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on February 3, 2016
Only the first disc works. The others are too damaged too play. Disgusting.
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on January 26, 2013
Excellent, excellent, excellent. Because I love the characters in Faye Kellerman's books, I really enjoyed this book. It took off in a different direction than I expected and held my interest. Decker/Lazarus novels are good, good, good. I highly recommend this book to all readers.
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Normally I wouldn't bother to review a book that has already been reviewed by 58 other readers on Amazon/USA, but Faye Kellerman's "Gun Games" is so bad that I felt compelled to add to the 1, 2,and 3 star reviews. Now, I've been reading both Kellermans since their first books. The quality of both authors has waxed and waned, but both have - in general - published solid mid-tier books. I don't think I've given either Kellerman less than a 4 star review; I tend to review based on previous books by the same author. It's useless - and unkind - to compare Faye Kellerman to Leo Tolstoy, but she writes a good story with compelling characters. Those characters have changed slightly over the years as the Rina and Peter have grown gray and new characters are added which serves to update the storyline.

But in "Gun Games", Kellerman has gone to a plot situation seemingly akin to long-running soap operas on TV. You know, the ones that feature the young lovers in the main roles and the old standbys who are trotted out once-in-a-while to give advise and muse about love "back in the day". And the younger characters are never as interesting as the older ones. But having a "hot story" sells the soap better than an old one does, it seems.

In "Gun Games", Kellerman has relegated Peter and Rina to the back bench in favor of young lovers, Gabriel and Yasmine. Star-crossed lovers, Gabriel is the foster son of the Deckers and a budding piano genius, who, at the age of 15 has already been offered admission to both Julliard and Harvard. He's also the son of a hit-man the Deckers have known for a few years and for somewhat murky reasons, murkily told in the last couple of books, is living with the Deckers. His new love is Yasmine, a 14 year old daughter of Persian Jews living in the Valley - San Fernando, of course - and their relationship model is "Romeo/Juliet". But, Faye Kellerman is no William Shakespeare, and the reader is already at an "ick" point because neither Gabe nor Yasmine is particularly interesting and the thought of underage sex is, is...icky. Really icky.

Added to the star-crossed (young) lovers are a bunch of rich losers at a well-regarded private school that prides itself on mainlining its students straight into the Ivy League. Now, husband Jonathan has already written about what goes on in LA private schools that are hotbeds of drug use, paganism,"mean girls, murder, and torture. I think he's used the plot point in several of his books. It's a tedious plot devise at best, and boring at worst. And the private-school-loser-sickie-murderers are pretty boring in Faye's once-clever hands. (Full disclosure: my two sons went to private school - admittedly not in LA - and I don't think any of "that stuff" went on at their school. Though maybe I was too busy watching "All My Children" to notice...)

Throw in a couple of teenage suicides at the school and a whole bunch of text messaging between R and J and you've basically gotten the gist of Faye Kellerman's "Gun Games". It's just not very good, and I don't know if Faye was channeling the "Young Adult" fiction writers at Amazon's ABNA competition, but she should deep-six the "teens-n-texting", and return to the old folks she's been writing about so well up to now. You know, Rina and Peter...
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on January 20, 2012
Very good book. I had a hard time putting the book down. The book ended with a satisfying ending.


There is stuff in this book that will disturb some people (suicide, bullying, descriptive gay stuff) and you can skip it without missing anything. You will know when you have reached this point when Decker and crew watch what is on a camcorder (near the end of the book - it was only a few paragraphs). I was able to skip this part without missing anything.

Other than the sick stuff it was a very good book and I would recommend reading it.
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I started reading Faye Kellerman's Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus series way back in 1986 when it first started. I haven't kept up with the last three or four books, so I thought I would pick up Gun Games, the 20th entry in this long running series.

Lieutenant Decker is petitioned by a distraught mother to investigate her son's death. It has been ruled a suicide, but she can't accept it. Decker agrees - and finds that her mother's instincts may be right. When another student at the same school also kills themself, a full scale investigation is launched.

Rina and Peter have taken in 15 yr. old Gabe as a foster child. He comes from a troubled background, but is having success as a talented pianist. He runs into a group of teens who are looking for trouble, but escapes unscathed - this time. Gabe also meets a family acquaintance of the Deckers - 14 yr. old Yasmine.

