Jupiter's Bones (Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus Series #11)

Jupiter's Bones (Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus Series #11)

by Faye Kellerman

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Preeminent astrophysicist Dr. Emil Euler Ganz vanished without any warning to his family or colleagues, only to reappear fifteen years later as "Father Jupiter," founder and charismatic leader of the scientific cult the Order of the Rings of God. Now he's dead—a vial of sleeping pills and an empty bottle of vodka standing near his lifeless body.

Was Ganz's death an accident? Suicide? Or did someone hasten Jupiter prematurely out of this world? These are the questions LAPD Lieutenant Peter Decker is determined to answer as he enters the cult's fortress-like compound. Meanwhile, the mysterious disappearance of an Order acolyte and a child turns an already volatile situation even uglier, and Decker will need the wisdom and support of his wife, Rina Lazarus, to defuse a ticking time bomb of jealousy, greed, and lies before it explodes, destroying a multitude of misguided adult lives and scores of innocent children.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062087904
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/27/2012
Series: Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus Series , #11
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 384,841
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Faye Kellerman lives with her husband, New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman, in Los Angeles, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.


Beverly Hills, California

Date of Birth:

July 31, 1952

Place of Birth:

St. Louis, Missouri


B.A. in Mathematics, 1974; D.D.A., 1978

Read an Excerpt

Jupiter's Bones

Chapter One

"The thing is, they moved the body, Lieutenant."

"What?" Decker strained to hear Oliver's voice over the unmarked's radio static. "Who's they?"

"Whoever's acting as the head honcho of the Order, I guess. Marge did manage to seal off the bedroom. That's where Jupiter was found

"Could you talk up, Scott?"

"-- point being that the crime scene is screwed up, and the body has been messed with because of the shrine."


"Yeah. When we got here, the members were in the process of dressing him and constructing this shrine -- "

"Where's the body now?"

"In a small anteroom off some kind of church -- "

Temple, Decker heard a male voice enunciate from the background. "Someone with you, Detective?"

"Hold on, lemme.. ."

Decker tapped the steering wheel until Scott came back on the line. It took a while.

Oliver held his voice low. "I told them to stop messing with the corpse until you got here. Not being a trusting soul, I've been guarding the body with some self-appointed guru who calls himself Brother Pluto. I sent an officer in there to keep him company so we could talk more privately."

The electronic noise cracked through Decker's ear. He said, "You need to talk louder."

Oliver spoke up. "This Pluto person doesn't want the police here. He keeps insisting that the death was natural, waving this bogus death certificate to prove it, disregarding the empty fifth of Stoli underneath the bed. Which he claims wasn't Jupiter's because Jupiter didn't drink."

"Death certificate?" Decker said. "Has the coroner been there?"

"Nope. It was signed by agent named Brother Nova."

"Who's be?"

"Got me, sir."

"Did you explain to them what we're doing is standard procedure in sudden deaths?"

"I've tried to explain it, but Pluto's not listening." A laugh. "I've been biting my tongue, refraining from asking him where Goofy was."

Decker smiled. Oliver was showing unusual discretion. "Did you tell him that we have to transport the body to the morgue for autopsy?"

"Been saving the good news for you. Because right now, Pluto and his toons are not happy campers, though I suspect they've never been a cheerful lot. Who called the death in?"

"Jupiter's daughter. Her name is Europa Ganz. She's on the faculty at Southwest University of Technology. Jupiter used to be a hotshot professor there years ago. His real name is Emil Euler Ganz. Apparently, the daughter's not associated with the Order."

"So how'd she find out about the death?"

A good question. "I don't know, Scott. The details are sketchy." He hesitated. "Find out about Ganz's death certificate. This Nova must be a member of the Order, right?"

"I'd assume so. Probably some kind of in-house doctor. But that doesn't qualify him to sign off on Jupiter."

True enough. Decker's finely tuned psycho-BS-detector was on max. He said, "The static is really bad. I'm having trouble hearing you. Just keep status quo until I get there. "

"We're trying. But the parishioners are getting feisty. Is 'parishioners' the right word?"

