Once again, LAPD lieutenant Pete Decker and his Orthodox Jewish wife Rina Lazarus (Serpent’s Tooth, 1997, etc.) find themselves needing unorthodox solutions to hard-pressing problems. Domestically, it’s their younger son Jacob—brilliant, charming, and oh so bored” who’s giving his parents heartburn. For instance: Decker arrives home unexpectedly to find Jacob there before him. It’s midafternoon, and where Jacob, 16, should have been is at school. Instead, he’s in bed. With Shayna, also 16, studying matters extra-curricular. What to do about restless Jacob? And what to do about the mysterious death of Dr. Emil Euler Ganz, a.k.a. Father Jupiter? Once a renowned astrophysicist, Ganz was, until his untimely passing, the leader of a notorious cult called the Order of the Rings of God. But is his passing the suicide it seemed at first, or did someone urge him into that “better world” he so often preached about? Did Guru Pluto, or Guru Nova, or Guru Bob—members of the Ring’s inner circle—aspire, prematurely, to Ring-leadership? Decker has his work cut out for him, as he searches for answers while misunderstandings and tensions proliferate almost as fast as dead bodies mount up in the cult’s compound. Finally, almost inevitably, there’s a standoff as cult members (and their children) are besieged by the police and FBI—and here, as in Waco, despite Decker’s best efforts, the end is both explosive and painful. Writing that borders on the slipshod in places, though the whole is greater than its parts. And, as usual, Decker, Rina, and their children will generate sufficient interest to keep series fans happy.