myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics Totally Biased Book and Movie Review: Faye Kellerman's Street Dreams Book Review

Friday, August 11, 2006

Faye Kellerman's Street Dreams Book Review

Street Dreams

Faye Kellerman

Published by Warner Books, 2003

420 pages

Faye Kellerman is one of my favorite authors. Her husband John ranks right up there, too. It’s not because her writing is so exceptional, although it is well-done and easy to flow into, usually an enormously satisfying who-done-it that leads you a merry race. I confess that sometimes, at least in the case of these types of books…what should I call them? Maybe PWPATSBC.’s… “Police Working Practically Alone to Solve A Baffling Case” books… anyway, sometimes, the reason I stick with an author faithfully is because I like his or her characters. For instance, if you’ve read my review on Patricia Cornwall’s book, you know I can’t stand her characters. Whiney little baby-pants, all of them. So I read Cornwall’s books despite Supreme Scarpetta and Lucy the Great, battling injustice with Pete the Slob at their heels. (You can tell I really don’t like them) because she’s an interesting writer. In the case of Mrs. Kellerman, I read her books because of the characters.(In addition to her interesting writing.)

Her main character for years has been homicide detective Peter Decker, married to the gorgeous and extremely religious Rina Lazarus. They met and married early in the series, they are a great couple, the kind of couple that maybe Kaye and her hubby John are, because she has to get her material somewhere, and his main characters, by the way, are a great couple, too. (Although…to get sidetracked, as I often do, Jonathan Kellerman’s Super Couple, Alex and Robin, who were together in his series for years…even sharing a dog… have met with a troubling end in recent books and now he’s dating a totally different piece of yumminess… if I were Kaye, I guess I’d be watching him closely).

On with my story, sorry. But not yet to the story about the story I'm reviewing...I'm getting there. Ok…Decker became Orthodox Jewish to marry his babe-a-licious Rina, and when I say Orthodox, I mean it. These folks follow every little rule and regulation, including not doing anything on the Sabbath, like say, driving or turning on lights. If there was no other reason to read this series, I’d do it because I’m fascinated by the way they live. I’m amazed at the idea that millions of people are still living this way now, in 2006. What to eat, what dishes to use, what to wear, when to have sex…you name it, they’ve got guidelines to follow, and they do follow them faithfully, right down to strapping little boxes to their bodies in some kind of ritualistic prayer- I’m not kidding. Isn’t that cool? Ok, maybe not to everyone, but to me, lover of weird and exotic prayer rituals, it’s beetcheen. So, Decker started out a little grudgingly with the religious stuff at the beginning of their story (and by that, I mean the long-ago beginning of the series), but now he’s into it for himself, not just for her. Their religion gives them peace, harmony, a sense of fulfillment, and I admire that, and envy it, so of course I like reading about it.

Religion aside, Decker’s an awesome cop, and great at sniffing out the bad guys. He gradually rose through the ranks and by the time we come to Street Dreams, he is a Lieutenant, and he is wanting to tear out his hair frequently because of the other main cop character in the book, his daughter Cindy Decker.

Cindy joined the force several books ago, completely against her father’s wishes, got into a whole mess of shit, see Stalker, and let’s say her baptism into the police force was definitely by fire. She was pushy, arrogant, too quick to leap when she should have thought, and she had a fling with the other cop working the case…all of those things label her as Dumb Rookie in my book. Now, in Street Dreams, Cindy has slowed down. She is less impetuous, more likely to follow the rules, and slowly overcoming the trauma of her earlier bad experiences. I liked Cindy a lot better in this book, where she starts everything off with a hero-type rescue of a baby from a dumpster. After the rescue and holding the little bundle of somebody’s not-joy, she’s hooked, and wants to track down the mother. Just like the old Cindy, but this time, for perhaps more altruistic reasons (she worries about the mother needing medical care) and this time she pretty much goes by the book, following superiors’ orders and all that. Well of course it wouldn’t be a Kellerman novel without a little coloring outside the lines, but in this one, it was the Loo who crossed the line, several times, after during the course of her investigation, Cindy finds some troubling paths leading to assholes raping retarded girls, and she witnesses a vicious hit-and-run of another mentally disabled lady, and finds herself a target of not so subtle threats. Enter Pissed Off Papa on Rampage. Peter Decker does not f*ck around when it comes to his kids, nosir.

The funnest part of Street Dreams to me was the addition of a delightful male party in Cindy’s otherwise penis-free existence. Koby is black, first of all, and the time and word count spent on that fact was actually surprising to me. I might be naïve, but is there really that big of a reaction to a “mixed race” couple nowadays? When my sister married a black man, I don’t think any of us cared about the color of his skin except to wonder what pretty shade of babies they’d make. But maybe that’s just my family, and in reality, people really do freak when their lily white child gets funky with a brother. (Or when their chocolate darling starts messing with a cracker.) Cindy and Koby have some ups and downs and some serious ins and outs (my only jokey nastiness in this post, I promise ) in their relationship. He has moods, she gets her feelings hurt, they have make-up sex, they talk to each other about how great each other are, gazing lovingly into eyes and whatnot… pretty typical barf-inducing romance, in my opinion, but it doesn’t bother me to read about it, only to witness it in person I guess, because this was kinda... I dunno, cute. Ok, so besides Kobe being black, Ethiopian by birth, he is also an Israeli, and wait for it… a Jew. Gorgeous, charming, gainfully employed, and a practicing (as in, celebrates the Shabbat like the rest of Cindy’s family) Jew. This, in Rina’s eyes, makes him Mr. Perfect. I loved the part where Peter tells Rina they’re back together…

Rina’s eyes brightened.“So they’re back together?”

“For the time being, yes.”

“I like him.”

“You like his circumcision,” Decker remarked.

Decker and Cindy end up working the retarded raper and the hit and run case. The question is, could they be connected, the answer is, of course they are! This is a PWPATSBC book remember, everything is connected, and the cop has to figure it out despite boneheaded superiors and evil members of the press, usually with just one other buddy to help solve the crime. In Faye’s books, the Other happens to be a cop, but often it’s not, rather a journalist, a medical examiner, a therapist, you know, someone totally ill-suited to police work, but who has a knack for it just the same. That’s unrealistic, yes, but that’s the formula, and the point is, as I’ve mentioned…escape. I give Street Dreams an orange on the Reader's Really Righteous Rainbow.


Blogger mykidsinheritance said...

A wonderful review of an extremely talented author. What a family! And her son Jesse appears to be quite a gifted talent as well.
Warning -- you will get carried away and forget you're reading this book; so set aside plenty of time to get involved in the storyline!
I am also an avid reader of Patricia Cornwell, so we have such like tastes in mysteries and suspense!
I hope your readers will share their reviews of Faye Kellerman's work on my Squidoo lens at


6:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

2:16 PM  

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