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Capital Crimes    by Jonathan Kellerman & Faye Kellerman order for
Capital Crimes
by Jonathan Kellerman
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2006 (2006)

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Capital Crimes, a collaboration between two best-selling crime novelists who happen to be man and wife, is a two-part effort. Two gripping thrillers set in different cities with two well-known protagonists make for good reading.

My Sister's Keeper takes place in Berkeley where state representative Davida Grayson works hard for stem-cell research. She is found murdered in her office. Police officials have plenty of leads to the killer or killers - although their leads are clouded by the fact that Grayson was gay and received hate mail for her lifestyle as well as her political life. LAPD lieutenant Peter Decker makes a welcome brief appearance but it takes Berkeley homicide detectives Will Barnes and Amanda Isis to unravel the complicated clues. The ending took me by complete surprise.

Music City Breakdown centers in Nashville where else, with a title like that? Baker Southerby and Lamar Van Gundy are partners in the elite Murder Squad for the Nashville police department. Presented with the body of a musician who was at the top of his profession at one time, they must look into his background to find his killer. Both Baker and Lamar have pasts of their own which they prefer not to share. They find that the dead man had a riotous and freewheeling past that he at times ignored and other times exploited. Dr. Alex Delaware appears in a few scenes. It's always good to reacquaint myself with the good doctor. The partners' plodding efforts pay off at the end and again I was surprised at the climax.

The psychological aspects of both stories are fascinating to me, as is the brief glimpse into the Nashville music scene. The reverence given to guitars leads me to believe one or the other (or maybe both of the authors) play that instrument. Capital Crimes is the second collaboration of the Kellermans. Double Homicide, the first, was widely acclaimed. I do hope they go for a third.

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