It was fine with Decker although cult followers seemed more apropos. "Just try to keep everyone quiet."

"How far are you from the holy spot?"

"Four, five miles. Traffic's a little thick. I'll be there in about fifteen minutes."

"See you." Oliver clicked off.

The initial call had come through while Decker was still home, eating breakfast with his younger daughter, who was as skinny as the stick figures she drew. Hannah thought it was great fun to pick the raisins from her oatmeal, leaving behind the grainy mush. Decker was trying to spoon-feed her, attempting to get some nutrition down her gullet until Rina aptly pointed out that the child was five, and capable of feeding herself.

He lived about twenty minutes by freeway from the station house, about thirty-five minutes from the crime scene. That was on good days, and today wasn't one of them. Decker ran his left hand through strands of ginger hair now streaked with white, and settled into the seat of the unmarked Buick. He guzzled strong coffee from a thermos. Across the passenger's seat was the front page of the Los Angeles Times.

Eight-oh-five and nothing was moving.

Inching his way up to the next off-ramp, he decided to exit and take Devonshire. The boulevard was one of the main east-west arteries through the San Fernando Valley, six lanes lined with strip malls, wholesalers and industrial warehouses. Going farther west, the street's industry gave way to residences-stucco ranch houses sitting on flat land that once held agricultural orchards -- oranges, lemons, apricots. He and Rina had recently purchased a house in the area, intending to move in after a few minor renovations.

Which had turned (predictably) into a major overhaul.

He could have done the job himself if he hadn't been gainfully employed. So they bit the bullet, hiring subs while Rina acted as the contractor. One day, Decker had come to the property to find his wife precariously balanced on a ladder, pointing out to the roofer a defect near the chimney. Her skin blew in the wind as she spoke animatedly, though Decker couldn't hear a word of the conversation. Apparently the roofer had run the hose over the top of the house for twenty minutes, proudly pronouncing the place water-tight. But Rina had been skeptical. She had run the hose for three hours, discovering a leak after two hours and twenty minutes.

(The first rain would have ruined the hardwood floors, Peter.)

Decker smiled, thinking about her image -- that of his Orthodox Jewish wife perched on the highest rung of a tall ladder, one hand pointing out flaws while the other held down that hat she wore to cover her hair.

The scene helped to buoy his spirits. The day was gray and dirty, typical overcast May weather in Los Angeles. At least the cars were moving. He proceeded west into open terrain, the foothills on the right greened by the recent rains. They had become rolling waves of wild grass and flowers, spewing their pollens, making it a miserable allergy season. What Decker wouldn't have given to have the Allegra concession this year.

Jupiter's Bones. Copyright © by Faye Kellerman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Table of Contents


On Wednesday, August 4th, bn.com welcomed Faye Kellerman to discuss her latest spellbinder, JUPITER'S BONES.

Moderator: Hello, Faye Kellerman. Welcome back to bn.com. We're looking forward to chatting about JUPITER'S BONES. How is your summer going?

Faye Kellerman: Very busy and very productive. This is going to be fun. The book just came out yesterday, so this will be my first opportunity to talk about it.

Marco Aurelio from Fortaleza, Brazil: Hello there, dear Faye! I'm happy that I'm able to talk to you today. I'm a huge fan of yours, as well as a fan of your husband's books. You two are excellent writers! I've loved all of your books that I've read, and I hope to put my hands on JUPITER'S BONES very soon. I have three questions: 1) Who are the contemporary writers that you like to read and/or that have influenced your own career? 2) What's the meaning of the title of this book? 3) What's next for you? Thank you. Love from a Brazilian fan! Tell Mr. Jonathan Kellerman he has a huge Brazilian fan as well! I love you two! Thank you, really!

