Cover image for Jupiter's bones
Jupiter's bones
Kellerman, Faye.
Personal Author:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
Thorndike, Me. : G.K. Hall & Co., [1999]

Physical Description:
563 pages ; 25 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Large Print Large Print
X Adult Large Print Large Print

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Once a world-renowned astrophysicist, Dr. Emil Ganz vanished for ten years and reappeared as "Father Jupiter, " the founder of a pseudoscientific cult called the Order of the Rings of God. For fifteen years Ganz ruled his disciples with spiritual words and an iron fist. Now, he's been found dead, a fifth of vodka and a vial of pills by his bedside. When LAPD Lieutenant Peter Decker arrives to investigate, cult members are resentful. Decker, with the support of his wife, Rina, and his detectives, refuses to back down -- even as the Order turns violent, threatening not only its naive adult members but also scores of helpless, innocent children.

Author Notes

Faye Kellerman was born in St. Louis, Missouri on July 31, 1952. She received a B.A. in mathematics and a doctorate in dentistry from UCLA. Instead of becoming a dentist, she decided to become a writer after being inspired by the success of her husband, Jonathan Kellerman.

Her first novel, The Ritual Bath, won the 1987 Macavity Award for Best First Mystery. It also became the first book in the Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus Novel series, which consists of over 20 volumes. Her other books include Moon Music, The Quality of Mercy, Prism written with Aliza Kellerman, and Double Homicide and Capital Crimes written with Jonathan Kellerman. She received a lifetime achievement award from Strand Magazine on July 10, 2013. She made the New York Times Best Seller List in 2017 with her title Bone Box.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Since virtually everything Kellerman writes turns up on the best-seller lists, there's little doubt her latest Pete Decker^-Rina Lazarus mystery will land there, too. Capitalizing on the media frenzy surrounding Heaven's Gate, Waco, and Ruby Ridge, Kellerman crafts a tense thriller that has Decker investigating the death of Dr. Emil Ganz, a brilliant but eccentric astrophysicist who gave up worldly success, transformed himself into revered cult leader "Brother Jupiter," and founded Jupiter's Order, a secretive compound where he and his loyal followers live in seeming peace. A mysterious phone call alerts the LAPD to Jupiter's death. The Order wants to be left alone to mourn their leader, but since Ganz died in suspicious circumstances, the cops are obligated to investigate. As Decker and his colleagues probe the life and death of the elusive and mysterious Dr. Ganz, they find he had some powerful enemies even among his own followers, enemies who may have hated him enough to murder him. Before the case is closed, there are threats of mass suicide, a tense standoff, and a dramatic and heart-wrenching rescue. The gifted Kellerman has pulled together elements of suspense, violence, humor, pathos, and love and wrapped them into a potent plot certain to captivate genre fans. --Emily Melton

Publisher's Weekly Review

In her 11th Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus mystery (Moon Music, etc.), Kellerman develops the theme of parent-child relationships along two fronts. Before Father Jupiter became the head of a religious cult called the Order of the Rings of God, he was a renowned astrophysicist named Dr. Emil Euler Ganz. Though Jupiter has long been out of touch with his family, when he dies mysteriously his estranged daughter, Europa, becomes a pivotal help to LAPD detective Decker's investigation. Jupiter's death looks like suicideÄuntil the autopsy reveals small amounts of arsenic in his body. Then two of the four remaining cult leaders are killed, prompting the cops to suspect that a serial killer is lurking among the group's members. When the police and FBI try to storm the cult's compound, Brother Bob, Jupiter's old attendant, wires the buildings and threatens to blow up everyone, leaving Decker to figure out how to save the lives of the compound's 96 children. Meanwhile, because of the pressures of the case, Decker is failing to give his two teenage stepsons the attention they need to weather the upheavals of adolescence. He relies on the help of his wife, Rina, to understand the rules of the boys' Jewish orthodox upbringing, but there are aspects of their lives he must take the time to find out on his own. Kellerman writes spine-tingling suspense and defines her characters well, but the scenes in which experts lecture the cops on physics and cult psychology are overlong and sometimes superfluous. Although the Decker/Lazarus family relationship strengthens in this novel, this is not the strongest of the series. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

When Emil Euler Ganz, a brilliant former astrophysicist turned cult leader, is found dead with an empty fifth of vodka under his bed, it looks like suicide. But LAPD Lieutenant Peter Decker is suspicious and begins to ask questions about the man who disappeared 25 years ago only to turn up ten years later as Father Jupiter, the charismatic leader of the Order of the Rings of God. While trying to find out how Father Jupiter died and worrying about the safety of the children in the unstable cult, Decker must also deal with a crisis in his own family when he finds his stepson Jacob in bed with a girl from school. Jupiter's Bones is Kellerman's 13th bookÄthe 11th in the best-selling series featuring Peter Decker and his wife, Rina Lazarus. Despite a rather awkward prose style, this is a page-turner. Recommended for public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/99.]ÄJane La Plante, Minot State Univ. Lib., ND (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Jupiter's Bones A Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus Novel 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." "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 a gent 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 A Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus Novel . Copyright © by Faye Kellerman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Jupiter's Bones by Faye Kellerman All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.