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False Prophet

Cover of False Prophet

False Prophet

Peter Decker / Rina Lazarus Series, Book 5
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L.A.P.D. Detective Peter Decker doesn't know quite what to make of Lilah Brecht. The beautiful, eccentric spa owner and daughter of a faded Hollywood legend, Lilah was beaten, robbed, and raped in her own home -- and claims to have psychic powers that enable her to see even more devastating events looming on the horizon. With his heart and mind on his pregnant young wife, Rina Lazarus, at home, Peter finds it hard to put much credence in the victim's outrageous claims, or to become too deeply involved with her equally odd brothers and aging film star mom. But when Lilah's dark visions turn frighteningly real, Decker's world will be severely rocked -- as the "false prophet's" secrets and obsessions entrap the dedicated policeman ... and point a killer toward Decker's own vulnerable family.

L.A.P.D. Detective Peter Decker doesn't know quite what to make of Lilah Brecht. The beautiful, eccentric spa owner and daughter of a faded Hollywood legend, Lilah was beaten, robbed, and raped in her own home -- and claims to have psychic powers that enable her to see even more devastating events looming on the horizon. With his heart and mind on his pregnant young wife, Rina Lazarus, at home, Peter finds it hard to put much credence in the victim's outrageous claims, or to become too deeply involved with her equally odd brothers and aging film star mom. But when Lilah's dark visions turn frighteningly real, Decker's world will be severely rocked -- as the "false prophet's" secrets and obsessions entrap the dedicated policeman ... and point a killer toward Decker's own vulnerable family.

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  • Chapter One

    Working off duty meant doing the same job without pay. But since the call's location was only twelve blocks away and the case would wind up in his detail anyway, Decker figured he might as well jump the uniforms. Cordon off the scene before the blues could trample evidence, making his on-duty tasks that much easier. He unhooked the mike, answered the radio transmitting officer -- and turned on the computer screen in the unmarked Plymouth. A few moments later, green LCD lines snaked across the monitor.

    A female assault victim -- suspected sexual trauma -- no given name or age. The Party Reporting had been female and Spanish speaking. The victim had been found by the PR in a ransacked bedroom. Paramedics had been called down.

    Decker made a sharp right turn and headed for the address.

    The interior of the Plymouth was rich with the aroma of newly baked breads -- a corn rye loaded with caraway seeds, two crisp onion boards, a dozen poppy-seeded kaiser and crescent rolls, and assorted Danishes. Goodies just pulled from the oven, so hot the bakery lady didn't dare put them in plastic. They sat in open white wax-lined bags, exhaling their yeasty breath, making his mouth water.

    Fresh bakery treats seemed to be Rina's only craving during the pregnancy and Decker didn't mind indulging her. The nearest kosher bakery was a twelve-mile round trip of peace and quiet. He enjoyed the early-morning stillness, cruising the stretch of open freeway, witnessing the fireworks on the eastern horizon. He reveled in the forty minutes of solitude and resented the intrusion of the call, the location so close he couldn't ignore it, his mind forced to snap into work-mode.

    He turned left onto Valley Canyon Drive, the roadside cutting through wide-open areas of ranchland. In the distance was the renowned Valley Canyon Spa Resort -- a two-story pink-stucco monolith carved into the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. It looked like a giant boil on the sandy-colored face of the rocks. The guys in the squad room had shortened the spa's name to VALCAN, which in turn had been bastardized to VULCAN. The running joke was that VULCAN's clientele were secret relatives of Mr. Spock beamed down to get ear jobs. VULCAN had hosted more stars than the sidewalks of Hollywood Boulevard, its facilities among the most exclusive in the United States. That, and the fact that the place was run by Davida Eversong's daughter, made it a national draw for rich anorexic women wanting to exercise themselves skeletal.

    Davida Eversong was one of those self-proclaimed grandes dames of Old Hollywood. Scuttlebutt had it that she had burrowed herself into a bungalow on the spa's acreage. Once Decker had spotted her at a local mom-and-pop market. Her features had been hidden by sunglasses and a black turban that wrapped around her cheeks and tied under her chin. It had been her getup that had attracted his attention. Who dressed like that at night except someone wanting to be noticed? But only he had given her a second glance. To the rest of the shoppers, she had been just another L.A. eccentric.

    Decker was barely old enough to remember the latter part of her long film career -- the last three or four movies where she'd been thrown some bones -- courtesy parts. Then came the talk-show circuit promoting the autobiography. The book had been a best seller. That had been about fifteen years ago and nothing public since. Still, the name Eversong conjured up images of studio Movie Queens and Hollywood glamour. Eversong's daughter was certainly not inhibited about using the connection. Maybe she was genuinely proud of Mama. Or maybe it just made good business sense.

    Scoring the base of the spa's mountain was a single...

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.

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False Prophet
Peter Decker / Rina Lazarus Series, Book 5
Faye Kellerman
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Peter Decker / Rina Lazarus Series, Book 5
Faye Kellerman
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