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on 21 August 2005
Away for the weekend recently, I picked up a copy of Faye Kellerman's "Day of Atonement" in the guest bedroom's book basket, (nice touch), and found it to be an intriguing and refreshingly delightful mystery. I really do like noir, but have perhaps been reading too much of fiction's dark side lately. This is a terrific change of pace. Although Ms. Kellerman's novel has its share of gruesomeness - a boy's disappearance, a psychopathic killer, etc. - the ethnic/cultural aspect of the story is as unusual as a sleuth series which focuses on family values.
"Day of Atonement" is the fourth in the Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus novels. However, one can easily get to know the characters and their history without having read the prior books. Peter Decker, a detective with the Los Angeles police, and his new bride Rina Lazarus are spending their honeymoon in Boro Park, Brooklyn, at the home of Rina's ex in-laws. Rina, an Orthodox Jewess had been widowed early in her first marriage and has two small sons. The couple and their boys are visiting for the High Holy Days, allowing the grandparents time with their grandchildren while Peter is still on vacation. Although Peter's birth mother was Jewish, he was raised as a Baptist and recently converted.
During the New Year dinner celebration, Peter is shocked when he comes face-to-face with a family secret, a bizarre coincidence which shakes him to the core. He has to put on his detective hat, however, even if he is discombobulated. As the meal begins, and then ends, it becomes apparent that a fourteen year-old boy is missing. Noam Levine, a relative of the family they are visiting, is a troubled youth, a real loner. Decker is called upon to use his best investigative skills to find the boy, who is in serious danger. Suspense builds as clues are discovered which show just how perilous Noam's situation is. Subplots involve Peter's past, along with his relationship with his new wife, sons and the community he has inherited through marriage. As Yom Kippur nears, (the holy Jewish Day of Atonement, a time for reflection and for forgiveness), all the narrative's various threads come together for a riveting climax.
Along with a compelling mystery, Ms. Kellerman provides a fascinating look inside an insular religious community trying to live according to the dictates of their faith. The three-dimensional characters come to life on the page. Both Rina and Peter grow individually, and as a couple, within the story. The chemistry between them is palpable. Rina is a particular appealing character. After a secular upbringing, she chose to become Orthodox. Her newly found independence, (a result of her relationship with Peter), her time as a single parent, and coping with terrors from her past combine to make her an individual well worth meeting. The novel's setting, and background are factual and handled with respect.
I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery, the humanity of the story and the characters, and details of the Orthodox Jewish customs and lifestyle. As a matter of fact as I finish this review I am about to pick up another book in the series.
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on 25 May 2013
Brilliant service. Excellent book. Faye Kellermen brings a new twist to the detective novel by introducing religion in a readable format and the bigotry which is not just in society as a whole but in the departments which are meant to defend that society. This is the fourth book in a series so it is important to read the first three to understand the characters and the dynamic between rina and peter. Must read for anyone who enjoys the detective genre but wants a newer fresher format.
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on 26 May 2016
I really enjoyed this book just as much as I have enjoyed many of the others in this series, and as I have not read them in any particular order it was really useful to read about some of the events that are referred to in later books. As many others have said, the references to the Jewish culture are very interesting and I don't feel they are over the top at all. I also really enjoy the back-story of the relationship between Rina and Decker and seeing how it evolves over time and how they learn to adjust to each other's temperaments (just as one must in real life!). I find their relationship to be very realistic and again, in no way intrusive to what this book really is, a crime novel. My only reason for deducting one star is that in the first half of the book I found it very hard to follow all of the characters and their names, especially as some of them (in my mind) are quite similar. That said, it was a very enjoyable read, with some tense moments, and some heart warming ones too. I will now be on to my next in the series.
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on 27 November 2013
Really getting into series. Good storyline with a bit of a twist. How can this relationship endure with her relatives!
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on 11 June 2001
Faye Kellerman again manges to combine a well plotted crime mystery with the great backdrop of the Decker family and other familiar characters. Day of Atonement fully absorbs the reader and makes him/her want to find out what happens in the next novel. Faye Kellerman doesn't have to rely on the gore and autopsies of some of her fellow writers to excite the reader.
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on 27 April 2014
This book is full of twist and turns...keeps you on edge all the time. I really enjoyed reading of the Jewish traditions and customs
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on 28 April 2016
peter and rina at their very best once again. this author has surpassed herself once again
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on 12 May 2015
good clean book as described
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on 3 August 2015
Love the whole series
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on 29 September 2015
Not bad easy read
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