Faye Kellerman: There are so many contemporary writers whom I enjoy; I wouldn't know where to begin. I've just read Martin Cruz Smith's HAVANA BAY and Sue Grafton's N IS FOR NOOSE. I thought they were both excellent, and I'm a cranky reader. For the meaning of the title, JUPITER'S BONES, you'll have to read the book. And as far as what's next? Who knows? Thank you for writing all the way from Brazil. Best.

Cy from Las Vegas, NV: I'm so happy to have Peter and Rina back, but I was wondering how you found writing about Las Vegas as opposed to L.A.? Will Peter and Rina ever meet Romulus Poe?

Faye Kellerman: I've always been fascinated with Las Vegas. It was one of the few cities we could drive to when I was little. I was intrigued by the bright lights. I really enjoyed my detour there. Will I write with Las Vegas and Poe again? It's a possibility. I really liked Poe and his motley crew. But Peter and Rina are family. They're likely to stick around for a long time.

Hally from Boca Raton, FL: I read somewhere that you went to school for dentistry. Have you ever or do you plan on using that knowledge in your books? (I'm a dentist.)

Faye Kellerman: Indeed, I did go to dental school, and I graduated in 1978. I didn't practice, and so far, the ADA hasn't called me, wondering when I'm going to return. I've used forensic odontology in two books, SACRED AND PROFANE and GRIEVOUS SIN. My forensic odontologist also makes a brief cameo in the latest, JUPITER'S BONES. Best and thanks for writing.

Elke from bn.com: For online guests who haven't ready JUPITER'S BONES yet, could you tell us what Peter and Rina are up to in this thriller?

Faye Kellerman: JUPITER'S BONES is a melding of science and religion. It also talks about cults and their pitfalls, which, of course, can be quite nefarious. The science part comes out of my studies -- and love -- for science, specifically 20th-century cosmology. The religion...well, you know where that comes from. It's a very challenging case for Peter Decker, one of those situations where he sees what is going on, but there's little he can do about it. It's a fast read, and I hope all of you out there enjoy it.

Brenda Jackson from Tacoma, WA: Hi, Ms. Kellerman, and thanks for chatting tonight. I was curious how much of your Decker/Lazarus novels are inspired by real-life events or crimes that you may have learned about while researching.

Faye Kellerman: Hi, and thanks for writing. All of my stories are fiction. The joy is making it up. But you can't write meaningful characters without borrowing and burrowing from your soul. So all of my characters -- good, bad, main, secondary, cameo -- come from some part of me. To get inspiration is easy. All one has to do is pick up the paper, turn on to the Internet, or eavesdrop on conversations. I never know what is going to inspire me. I love to do research -- JUPITER'S BONES is filled with science, and I must have read about ten books for it -- but ultimately, I hope the book entertains you. Thanks.

Michele Riva from Chelsea, MA: Hi, Mrs. Kellerman. I loved your new book and what happened to Marge in this one. I can’t wait for the next one to come out.

Faye Kellerman: Hello, Michele. We've been corresponding for a number of years, and it's so nice to hear from you again. I'm thrilled that you like my newest, and I think Marge really came into her own on this one. Great to hear from you and write anytime. As always, best wishes.

Marco Aurelio from Fortaleza, Brazil: Hi there again! Tell me: Do you have a "favorite child" among your books? What's Jonathan's best book, in your opinion? Thank you.

Faye Kellerman: Hi again, Marco. No, I really don't have a favorite. Of course, you're always most enthused about the book that you're currently writing. I love all of Jonathan's books, and I wouldn't dare pick a favorite. If you were asking me for my favorite author, well, then, it would have to be Jonathan. Best.

Lewis from Cedar Rapids, IA: Are we going to see more Romulus Poe stories?

Faye Kellerman: Hi, Lewis: I'd like to see Poe and his crew crop up again, but I have to find the perfect story for them. As you know, at the end of MOON MUSIC, I left it kind of open-ended. When the story hits, then I'll write it. In the meantime, Peter and Rina are my family.

Erica from Smith College: As a Jew, do you feel limited to writing about Jews? Who are your favorite Jewish writers?

