Monday, March 27, 2017
Sacred and Profane (1987) Faye Kellerman
Peter Decker is trying to decide if being in love with Rina Lazarus is reason enough to take up practicing orthodox Judaism. He has become close with her sons, but chafes against the strictures and wonders if he truly has faith.
There was an easy way out. He could reveal to Rina that he was adopted and that his biological parents were Jewish, so there was no legal reason for him to convert. But he didn’t consider that a viable option. Too dishonest. He was a product of his real parents— the man and woman who’d nurtured him. And they had raised him a Baptist.
Into this personal confusion comes the discover of two charred bodies–skeletons mostly, discovered by the older of Rina’s sons as the three of them are on a camping trip.
One of the geekier things I liked in this story was Peter’s work with Dr Annie Hennon.
“The lining of the tooth follicle. Normal radiographic feature. You can see her third molars— the wisdom teeth— much more clearly on these radiographs.” She placed several small X rays on the screen. “These are called ‘periapicals’ and these are called ‘bite-wings’— the kind of X rays you normally have taken by the dentist. They give much better detail than the orthopantogram. Judging from the maturation of her molars, I’d put Jane Doe One at about fifteen or sixteen.”
Those passages were fascinating. That not only can identifications be made from teeth, but they can garner enough information to narrow down the pool of possible victims.
Because one of the two skeletons was of a teenage girl, Peter constantly reminds himself how dangerous a place the world is for young women.
“Every time you get a case with a girl my age, you get that tightness in your voice. How are you going to cope when I go away to college?”
“I’ll call you long distance.”
“After you get my tuition bills, you won’t be able to afford it.”
Now I’ll be blunt, I generally get irritated with series where the main characters can’t decide how they feel about each other–that’s why I stopped reading Kathy Reich’s Tempe Brennan series, because they kept creating obstacles where there weren’t any.
These two books are different. There is a serious obstacle between Peter and Rina, and it’s not the sort of obstacle that can be overcome in a couple of chapters, so I like that they are having difficulties, because they are *real* difficulties.
The rabbi turned to face him. “You can either wallow in self-pity or you can do better.” His voice had softened. He placed a firm hand on Decker’s shoulder and said, “The choice is yours, my friend.”
I’m quite enjoying this series.
Published by HarperCollins