With long running series, it’s sometimes hard to age the main characters and their families. Readers become attached, not only the main characters, but also the supporting cast around them. The same can be said about running themes in books. In most of Kellerman’s books featuring Decker and Lazarus, there has been a strong emphasis on their families and Rina’s strong Orthodox Jewish faith. Neither really plays a part in Gun Games. The assorted Decker and Lazarus children are grown and off doing other things, no extended family is involved and Rina’s faith does not come into play much at all. This will undoubtedly disappoint some readers. Both Peter Decker and his wife Rina Lazarus are back, as is their foster son Gabriel Whitman. This book is Gabriel’s-and possibly Kellerman’s effort to shift the series in a different direction.
Gabriel witnessed a fellow student commit suicide which given his rocky background is enough to concern the Decker household. But when the student’s mother approaches Peter saying she is sure her son’s death was not suicide and asks him to investigate, Peter agrees. It also causes Peter and Rina to wonder what Gabriel is not telling them. Things become even more intense when a second child, from the same elite school dies-also of an apparent suicide. Decker launches an all out full scale investigation.
Gun Games, the twentieth Decker and Lazarus novel, is really a coming of age tale in today’s world. Teens are now faced with a much more “adult” world filled with violence unseen by previous generations. Kellerman does quite a good job of taking readers into the life of not only Gabriel, but teens all across the country. She manages to give readers a plot involving bullying, guns and gangs while mixing it all with teens’ universal angst over cliques and the desire to belong.
While there isn’t much about the extended families of Rina and Peter in this book and very little of the Jewish culture which has played heavily in some of the previous books, readers should find enough in the substance of Gun Games to please them.