially satisfying manner. With all the tentative conclusions, the ending of the book felt timid and bland.more
This was the first Faye Kellerman book I have read and I was honestly somewhat disappointed. It was a fairly pleasant read until somewhere in the middle of the investigation when I began to find it hard to keep track of the suspects and how they related to the case. It wasn't enought to stop me from reading, but I did lose some of my interest. One of the others who have reviewed the book mentioned that the main character's wife, Rina Lazarus, played a lesser role in this book than in the past - I didn't feel she added anything to the story and the character seemed more of a distraction to me. I won't say I wouldn't read another book by this author, but I won't actively seek out another one.more
A philanthropist, Genoa Greeves, uses a very large financial incentive to encourage LAPD to reopen the 15 year old murder case of Dr. Bennett Alston Little, her former school counselor and the only person who showed her any support and encouragement during her school years. Dr. Ben, as he was known to his students, had been found shot execution style, bound and left in the trunk of his mercedes. Lt. Peter Decker is assigned to handle the case. He finds that a current murder in Holywood of record producer Primo Eckerling appears exactly the same. (shot, bound and placed in the trunk of his mercedes). Could they be connected?With the work of his team, Marge Dunn and Scott Oliver as well as his Daughter, Cindy, who works for Hollywod Division and the support and help of his wife, Rina, they re-interview all people from suspects to detectives who had handled the Dr. Ben case, to the widow and find that the cases are connected.Apparently the widow, Melinda Little, had had a gambling problem and to get money to pay debts slept her way through men as well as members of a band formerly known as the Doodoosluts. The story weaves through the band members past and present lives and they start coming up missing. One of the detectives who formerly worked the case commits suicide. In the end it is found that band member Ryan Goldberg had fallen for Melinda Little and decided to confront her husband, Dr. Ben. Another band member, Rudy Banks, arranges the meeting and accompanies him, but Ryan is unaware of former bad blood betwen Rudy and Dr, Ben over Rudy's drug dealing at the high school where Dr. Ben worked. Rudy stirs up a physical confrontation between Ryan and Dr. Ben which leaves Dr. Ben unconscious. Rudy says he will handle things, but Ryan has no idea this includes mruder and disposing of the body of Dr. Ben. Rudy Banks was also believed guilty of the Primo Eckerling murder. At the end, Rudy Banks is holled up in the Sand Dune "hotel" with hostages until Decker talks him into releasing them and then turning himself in. As Decker follows Rudy Banks from the building, a shot rings out. Ryan Goldberg has followed the live newscast and come to the Sand Dune to kill Rudy because he couldn't live any longer with the guilt of Dr. Ben's murder.Excellent book. Kept me interested and wanting to turn pages.more
Peter Decker has been tasked with finding out who killed Primo Eckerling, a member of the once famous DooDoo Sluts, only there is something vaguely familiar about the MO of this killing. It’s exactly like the killing of high school teacher, Ben Little, 15 years earlier. What do they have in common? Peter Decker along with his usual crew of Scott Oliver, Marge Dunn and his daughter Cindy set out to find the common links. Rina, Decker’s wife played a smaller role in this book than in the previous books, and Kellerman also brought back Chris Donnotti, the psychotic kid from Justice, who was the son of the mob and now is the mob himself…. for a small role as an informant to DeckerI enjoyed this book, just as I enjoy all of Faye Kellerman’s books but there was a lot of back and forth and some confusion as they tried to piece together this “who done it”. There were too many names to remember, and the list of suspects was quite long that I sometimes forgot who was who and had to back track a bit. It kept me interested enough to keep reading, and her writing style is always a fun read. Decker’s no nonsense attitude paired up with Dunn and Oliver is always a good time….I could only hope she was going to lay it all out at the end so everything made sense. There were still a few loose ends that she could have gone into more detail or explanation with, there were some things that happened that had no explanation and may or may not have been relevant, but it would have been nice to at least find out what happened to certain characters, but all in all I really liked this book.more
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Reviews

