Hangman: A Decker/Lazarus Novel
William Morrow, 2010 (2010)
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Reviewed by Lyn Seippel
erry Whitman is badly beaten by her hit man husband, Chris Donatti. She takes their fourteen-year-old son Gabe and returns to L.A. where she lived as a child. Although their marriage is as far from typical as his choice of occupation, Donatti had never lifted a hand to Terry. She wants to negotiate a temporary separation and asks Lieutenant Peter Decker to sit in on their conversation.
ecker knows both Terry and her husband from a previous investigation that involved Chris while he was still in high school. Chris was accused of killing his girlfriend, Cheryl Diggs. Although her testimony might have cleared him, Chris refused to allow Terry, his innocent young tutor, to testify for him. Decker found the real murderer which allowed Chris to be released from prison.
he talk between Terry and Chris goes well and Chris agrees to the separation. He'll have a key to Terry's new residence and be allowed to come and go as he pleases, although he'll continue to live in New York. So why does Terry disappear later that same day?
ecker sets out to find her, considering Chris a prime suspect. Gabe goes home with Decker until things are sorted. Chris is one step ahead of Decker in his search. Decker fears that if Terry isn't already dead and Chris finds her first, she soon will be.
eanwhile a murder case also requires immediate attention. A young nurse is found hanging from a rafter in an unfinished house. Decker skillfully juggles the murder investigation and Terry's disappearance. His wife Rina accepts Gabe's appearance in their lives as gracefully as she accepts Decker's often consuming occupation.
ellerman has written another excellent mystery about two of my favorite characters, Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus. It's icing on the cake to be allowed to see how Chris Donatti and Terry Whitman's relationship is progressing.
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