Top critical review
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Like what happens to old characters in soap operas.
on March 6, 2012
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...