Now this book had some real promise, and right until the end it had me guessing who dunnit...but gues what? You finish the book not knowing...well, not for certain. While the ending had a different twist to it, it seemed to have been written in such a way that indicated that Kellerman was rushing for the bus or something as it went from high drama and excitement (involving naked girls in a seedy hotel no less) to a picnic of no fixed abode...very odd. In fact I would go so far as to say that Kellerman herself didn;t know who committed the murder(s) and is still trying to solve it.It follows a senior LAPD Detective as he seeks the killer of a popular school teacher 15 years before the story is set...and if he does, there is a cool million on the table. But when another murder happens in the neighbouring precinct with startling similarites, yet no obvious connection, Decker (as that is his name) goes on a chase resembling a pup chasing its tail.This was well written and thought out which had you double-guessing the investigators and the suspects in every chapter, but the ending was oh so bad...and to ram a point home, as bad as my 'mate' Richard Laymon! Now that's a criticism if there ever was one.more
I don't love Faye Kellerman's writing unconditionally, but with the Decker-Lazarus books she usually succeeds in elevating it beyond the pure bullets and blood mysteries.With the Merceded Coffin, Kellerman has branched out, dipping her toes in waters even further removed from the run of the mill mysteries out there (and evidently leading reviewers into mixed metaphors)! Has she bitten off more than she can chew? Perhaps, but hopefully this is just the first bite, and she will keep trying until she gets it right. There is real promise for change in this book, giving hope for the future although it is not fully realized in this work.more
Below average thriller. As I approached the end of the book, I simply did not care whodunit.Our hero's family life plays too much of a role in the novel, without adding anything. His wife is too perfect. The younger daughter is billed as being withdrawn from the family, but every scene she is in puts the lie to that characterization.more
This is not one of the best one of the Rina Lazarus and Peter Decker series. In fact it might one of my least favorite. Not because its not good, but its was a mostly average read whereas much of the series has been fantastic. In this installment, Peter takes on a cold case that has been dug up due to a recent murder. His daughter, Cindy, shows up some to help, but Rina wasn't in the story much (and she was sadly missed). Most of it seems to be a pretty standard mystery, but at least the ending was exciting and yet believeable unlike many mysteries. It was okay, but I wished I could have liked it more.more
Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus SeriesAs the seventeenth Faye Kellerman book in the Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus series, The Mercedes Coffin was a complex book that addressed the current exercise of solving of cold cases. As someone that is very interested in the Jewish faith, I was a little disappointed that we did not see more of Rina in this book.The story line has Peter investigating a 15 year old file of the murder of Dr. Ben Little, a school VIP. His department was asked to look into the case because of a request received from a very wealthy woman who promises great things as a reward. When a second victim is also found in the truck of his Mercedes, there appears to be a tie-in to the previous unsolved murder.Faye Kellerman’s books always have twists and turns and solving this mystery is very complicated and takes thinking outside the box. You must pay attention to what every person says who is questioned. The clues are there hidden in their statements.As a fan of Faye Kellerman’s Decker and Lazarus series, I look forward to her next book.more
I enjoyed this a lot. As always, it was a well-plotted mystery with interesting characters. I'm way behind on Rina-and- Peter books, though, and just kept getting distracted by things like "When did their baby grow up?" "When did Cindy become a cop?" "Who's that guy she's married to?"more
The strong interpersonal relationships that characterise Faye Kellerman's Decker & Lazarus series are not simply those between the continuing characters. In this seventeenth episode Decker investigates a 15-year-old cold case involving people who are still close-knit. I enjoyed the leisurely unfolding of the police procedure but I would have liked to have seen some development of the long-running story arc. Note that this was published in the UK as A Cold Case.more
I was so looking forward to reading this book ever since I saw it on the Early reviewer list. Boy was I wrong. A very boring mystery without any surprises and an author that doesn't let you think for yourself. There was so much dialog that made sure that every aspect of the story was spelled out that it lacked any creative imagination.I had never read this author and after reading this book I probably never will again.more