Faye Kellerman: Hi, Erica: I don't feel I'm writing Jewish books. I believe I'm writing thrillers with Jews as main characters. Everybody has to be something, and because I am so closely allied with my religion, I feel I can write more personally if my characters have compatible beliefs. I was a great fan of Kemelman's Rabbi series. But I think my favorite writer who writes about Jews would have to be Chaim Potok.

J. J. from Bakersville: Faye, how are you? I know you publish a novel about once every year, but how long does it take for you to write them? Do you rewrite and revise or is that your editor's job?

Faye Kellerman: Hi, J. J. It takes me around a year from start to finish -- from conception to publication. I do all my own rewriting and revising and that is a formidable task, let me tell you. Because my first drafts of anything are usually pretty terrible. My editor is a woman named Carrie Feron. She's great. After the manuscript is done on my end, she'll have questions and make suggestions on a separate piece of paper. I usually incorporate around 60 percent of her suggestions into my writing. A good editor never, ever marks up the manuscript. And Carrie's a good one.

Will from Metaire, CA: What is a typical work day like for you? Is it the same for your husband?

Faye Kellerman: I'm an early riser when the kids are in school -- around 6am. I take that time to exercise and read the paper, then I do carpool. I usually write anywhere from two to four hours in the morning. Break for lunch. Then, if time permits, a couple of hours in the afternoon. Since I have kids and dogs and a household, I suppose I'm no different than any other working mom except my commute is a lot shorter. Of course, there are times when I feel as if I'm juggling too many objects. But, hey, I've got the best job in the world, so I'm not complaining.

Jon from Washington, DC: And what are you working on now???

Faye Kellerman: I'm about three-fifths of the way through the newest novel, entitled STALKER. It's a Peter Decker, Rina Lazarus novel, but it features Cindy Decker in a very primary role. I love writing with Cindy. She's so smart and young and fresh and sassy. And now that she's a cop, you can imagine what Decker's going through. Thanks and take care.

Louie from Toronto, Canada: I have a comment and a quick question. First of all, I have enjoyed all of the Rina/Decker novels and usually finish them within a day!!! My question is: I noticed that the last four or five novels, when you compare them to the earlier ones, i.e. RITUAL BATH, have a different tone and style of writing. Was that deliberate? Thank you.

Faye Kellerman: Thanks for your kind words about my novels. No, I haven't deliberately changed styles. I haven't reread my early novels in years, but I bet they were a lot more terse. I do try to improve the actual language of my writing. Maybe that's what you're referring to. Writing books seems to get more challenging for me. I always seem to be searching for the perfect phrase, the perfect word. Sometimes, I'm happy, sometimes, I'm not. C'est la vie. Thanks.

Brenda Jackson from Tacoma, WA: Follow up question: When researching, have you ever come across a case or a crime that was so crazy or so horrible that you thought it would be too unbelievable to use for a novel? As you may have guessed, crime fascinates me.

Faye Kellerman: You can't write it crazy enough. Life is unbelievable. But I think it always was. I use a lot of biblical references, and you'll notice the first thing the Jewish bible talks about is sin and fratricide. Like Solomon says, "There is nothing new under the sun."

Claire from Medford, MA: Hello, Faye. What is the image on the cover of your book? What is the significance of a dog's snarl (if that's what it is)? Thanks.

Faye Kellerman: Hi, Claire. Indeed, the icon in the middle is a distorted dog. But really it can be just about any kind of monster you want. I'd spoil some of the book if I explained to you where it comes from. By the way, I have three dogs. They're all for sale! No, no, I'm just kidding. It's only when they chew up the table legs....

Vickie Sandt from Little Falls, NJ: I read somewhere that your new novel (I promise I'll read it as soon as I can) deals with a leader of a bizarre cult. Was this story inspired at all by the Hale-Bopp cult?

Faye Kellerman: Hi, Vickie. Yes, JUPITER'S BONES centers around a cult called the Order of the Rings of God. It actually does mention Heaven's Gate several times. Cults have intrigued me for a while. This is just my take on them. My particular cult deals with pseudoscience as religion. And what can happen when a charismatic leader turns out to be less than honorable. It deals with the importance of independent thinking.

