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Sacred and Profane Paperback – August 1, 1987
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From Publishers Weekly
Peter Decker, detective sergeant in the LAPD, meets young widow Rina Lazarus while investigating an attempted rape at the yeshiva in Deep Canyon where she lives. Rina's religious convictions shape their ensuing relationship and Peter begins the process of converting, in part for his own spiritual needs and in part to be able to marry her. On a camping trip, Rina's young sons discover two charred skeletons, plunging Pete into a case that makes up one thread in this follow-up mystery to Kellerman's The Ritual Bath. Identifying the skeletons via complex dental work (Kellerman is a dentist and the wife of suspense novelist Jonathan Kellerman), Pete traces the murders back to a grisly pornography ring centering around "snuff" films, which climax in death. Wading through the underside of LA's sex-for-sale world, Pete questions the purpose and value of religion in his life. As the horror and death toll mount, he struggles to reconcile the sordid realities with the religious practices of the yeshiva. Pete's growing isolation from Rina and increasing despair comprise the secondperhaps primaryfocus in mystery. Though leaning too heavily on Hebrew words and on details of dentistry, and with more graphic violence than at times seems necessary, Kellerman brings the case to a resounding resolution, suggesting as well a believable conclusion to Pete's personal dilemma even as she leaves his future with Rina unresolved.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A master of mystery." -- Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Moves crisply the characters are deep and well drawn-Faye Kellerman is a talented writer." -- Chicago Sun-Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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LAPD Detective Sergeant Peter Decker met Rina Lazarus, a young and very beautiful widow, while investigating a rape at a yeshiva in Deep Canyon, CA, where she lives and works. Rina is an Orthodox Jewess and the mother of two small sons, Samuel and Jacob. Attracted to each other from their first meeting, Rina and Peter, feel their relationship is "bashert," meant to be or predestined. Raised a Baptist, Peter is studying with Rabbi Aaron Schulman to become an observant Jew, both for his own spiritual needs and in order to marry Rina. At times, however, he has doubts about the course he has chosen, although he never doubts his feelings for Rina. The couple are very much in love. Besides her beauty, outside and in, Decker is drawn to her total lack of guile.
Decker has become very close to Rina's sons and takes them on a camping trip where one of the boys discovers the charred remains of two corpses. Peter, who works in juvenile crime, is temporarily assigned to homicide to investigate this case. The skeletons, two women in their teens or early twenties, are identified through complex dental work and their murders are found to be connected to a grisly pornography ring which deals in "snuff" films." The case forces Decker to deal with the dregs of humanity, and although he is a hardened combat vet who served in Vietnam, and for years with the police, he becomes increasingly agitated and depressed. The fact that he is the father of a teen-age daughter, from a prior marriage, only increases his despair and anger. Seriously questioning the existence of God and the purpose of religion in his life, he becomes ambivalent about continuing his religious studies and practices. As he delves more deeply into the complex, macabre case, Peter becomes more and more isolated from Rina. And Rina, who in no way wants to pressure him, needs to find out how committed her finance is to their relationship and to becoming an observant religious man.
The author deftly handles the workings of the intense personal relationships between Peter, Rina and their children plus crime solving with apparent ease. As with the other Kellerman books I have read, her characters are her strength. They are truly three-dimensional and their dialogue is extremely realistic. I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery, the humanity of the characters, and details of the Orthodox Jewish customs and lifestyle.
I plan to read more of this excellent author's work and highly recommend it to others.
Peter's investigation takes him to the seedy side of the street, porn movies and the elites who watch them under the protective cover of their wealth.
Meanwhile, Peter & Rina's relationship becomes more difficult as Peter is not especially devoted to learning the Jewish customs and Rina's religious beliefs prohibit her from a committed relationship with a gentile.
Thank you Faye, Jonathan and Amazon!