Fifteen years ago, Dr Ben Little, a very popular school VP, was murdered execution style and found in the trunk of his Mercedes. The crime was never solved. One of the students whose life he touched is now a very wealthy woman. When she reads a current article in the newspaper about another man found dead in the trunk of his Mercedes, she believes the two crimes are somehow related. She offers a million dollars to the LAPD to take another look at the cold case.The story follows Lt Peter Decker who is assigned the task of finding Dr Ben’s killer through a maze of relationships that tie known associates to both of the murdered men. The story contains a lot of layers as the puzzle pieces come together. This is the first book I’ve read by the author. I very much appreciated the mystery aspect of the story which was well thought out, and was surprised at the outcome. I also appreciated that triggers were pointed out to us during questioning of various people, giving us a better idea of what the detective got out of it, instead of having it explained to us afterwards.more
The Mercedes Coffin is the 17th novel Decker and Lazarus series. A fifteen year old murder case gets reopened when billionaire Genoa Greeves reads about a murder eerily like her teacher's that never got solved. She offers a very large financial incentive to solve the cold case which falls into Peter Decker's lap having just solved a major case. As with any well-written mystery, the pursuit of the cold case is tied to the current case, a few more murders and characters just trying to remain innocent unless proven otherwise.This is the first book I have ever read of Kellerman's and I have already added a few more to my wishlist. I loved that Kellerman shows us the human side of homicide detectives. Peter Decker is a family man and a man of faith, and he balances those two roles with the role of Homicide Lieutenant Detective.more
Faye Kellerman’s latest novel features the engaging Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus duo she created in The Ritual Bath. Pete’s challenge in this novel is a fifteen year old very cold case revived by an eccentric billionaire, Genoa Greeves. Money talks, and the department snaps to attention to work on the execution-style slaying of the only teacher who gave words of encouragement to the awkward nerd during her high school years. Genoa was struck by the similarity of a current case to the one that took the life of her teacher. Initially the cases don’t appear to be related, but as the novel progresses, the relationship between the cases grows and fades and grows as Peter, his crack team of Marge Dunn and Scott Oliver, and his daughter Cindy Kutick, follow the clues through a forest of music producers, gamblers, former detectives and rappers to solve the crime. Along the way, the detectives working the current case and Peter and his team clash over territory, with Cindy, the newly minted detective, caught in the middle.The mystery is well-crafted, but the relationships of Rina, Peter, Cindy and Hannah don’t receive as much attention as in prior novels. Rina, in particular, has been relegated to a supportive wife role rather than the active part she has played on occasion in the past. Hannah is growing up, learning to drive and plays a minor role in the novel. Cindy receives more attention since she works with the detectives assigned to the current case and provides information to help her Dad sort out the connections with the cold case. Although the character of Genoa Greeves spurs the plot into action, she only appears a couple of times later in the book after being featured in the first chapter. Kellerman captures the sound and the rhythm of the rappers speaking in her dialogue, and differentiates the voices. The characters are very diverse and well developed, and range from a gambling ex-wife, a street kid rescued by his grandmother, a former detective that “eats his gun” and more. It’s a great read for the beach!more
Could there possibly be a connection between two murders 15 years apart? No one seems to think so until someone offers the LAPD a seven figure endowment if they are able to solve the 15 year old cold case. Even though Peter is a lieutenant, the chief assigns him to the case. Of course his top detectives Marge & Scott are there to help him. As well as his detective daughter Cindy. The going is tough at first, yet slowly but surely Peter and his team start connecting the dots and can't believe where it leads them. Has Peter pushed it to the limit one to many times??? I'm a huge fan of this series. I've read them all from book one. I love how the characters have grown along with each book - no soap opera rapid aging syndrome here. I can remember when Peter and Rina got married and had Hannah - and now she's got her license and has become her own person. The one thing I didn't like about this book was that Rina seems to have been turned into a boring cooking, cleaning and gardening housewife. She's not as active in this investigation as she usually is. Other than that - another great book by Ms. Kellermanmore
