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Publisher's Summary

Los Angeles Police Detective Peter Decker had grown very close to Rina's young sons, Sammy and Jake, as he had to their mother, and he looked forward to spending a day of his vacation camping with the boys. A nice reprieve from the grueling work of a homicide cop - until Sammy stumbles upon a gruesome sight.

Two human skeletons, charred beyond recognition, are identified by a forensic dentist as teenage girls - and for Decker, the father of a 16-year-old daughter, vacation time is over. Throwing himself professionally and emotionally into the murder case, he launches a very personal investigation: a quest that pulls him deep into the crack dens of Hollywood Boulevard and painfully close to the children of the streets and a nightmare world he must make his own.

©1987 Faye Kellerman; (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"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." (Publishers Weekly)
"Bold, taut, with an artful fusion of the down-and-dirty with characters whose personal lives we care about and whose spiritual and emotional growth are as compelling as the events themselves." (Sue Grafton)
"Moves crisply and the characters are deep and well drawn - Faye Kellerman is a talented writer." (Chicago Sun-Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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Love this book and this series!

I really like the balance of police procedural, personal relationships and information about the Jewish faith that Faye Kellerman creates in this series. The characters are well-drawn, and the interactions among them very believable.

This book deals with the discovery of two bodies by Rina's son, just at the beginning of the book, and the plot involves investigating some of the darkest corners of humanity to solve their murders. However, Peter Decker, the police sergeant who is both there at the original discovery of the bodies and works the case, finds himself torn as the depravity he has to face leads him to question the faith he has been moving toward and brings enormous tension to his relationship with Rina.

This is a book with a few somewhat graphic scenes, and I generally prefer not having to listen to descriptions of that sort. But I felt that they were handled by the author as well as possible. This book was written in 1987, which helps provide some understanding of differences between social awareness then and now. I found the narration okay--usually quite good. Just now and again it seemed a little flat. Overall, this was a very good book and listen.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Do not listen to in the car with children!

I love this series so far. I feel I am learning so much about Jewish Orthodoxy while being entertained by very believable and exciting plots. BUT, I wish it wasn't so sexually graphic. I've decided to download the next in the series because I really do like the characters and I love murder mysteries. We'll see. . .

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jean
  • Jacksonville, FL, USA
  • 05-06-08


Kellerman weaves the mystery of the crime with the mystery of personal relationships that makes the novel alive and real. The realty of how love can motivate one's actions is well written in this novel.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Terrific Book

I really enjoyed this book - even though I guess it's one of her older ones. I especially enjoyed the history of the Jewish religion.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Music, bad idea

I like the series a lot, but I REALLY don't like the music at the end and beginning of chapters. Stop that!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Pogue
  • San Diego, CA USA
  • 05-28-15

What happened? This one stunk!

What would have made Sacred and Profane better?

The narrator could have rehearsed his parts better. The main characters suffered from gross over acting. The story stumbled along and the story drug.

What could Faye Kellerman have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

The detective was made to be too flawed, the coincidences were too frequent, the emotions were silly and erratic.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Mitchell Greenberg?

Mitchell did well in "The Ritual Bath". Which is what led me to purchase this, thinking it would be good also. He just did a really bad job this time.

Any additional comments?

The production and editing was VERY BAD. And the silly and annoying music didn't help.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kelly
  • Colorado Springs
  • 12-18-13

rated down for the terrible music...

THe music detracts from the overall production! This series does a great job of intertwining the mystery with the home life of Peter and Rina. It is what I like best about Faye Kellerman's books. She teaches us about Judaism and shows us the beauty of that lifestyle all while exploring sometimes gruesome crimes. She is brilliant at this juxtaposition of the sacred and profane. However, I do wish the sex scenes were more limited. And I hope the future books contain no music.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Gary
  • Rockville, NE, United States
  • 08-16-10

The characters are charming and the story is great

Like all of the Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus novels, this story is very entertaining. What more could you ask for in a novel? Part of the fun is the character development and the relationship between all the characters. I wish Audible carried all of the Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus novels hint, hint.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Nina
  • Arlington, VA, USA
  • 03-22-08

Oh save me from music!!

I really like the combination of real life and cop life in this series, but this one was "produced" which mean altho it has a good reader, there's the inevitable suspense (?) music, which really detracts.

Also, the ending is not satisfying. I think you can make it clear that the series will continue w/o the feeling of sudden chopping off.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Ted
  • Lancaster, PA, United States
  • 12-09-15

Probably Better In Print

Look Mitchell Greenberg's a fine narrator, that wasn't my problem with "Sacred and Profane". Nope. There are two stories going on here.... Not a main story and a subplot, but two intertwined tales. Each has its own cast. As the story progresses they become more abundant and richer. Mainly I listen to AudioBooks at the gym, while doing chores, and while driving. In each case, my primary attention is frequently drawn elsewhere. Moreover there are long breaks between sessions during the day.

Reading in print is different. It's impossible for me to do that while doing anything else... Hence my attention's focused on the text in front of me. So, I rarely listen to a serious or complex work. And when I do, I try to cut out time so that is my primary activity at the moment.

Faye Kellerman's plot in "Sacred and Profane" demanded that I keep track of a number of key actors. Toward the end, I couldn't. And one cannot easily review an audio text, certainly not as easily as one can a printed text. So... I became confused in the last quarter and pushed through merely to get to the end.

Consequently, I'll not continue the Decker/Lazarus saga... At least not for a while. If you can overcome these problems and/or have different habits with respect to your listening activities, then you might enjoy "Sacred and Profane" while I didn't much.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful