Wednesday, January 17

Capital Crimes by Jonathan and Faye Kellerman

Review by Gloria Feit


Capital Crimes is comprised of two novellas by the husband-and-wife team of Jonathan and Faye Kellerman.  It is the second collaboration [after Double Homicide ] by these popular authors who usually write individually.  The authors' protagonists from their respective series books, Peter Decker and Alex Delaware, make cameo appearances.


The settings are Berkeley and Sacramento, California, in the first of the two novellas, My Sister's Keeper, and Nashville in the second, Music City Breakdown.  In the former, Davida Grayson, a liberal and activist State representative, is murdered while working late in her Berkeley office.  There are several suspects, including a few right-wingers who resented her in-your-face style both with her support of stem-cell research as well as her open lesbianism – she had received threatening letters and had been 'egged' on the steps of the State Capitol building. 


In Music City Breakdown, a former folk/rock/country singing star, part of a hugely popular trio back in the day, is murdered in Nashville, where he has gone after years in retirement to perform at a benefit concert.  He is discovered to have been trying to re-establish long-ignored connections.  As one of the detectives muses, "It always comes down to family."   There is an exploration of the dreams of young people with perhaps a distorted vision of the extent of their own talent, and the heartbreak which ofttimes arises when those dreams become nightmares of disappointment.


There are several common threads in these two novellas:  There are interesting portrayals of the detectives involved in the respective cases, there is homosexuality, there are a few red herrings, and the culprit is revealed in an unexpected ending in each.  On a negative note, to this reader, the writing was a disappointment and not up to the level usually found in these authors' books. 


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