Old unsolved murder cases seem to have caught the public’s imagination during the past few years, as evidenced by the success of the television series Cold Case on CBS and a spate of recent novels by Stephen White, Edna Buchanan, and others. The genre benefits from the current forensics craze started by bestselling novelist Patricia Cornwell, in that forensics is often involved in closing old crime files. Like archaeology of a lost civilization, cold cases can reveal a lot of evidence without providing the essential pieces needed for a solid conclusion, and it is this aspect that makes them such rich pallets for the writer’s art.Now comes Faye Kellerman. In her newest novel, The Mercedes Coffin, the 15-year-old homicide of a beloved high-school teacher is reopened at the behest of a former student who, having grown up to become a highly successful entrepreneur, offers the Los Angeles Police Department a large monetary donation on the condition that they solve the case. As cold cases go, the evidence is stale, and those involved have moved on--some to the graveyard themselves. The case lands on the desk of Lieutenant Peter Decker, a character familiar to Faye Kellerman fans. Decker and his team begin collecting as much information as they can by reviewing the case files and interviewing the variety of people involved first hand: the original detectives, the family and acquaintances of the victim, and anyone who might have had a beef with him. This, of course, is what you’d expect from such a story, but Kellerman breathes life into the aged police-procedural genre by engaging the reader in the thinking process. She places you in the squad room, the squad car, and anyplace where the detectives mull over what they know, what they don’t know, and their various speculations over what might have happened; thus, the story unfolds clue by clue, allowing you to solve the case with the cops. And if that isn’t enough to hold your attention, the slew of daft characters—the beautiful widow with a grubby past, bad-boy musicians, sleazy music producers, burnt-out cops, and an assortment of lowlifes—compels you to turn the page to see what’s next. (Kellerman fans should be aware, however, that although the book is billed as a Decker and Lazarus novel, the character Rina Lazarus, Decker’s wife, has only a low-key supporting role in this go-around.)As much as I liked the story, two structural flaws annoyed me a bit: The character Genoa Greeves, the former student of the victim who induces the police to reopen the case, is described in great detail, given the whole of the first chapter, but contributes nothing of substance after that. She’s brought back in at the middle of the story and again at the end, but manages only to stall the plot. Her function is that of a prime mover, and would have fulfilled that role better by being relegated to a brief prologue without further involvement in the story. Secondly, this is one of those novels in which the narrative ends without revealing whodunit, and is wrapped up in the last chapter with a conversation between two of the characters. I’ve always felt that resolving a story in this way lacks skill, and I suspect the technique stems more from deadline desperation than literary considerations. Neither is a fatal flaw, however, and I expect this book to be well received. I found The Mercedes Coffin an enjoyable read.more
ARC Review: A "who dunnit" without a who dunnit. After Kellerman (Faye) begins the story by telling you "who dunnit," she spends the rest of the book attempting to disprove herself. Why? A new spin on an old concept? I'm not sure, as the attempt fell flat. Saying this, however, the books does begin strong. Don't let this fool you. Saggy middle strikes again. I wanted to love this book and couldn't.more
Note: This review is of a pre-publication version in the Early Reviewer program. I LOVE Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus books and have read all 16, but The Mercedes Coffin doesn’t really belong in the series. Unlike the previous books in the series, Rina plays a minor, almost insignificant part in this novel, as do the others in the Decker/Lazarus family: Hannah, Cindy, Jacob and Samuel. The Mercedes Coffin lacks the warmth, heart and flavor of the other books in the series. It’s missing the Orthodox Judaism theme, as well as the side plots involving the Decker/Lazarus family characters, which make these novels so appealing to me. Without them, Peter becomes just a cop pursuing a cold case involving a long, confusing list of suspects, snitches, and witnesses. It’s not a bad story but Kellerman leaves the Decker/Lazarus fan unsatisfied. Sure hope her next book makes up for the Mercedes Coffin.more
