Sacred and Profane

Faye Kellerman, Author Arbor House $16.95 (311p) ISBN 978-0-87795-887-1
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. (June 15)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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