Mystery writer Faye Kellerman has been good friends with fellow Los Angeles-residents Rina Lazarus and Peter Decker for nearly 25 years. Kellerman, a New York Times-bestselling author, recently told me in an interview, “They are close friends or even like relatives. We’ve experienced so much together and we know so much about each other.”
The only catch? Rina and Peter are fictional characters from Kellermanâ€™s acclaimed murder mystery series.
“Every character you write is part of you. But they are unique people,” she said. “They have a life of their own. They talk to me.”
Kellerman’s books are often characterized as Jewish. Lazarus and Decker are an observant Jewish couple. Well at least now they are. In the first book,
The Ritual Bath
, Lieutenant Decker, raised as a Southern Baptist, discovers that he actually is Jewish during a rape investigation at the mikvah where Lazarus was the attendant. It wasn’t long before they fell in love and were married in the third of the series,
Milk and Honey
Now, in their 18th novel, the couple is involved in a murder case.
(released August 11, 2009 by William Morrow) features the high profile murder of Guy and Gilliam Kaffery, a wealthy couple. As the clues come in, it becomes clear that the story is all about family. From the sibling rivalry in the Kaffery family to a crew of dangerous cousins who serve as security guards, family loyalty and betrayal turn out to be key for Decker in solving the case.
Like the other Decker/Lazarus novels, Blindman’s Bluff keeps a fast pace. The author says herself, “I like it because it moves in all sorts of unexpected directions.”
Even with murder and mayhem taking over his personal and professional life in Blindmanâ€™s Bluff, Decker briefly shows his softer side, struggling as his last child prepares to graduate high school and leave the nest. But the reader never learns what’s behind his worries.
I asked Kellerman what else we don’t know about the couple’s lives. “They definitely have their own private lives going on. There’s a lot more humor and passion than we can display in the novels,” she said. “There is a lot more conflict. There are the little things they each say and do. They know to push each other’s buttons.” And don’t think it’s all business. “It’s the strong sexual passion and humor that keep them going.”