The Mercedes Coffin by Faye Kellerman is the seventeenth Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus mystery. Having read most of the preceding mysteries, this is like visiting with old friends and very enjoyable.Peter Decker is asked to investigate a fifteen year old murder that is now a cold case, that of a very popular guidance counselor from a Los Angeles school who was found in the trunk of his Mercedes shot in the back of the head execution style. Interest in the case has been raised because someone else has been murdered in the same fashion and found in the trunk of their Mercedes. Faye Kellerman always writes a well plotted, interesting mystery and The Mercedes Coffin is no exception. I enjoy reading about the Decker and Lazarus family as much as I enjoy the mystery. I did feel that Rina Lazarus did not play as important a role in this book as she has in others I’ve read. But that said, I enjoyed The Mercedes Coffin very much and it kept me turning pages until the end. Highly recommended to mystery lovers.more
I opened The Mercedes Coffin, read the first couple of pages, and sighed happily. It was like sitting down with a good friend you haven't seen in a while, or slipping on an old, comfortable shoe. Not that the story wasn't exciting; it was - very much so. But, it felt so GOOD to be reading about the Deckers again.Teacher Ben Little was killed, stuffed in the trunk of his Mercedes, and the car was abandoned in a park. His murder was never solved. When Primo Ekerling is killed the same way, fifteen years later, one of Little's students wonders if there isn't a connection. Now a billionaire, the student offers to donate lots of cash to the LAPD if they will solve both murders. The case goes to Decker. What can I say about Kellerman that hasn't already been said in many other reviews? She's a wonderful writer, easily conveying the emotions of her characters with her words. You feel Decker's concern, Rina's fear and exasperation as Decker risks his life yet again. You get a realistic view of the time it takes to solve many crimes and the tedious legwork that goes into getting that solution. In fact, this last is one of the things that really impressed me about this book. So many police procedurals have cases solved so quickly, it's a little unrealistic. Kellerman makes a point of letting us know that weeks and months are passing before we reach the final, heart-pounding scene.This book is a must read for those who have followed Peter and Rina all these years. It is also a good story for those who haven't met the Deckers yet. All in all, it's a good read for anyone who appreciates a good police procedural.more
The Mercedes Coffin by Faye KellermanA former high school geek, Genoa Greeves who is now a Silicon Valley multi-billionaire, opens the paper one day to read of a murder in LA that reminds her of a murder that occurred 15 years before. The previous murder had resulted in the death of the only person in all her high school years who was ever kind or encouraging to her, Dr. Ben Little. "Dr. Ben's" murder had never been solved and Genoa feels that she is now in the position to encourage the police to pursue this cold case with even greater diligence. Enter our main character, Lt. Peter Decker, along with his usual staff, Marge Dunn and Scott Oliver to attempt to solve this case and earn the big financial windfall for the department that Genoa promises. Along the way, they discover links to the recent case that had piqued Genoa's interest, a long list of suspects and some fuzzy associations between the past and present. As a frequent reader of Faye Kellerman's, I find myself annoyed lately by the author/publishers insistence on calling her novels "A Decker and Lazarus Novel". In past novels, both characters were pretty much equally involved in the cases, and while I understand that this wasn't a very realistic portrayal of a police officer and his family, it did make for better reading. I have always enjoyed Rina Lazarus Decker's role in this series. I thought I had learned a lot about orthodox Judaism, which having grown up in a tiny Montana town, I knew nothing about. Rina's role in The Ritual Bath as well as other early novels, endeared her to me as a strong minded, intelligent and pretty fearless woman. However, recently she sort of became the cookie baker, picnic maker and gardener. I understand the point the author makes, and as a stay at home wife and mom, I appreciate the importance this role has in the dynamic of her family. Her loving support is priceless to her husband and it enables him the personal stability to really pursue the bad guys with such passion. However, it doesn't really make her a very compelling literary character. It's sort of like reading about me. Yep, I'm important, but darn, I'm mundane and I'd make a pretty boring literary character. The book is overall an average effort. The plot is interesting, the cast of characters perhaps a bit too long, but since a 15 year old case is being solved, that's probably pretty realistic. Lots of fuzzy connections, and too many "maybe's" remained at the end. Although the case is concluded, it isn't really concluded in a substantially satisfying manner. With all the tentative conclusions, the ending of the book felt timid and bland.more
