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Day of Atonement    by Faye Kellerman order for
Day of Atonement
by Faye Kellerman
Order:  USA  Can
HarperTorch, 2003 (1991)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* *   Reviewed by Shannon Bigham

Day of Atonement is the fourth mystery in Kellerman's series starring Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus. Peter Decker is a detective with the Los Angeles police department. At the beginning of this episode, he and Rina have wed and have embarked on a rather strange honeymoon. They are in Brooklyn visiting Rina's 'ex-in-laws' (from her previous marriage), who live in an Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn called Boro Park. Peter and Rina have arrived to celebrate the High Holy Days with the family. Peter is a recent convert to Rina's religion, having being raised as a Baptist.

Their unconventional honeymoon quickly takes a bizarre turn when Peter stumbles upon a shocking family secret that changes his life forever. In the midst of that discovery, it becomes apparent that a fourteen-year-old boy is missing - the nephew of a friend of the family they are visiting. Loam failed to appear at the family's Rosh Hashanah dinner. Peter takes charge and applies his investigative skills to find this rather mysterious and troubled teenager. It seems that Loam has befriended a deranged man, and the suspense builds as to whether Peter will be able to save him.

Despite not having read previous books in the series, it was easy to get to know Peter and Rina. My interest gravitated from Loam's disappearance to Peter's struggle to come to grips with his family's past and his adjustment to his recently adopted religion. Kellerman did an excellent job of developing complex, emotional relationships between the characters. Orthodox Jewish tradition and lore is woven throughout the novel which, while interesting, felt redundant after a while; I would have preferred more action. Regardless, I found Day of Atonement entertaining, and will be reading more in this series.

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