Marco Aurelio from Fortaleza, Brazil: Dear Faye: Jonathan Kellerman always says that to cowrite a book with you is something almost impossible to happen, because he says he wants to keep married to you. What do you think about that? Have you ever discussed seriously this subject? Thanks!

Faye Kellerman: Hi, Marco: At the moment, it's all I can do to get through my own novel. No, we're not planning on cowriting a novel, but I think we'd like to do an anthology of short stories in the future -- if people would be interested.

Mello from Jefferson City, MO: Hello, Mrs. Kellerman. Would you mind telling us about THE QUALITY OF MERCY and its similarities to "Shakespeare in Love"? I heard there was some lawsuit....

Faye Kellerman: Hi, Mello: Yes, there is a lawsuit, and that's why I can't comment on your question. It's been an interesting experience. I have no idea as to the fate of the outcome.

Dougie from Virginia: How do you research your novels to stay fresh? While doing your research did you find out about any cults that are under the public's radar?

Faye Kellerman: Hi, Dougie: Research keeps the novel fresh because it inputs new ideas into a static process. Sometimes, the research actually modifies the original plot. I do my own research for better or worse. I just got a comment by mail that I made a few errors regarding the Mormon religion. That Mormons eschew crucifixes, and a few other details. I apologize. The mistakes are my own.

Terrence from Mansfield, OH: I'm curious to know what kind of research you do for your novels?

Faye Kellerman: Hello Terrence: I do all kinds of research: I go to police stations, I visit sites, I scan the Internet, I go to libraries and look up esoteric material. I make cold calls to insurance companies, to lawyers, to rabbis, to priests. If I feel it needs to be done, I'll do it. For QUALITY OF MERCY, I did a research visit to England. For DAY OF ATONEMENT, I went to Brooklyn. My husband came with me both times. I think he preferred London.

Dawn Smith from Geneva, NY: Hi! You are such a wonderful author. I was wondering, what authors do you count among your favorites? Thank you.

Faye Kellerman: Hey, Dawn: Thanks for your kind words. My favorite authors are too many to enumerate. Of course, I love my husband Jonathan not just as a husband but also as one of the finest crime-fiction writers alive. I wrote to someone else that I just finished HAVANA BAY and N IS FOR NOOSE. Both were excellent.

D. Ludwig from Ashland: If you could meet one writer you've never met -- living or dead -- who would that be?

Faye Kellerman: Dear D. Ludwig: If I could meet only one person, it would be Moses. If I could meet only one writer, it would probably be James M. Cain. He was one of my chief inspirations when I was first formulating my voice.

Maura Clark from Dover, NJ: Do you give much consideration between the growth and development of Rina and Peter's relationship when you write these mysteries? How would you say their relationship has grown over the past few books?

Faye Kellerman: Hey Maura: My characters grow and age like everyone else. I hope they develop. Otherwise, you have a static kind of situation like an Agatha Christie novel where Hecule Poirot is basically the same from book to book. I think Peter and Rina are comfortable with each other now. But there is always some kind of tension that crops up in relationships. It's what keeps it fresh; when you stop having differences, you're dead.

Kim Hospodar from Allentown, PA: I'm so in love with your novels. Thank you very much for writing them. When you have time, what do you like to read? Do you have any other female mystery writers to recommend?

Faye Kellerman: Dear Kim: Thanks for your nice comments. I just finished Sue Grafton's N IS FOR NOOSE. I have been a Grafton fan for years. So much so, that I bought A IS FOR ALIBI when it first came out for what...around $14.95? Wish I would have picked my stocks as well. Anyway, I also like Susan Dunlap and Sara Paretsky and Sharyn McCrumb. Best.

Julie Weller from Hoboken, NJ: Good evening, Faye. I've been working on a mystery story for a few years now -- it's coming along, slowly, but coming along nonetheless. What do you do when the words just don't seem to flow?