I have always enjoyed the personal interaction between Rina and Peter in this series. Their home life, learning of their Jewish faith, description of food, Rina's gentle nature and Peter's gruff competence. The supporting cops on Decker's team - Marge and Oliver are characters I've enjoyed following as well. Sadly, there is little of this in Gun Games. Rather we are forced to endure endless pages of texting between Gabe and Yasmine. Their undying love for each other. Promise? Poor Gabe's sexual frustration. Gabe's deflowering of Jasmine.Yeah, I know - I felt like I was in a (bad) YA novel.

I found myself skipping pages of italicized texting and moony phone calls to try and get back to Decker and his case - which ended up playing a sad second fiddle to Gabe and his libido. The police work seemed lackluster, only hitting some sort of action at the end, when a list of names and assignments is given (over and over again) in a ten page flurry.

A reference to a previous case involving New Mexico is introduced early in the book, ignored and brought back in the last few pages. It added nothing to the book except as a possible set up for book 21.

I was disappointed with Gun Games - Kellerman jumped the shark on this one. It just might be time for Decker to retire
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon January 17, 2012
There is little more tragic today than the number of teenage suicides. Faye Kellerman tackles this subject head on in the latest entry in her ever popular Decker/Lazarus series.

With Gun Games Rina and Decker have an addition to their household - 15-year-old Gabriel Whitman, son of psychopath Chris Donatti, a piano prodigy and an enigma. His parents have opted out of his life - his mother is somewhere in India and has a new baby, his dad, as he's quick to tell Dylan, a rough, bullying teenager who threatens him, "...he's a pimp....He owns whorehouses in Nevada." Rina and Decker are certainly willing to raise Gabe but they may never really know him.

As the story opens the local paper is featuring a death notice - 15-year-old Gregory Hesse took his own life. It takes little time for Wendy, his mother, to go to the West Valley police station insisting, "I don't care what the coroner says, my son didn't commit suicide."

Impressed by her determination and belief Decker decides to look further into the boy's death. He finds that the gun used was stolen, and before he gets much further there is another teen suicide - a sixteen-year-old girl. Both teenagers attended Bell and Wakefield, a tony school for the rich and pampered as well as a crusher academically. Additionally, there appears to be a really bad group of kids who favor guns and hurting others.

Decker's investigation grows darker as he thinks about the boy living in his home - Gabe is home schooled, pretty much on his own. Well, not really on his own as he has fallen in love with Yasmin, a 14-year-old who loves opera. They meet every morning at a coffee shop. Things go from good to worse for the young couple when Dylan's vengeful girlfriend frames Gabe by screaming rape.

No spoilers here, so grab a copy of Gun Games, a tale both sad and frightening.

- Gail Cooke
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"The LORD bless you and keep you;" -- Numbers 6:24 (NKJV)

After reaching the ripe old age of thirty-five, I'm sure that most people look back at their teenage years in wonder at how they ever survived all the crazy things that they and others did. Gun Games takes square aim at many of the biggest challenges of the high school years . . . sexual attraction, secret behaviors out of sight of adults, living a persona, avoiding trouble from other teens, and controlling strong impulses. Ms. Kellerman does so with such a sure hand and sympathetic touch that you'll be drawn into the story . . . even if reading about teenage problems isn't your usual cup of tea.

Although it's not necessary to have read Hangman, I believe that your enjoyment of Gun Games will be significantly increased by having absorbed that book before reading this one.

One of the most impressive aspects of this book is how comfortably Ms. Kellerman narrates the parts of the story that feature Gabe Whitman, the fifteen-year-old musical prodigy temporarily living with Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus. Her touch is almost as deft with including other teenaged boys into the story. If her name didn't appear as the author, some, I'm sure, would just assume that this book was written by a man. The writing is almost as impressive with two of the parents.

Some may fault the story as being too extreme. I didn't find it so . . . remembering quite clearly the times when death lurked nearby in my teenaged years as well-armed adolescents went out to do harm to one another.

There's a lot of police procedural involved. Some will find that it's too much, as a rapid investigation is described in detail that repeats much of what is known by the reader from earlier events in the book. I found the "almost second telling" to be quite interesting for demonstrating how carefully designed the plot was. I had an almost irresistible urge to provide a standing ovation when I finished the book.

Ms. Kellerman has always been an excellent writer. In her most recent books, it's increasingly clear that she is in the process of becoming a truly outstanding one.

Brava, Ms. Kellerman!
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