Sunday, 29 May 2016

The Theory of Death - Faye Kellerman

An interesting thriller set against the backdrop of American academia.

This is my first of the Faye Kellerman books. Actually, this book came to me in an interesting way. I won another book on Goodreads but received this one instead.

Since this was a crime thriller with an interesting premise, I decided to find out if the author's reputation was actually as good as the review of her books. I was glad to find out that that it was true.

Besides, it has been a while since I have read American fiction though it was my staple reading diet during my teenage years. Living in the UK for so many years, I end up reading more Brit fiction now. This American thriller reminded me of different yet enjoyable they can be.


Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus have moved to a new place and are starting afresh. While a former colleague Tyler McAdams, now a university student comes to visit them, a suspicious death gets Decker to the crime scene followed by McAdams.  The death takes them into the maths department of a well known college. That combined with the background of the victim, Decker finds himself in the murky world of academia where secrets are dark and relationships dubious.

What works:

  • The dialogue. The banter is funny, the dialogue is crisp and takes the story forward effectively.
  • Obviously the investigating trio have a past and this book builds on it, but it works also works as a standalone novel and you get a feel for the characters.
  • Like any crime thriller, an important of the plot are the main characters. It was interesting  to see how they were etched, ageing but sharp and with their own style of cracking secrets open.

What doesn't:

  • Although the story can be read as a standalone, I wish I had followed the characters from their previous novels. That said, the book can still be enjoyed on its own.
When I read the premise about a genius that seems to have committed suicide while facts state otherwise, I began to imagine Inspector Morse and Lewis. This American version of academic murder is good and the plot is well crafted to keep the reader guessing.

Would love to read more from the author.

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