This was the first Faye Kellerman book I have read and I was honestly somewhat disappointed. It was a fairly pleasant read until somewhere in the middle of the investigation when I began to find it hard to keep track of the suspects and how they related to the case. It wasn't enought to stop me from reading, but I did lose some of my interest. One of the others who have reviewed the book mentioned that the main character's wife, Rina Lazarus, played a lesser role in this book than in the past - I didn't feel she added anything to the story and the character seemed more of a distraction to me. I won't say I wouldn't read another book by this author, but I won't actively seek out another one.more
A philanthropist, Genoa Greeves, uses a very large financial incentive to encourage LAPD to reopen the 15 year old murder case of Dr. Bennett Alston Little, her former school counselor and the only person who showed her any support and encouragement during her school years. Dr. Ben, as he was known to his students, had been found shot execution style, bound and left in the trunk of his mercedes. Lt. Peter Decker is assigned to handle the case. He finds that a current murder in Holywood of record producer Primo Eckerling appears exactly the same. (shot, bound and placed in the trunk of his mercedes). Could they be connected?With the work of his team, Marge Dunn and Scott Oliver as well as his Daughter, Cindy, who works for Hollywod Division and the support and help of his wife, Rina, they re-interview all people from suspects to detectives who had handled the Dr. Ben case, to the widow and find that the cases are connected.Apparently the widow, Melinda Little, had had a gambling problem and to get money to pay debts slept her way through men as well as members of a band formerly known as the Doodoosluts. The story weaves through the band members past and present lives and they start coming up missing. One of the detectives who formerly worked the case commits suicide. In the end it is found that band member Ryan Goldberg had fallen for Melinda Little and decided to confront her husband, Dr. Ben. Another band member, Rudy Banks, arranges the meeting and accompanies him, but Ryan is unaware of former bad blood betwen Rudy and Dr, Ben over Rudy's drug dealing at the high school where Dr. Ben worked. Rudy stirs up a physical confrontation between Ryan and Dr. Ben which leaves Dr. Ben unconscious. Rudy says he will handle things, but Ryan has no idea this includes mruder and disposing of the body of Dr. Ben. Rudy Banks was also believed guilty of the Primo Eckerling murder. At the end, Rudy Banks is holled up in the Sand Dune "hotel" with hostages until Decker talks him into releasing them and then turning himself in. As Decker follows Rudy Banks from the building, a shot rings out. Ryan Goldberg has followed the live newscast and come to the Sand Dune to kill Rudy because he couldn't live any longer with the guilt of Dr. Ben's murder.Excellent book. Kept me interested and wanting to turn pages.more
Peter Decker has been tasked with finding out who killed Primo Eckerling, a member of the once famous DooDoo Sluts, only there is something vaguely familiar about the MO of this killing. It’s exactly like the killing of high school teacher, Ben Little, 15 years earlier. What do they have in common? Peter Decker along with his usual crew of Scott Oliver, Marge Dunn and his daughter Cindy set out to find the common links. Rina, Decker’s wife played a smaller role in this book than in the previous books, and Kellerman also brought back Chris Donnotti, the psychotic kid from Justice, who was the son of the mob and now is the mob himself…. for a small role as an informant to DeckerI enjoyed this book, just as I enjoy all of Faye Kellerman’s books but there was a lot of back and forth and some confusion as they tried to piece together this “who done it”. There were too many names to remember, and the list of suspects was quite long that I sometimes forgot who was who and had to back track a bit. It kept me interested enough to keep reading, and her writing style is always a fun read. Decker’s no nonsense attitude paired up with Dunn and Oliver is always a good time….I could only hope she was going to lay it all out at the end so everything made sense. There were still a few loose ends that she could have gone into more detail or explanation with, there were some things that happened that had no explanation and may or may not have been relevant, but it would have been nice to at least find out what happened to certain characters, but all in all I really liked this book.more
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