Book Review: The Garden of Eden and Other Criminal Delights by Faye Kellerman

Seventeen delightfully twisted pieces of murder and mayhem are presented in this collection that includes two new short stories which revisit Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus. “Mummy and Jack” is the darkly humorous result of a collaboration between Kellerman and her son Jesse that will leave readers hoping for more such endeavors. When a young woman realizes her handsome husband is really a toad in disguise, she finds herself having to adapt in some surprising ways as she turns the tables on more then one unsavory character in “The Stalker.”

“Open House” opens with an unsuspecting realtor showing a house to a group of prospective buyers. When one of them opens a stuck closet and discovers a dead woman inside, Peter Decker begins an investigation that will turn up a shaken lawyer and a vindictive spouse. The parents and daughter in “Bonding” are some seriously sick puppies and that proves to be as entertaining as it is disturbing. “The Back Page” is for anyone who has ever seen the TV footage of Lucile Ball claiming to pick up radio transmissions from her fillings because some urban legends are simply too good to pass up. Speaking of urban legends, everyone knows the secrecy surrounding the Coca-Cola formula. Kellerman builds upon that premise in “Holy Water” which follows the kidnapping adventures of a Rabbi who may have the key to saving a corporation.

Crime fiction buffs and Kellerman fans alike will want to add this anthology to their collection, for those unfamiliar with her work this is a great place to get acquainted. Many of the stories have a vein of twisted humor about them, all are well drawn with strong characters and satisfying conclusions.

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