Faye Kellerman: The Hunt

The Hunt, Faye Kellerman’s latest Decker/Lazarus mystery, is barely their story at all. Instead, it revolves around the toxic, layered relationship of Chris and Terry, the biological parents of Peter and Rina’s adopted son, Gabe. Though Gabe is no longer close to either of his parents, when Terry calls him after she is seriously hurt, he turns to the powerful, mob-connected Chris for help. Terry’s younger son, Sanjay, has been kidnapped during the course of her messy second divorce. Chris seems the obvious choice to help get him back.

Despite being high school sweethearts, however, the relationship between the two exes had long soured. Terry left Chris for Derek when she got pregnant, and he is still very much holding a grudge. Obsessive and possessive, he is willing to take her back if it means he can control her again. With both Sanjay and daughter Juleen to think about, Terry feels as though she doesn’t have a choice. After eleven years, she returns to the arms of the first devil she ever fled.

Peter Decker’s case, what is meant to be his last on the force, stays on the backburner. It’s a fairly routine missing person turned homicide, and it plays out as though it could happen in the real world. Kellerman is an absolute pro, and Decker’s sections of the work are well written and considered, even if the stakes are low. These characters are lived in, and they’re memorable, even if their time on the page in this particular work is brief. There are several warm family moments as Decker grapples with retirement. Chris and Terry’s high drama almost feels like a different book.

Indeed, parts of their story are difficult to read. Both are damaged people who have left a lot of hurt in their wake. Though the book explains why Chris is the way he is, it never fully excuses him for his actions. Part of the tension is watching Terry get pulled back further and further into the relationship she escaped in exchange for saving her son. When Terry defies him, he is all too quick to remind her that he doesn’t need to help find Sanjay at all.

The two are a tragedy waiting to happen, and watching them spiral is both difficult to watch and hard to look away from. Their narrative balances well with Decker’s lighter story.  Kellerman’s way with character and her gift of writing a page turning narrative has never dimmed – and neither have her beloved Peter and Rina.  This is apparently the final installment in this series, and I must thank Ms. Kellerman for many hours of reading pleasure.  — Margaret Agnew


Margaret Agnew is the Director of the Cahokia Public Library in Cahokia, Illinois.  A graduate of Ripon College and Indiana University, she has been a mystery fan and an avid reader from an early age.  She also reviews for Mystery Scene magazine.