Genia Lukin's Reviews > Sacred and Profane

Sacred and Profane by Faye Kellerman
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's review
Apr 03, 11

bookshelves: mystery-and-detective
Read on April 03, 2011

It's a cute enough schlock series, I suppose. As brain candy reading goes, it's not horrible, nor brilliant. For me, the extraneous digressions into Judaism here, there and everywhere were very offputting; I felt that, as a literary coup, they were poorly done. And that is a pity, because I would have loved to see more orthodox authors and themes written for outside audiences, and the complex life of Jewish Orthodoxy, which very few people on the outside are actually familiar with, reflected in a mainstream novel.

Still, if you want to go mainstream, you must also cater to some mainstream technique, and that includes the capability to insert themes and observations about life in an understated way, not as sermons. I also find it hard to forgive, since Rina Lazarus is depicted more as Charedi than mild Modern Orthodox, the many times the lead characters hold hands, hug, kiss, sit in each other's laps, etc'. It's not that it doesn't happen, of course, but Rina doesn't even make noises about it being forbidden - which it is, as it violates negiah.

Perhaps I am more bemused and bored - as well as occasionally downright annoyed - by these asides because I am an Orthodox Jew myself. Most of her explications, put in the mouth of Rav Schulmann, as well as simplifications, leave me very cold indeed. I don't know. I just know it detracted from the story in my eyes.

On the opposite hand, so to speak, I must compliment her at least on some of the criminology research she's obviously done. I can't speak for many details, but the dental forensics, at least, had decent amounts of accuracy in it.

So, a tepid 2.5 stars leaning towards 3. Not bad for an afternoon with a slightly fuzzy head, but nothing to write home about.
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