Faye Kellerman: Dear Julie: Don't wait for the inspiration, just write. Write anything even if it's bad. The inspiration comes with the writing itself.

Michele Riva from Chelsea, MA: Hi again. Are you ever going to do book signings in Boston?

Faye Kellerman: Hi, Michele. I don't do a lot of traveling -- except the cyber kind. But if I'm in Boston, I'll try to let you know.

Andy from Darien, CT: Do you follow the same Jewish customs your characters do?

Faye Kellerman: Hi, Andy: I am a modern Orthodox Jew. I follow many of Rina's customs, but I don't think I'm quite as particular as she is. We both love our religion, I'll say that much.

Moderator: Well, you've certainly made these 45 minutes go by quite quickly, Faye Kellerman. Thanks for spending some time with us, and we look forward to having you back on. Until then, do you have any final comments for your online fans?

Faye Kellerman: I'd just like to say to everyone out there, thank you, thank you, thank you. I love to write, and I couldn't be doing it if it weren't for you. Please know that you're appreciated by this author.


Jupiter's Bones is the next novel in Faye Kellerman's hugely popular crime-solving series featuring LAPD detective Peter Decker and wife Rina Lazarus. In this terrific installment, a brilliant, some say insane, doctor and notorious cult leader is murdered, and little evidence is found. Now Decker is faced with his most challenging, and potentially deadliest, case to date.

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Jupiter's Bones (Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus Series #11) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
JoanieS on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Faye Kellerman never disappoints. Although it started out a little slowly, once it picked up speed it kept accelerating. I love reading about Peter and Rina's relationship and family life.It provides a respite from the intense issues she explores in her books. I have been reading her books in order, this is why I have just read this ten year old book. However, her books are still relevant.
mazda502001 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Once again a great read from Kellerman. Love this series.Back Cover Blurb:Dr Emil Ganz was always extraordinary, in death as well as in life. A physicist whose theories of Cosmology thrilled the world, he disappeared at the peak of his fame, to emerge years later as Jupiter, leader of a community that preached a bizarre blend of mathematics and mysticism, drawing the credulous, the unhappy and the utterly unscrupulous into their enclosed ranks.And now Ganz's apparent suicide is threatening to destabilise this potentially explosive cult. As the battle to succeed Ganz commences, Lieutenant Peter Decker, working to uncover the scientist's precise fate, begins to fear that his death may simply be the start - and that innocents, the community's children amongst them, could be the first victims, as Jupiter's followers descend into their hellish vision of death and madness.....
memasmb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am currently reading through the whole series of Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus novels by Faye Kellerman. This book brings back the awful memories of Waco and the reminder that these cults still thrive.Enjoyed reading her handling of the Peter's stepsons teenage growing pains and how they continue to bond with their stepfather. Good balance to the horrid story line of the Order.Another book to enjoy from a great author.
tmbcoughlin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a somewhat refreshing change for the Peter Decker series. Basically, the death of a religous somewhat cult leader occurs and is not reported properly hence an investigation. In keeping with the someone in the picture did it, you just have to find out who, it seems there must have been an attempt to gain power to lead the cult. There are enough turns in the story to keep you interested but not so much to keep you up all hours reading it. The ending is a little surprising, but there are enough predictable outcomes just the same. If you like this series, this is an enjoyable book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book kept me interested up til the last page! Certainly a page turner! Highly recommended!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why do authors put so much religon in their books when its the biggest scam in the world when i finished this book it went in the garbage
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Camp jupiter Result I: welcome, rules and oath of allegince Result II: bios Result III: CAMP Result IV: armory Result V: parthon Result VI: temple Result VII: forest Result: VIII-beyond: restricted Oath: i wil swear my aligance to the holy roman empire and jupiter if i fail to do so all mighty jupiter strike me down Rules: listen to your leaders no giving fauns anything kill children of neptune and pluto they are bad luck kill greeks on sight obey the gods and may holy rome be with you Welcome - camp leader jason
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Camp jupiter?
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