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After reading a very large intense book, I chose Sanctuary as my “in between” read, thinking it would be easy and light. I was pleasantly surprised to have really enjoyed it. In the beginning I thought it was a little hokey with just too much Jewish background, but I soon came to realize it was all an integral part of the entire plot.
This murder-mystery deals with the diamond industry, and takes the reader from Los Angeles to Israel. When dealing with billions of dollars, there’s bound to be thievery, cheating, murder, suspense, throw in a little middle-east politics and you have a recipe for a great story. I have only read one other Faye Kellerman book which was years ago so I cannot compare, but Sanctuary can stand on it’s own merits. You don’t have to read any of the other Peter Decker/Rina series to enjoy this one. There are enough plot twists to engage any reader.
Having been to Israel and understanding many of the places described in the book was an added bonus. The accurate descriptions of the many different kinds of people from black-hat orthodox, to PLO terrorist, to holocaust survivor, to an L.A. police sergeant – all well done.
There was an extensive overuse of Hebrew and Yiddish words throughout the book, which may be off-putting to someone not familiar with those languages. I also felt there was just too many wasted words about Peter and Rina’s baby Hanna. I assume their side story is the common thread that makes these books a series, but I found it distracting and annoying.
Mitchell Greenberg the narrator was awesome. He pronounced every one of those Hebrew and Yiddish words perfectly, adding authenticity to the story. He changed his accent so many times to suit the characters; everything from Israeli yeshiva boys, to Orthodox old men, to Israeli women and the list goes on. He did a superb job with the inflections of all the characters.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
I'm not a big fan of the more recent Faye Kellerman books, but this older one has everything you loved in her Peter Decker series -- a whopping good mystery, tidbits of the personal life of Peter and Rina, police lore, plus the fact that Faye Kellerman writes the best dinner-table conversations of any author out there. A couple of dinner scenes in this one made me laugh out loud -- its so darn accurate you can hear it coming out of the mouths of your own family.
Something else I found spellbinding -- this book came out in 1995, and without offering a spoiler, suffice it to say that the plot involves a business trip to Israel for both Rina and Peter. In 1995, I was living in California, so back when I read this book, most of the nuances of their time in Israel probably went right past me. Now I've been living in Israel for ten years, and found Kellerman's storytelling absolutely fascinating. Israel has changed quite a bit since then, but many things remain exactly the same. When Rina finds herself driving to Hebron, all by herself, I literally cringed -- are you kidding? She's crazy! Only to find that a few minutes later, Rina is being soundly chastised by a police officer using virtually the same words I'd have used in telling her off. Kellerman's account of the streets of Israel, some of the people she writes about, are extremely accurate, even today. It was fun to see someone writing about Israel who obviously knew what they were talking about.
Huge credit in this one goes to the narrator, Mitchell Greenberg. He had to master a plethora of languages and accents, everything from Brooklynese to Yeshivish to Hebrew -- broken and fluent -- not to mention Southern California plus the southern drawl of Marge. Very impressive, how he could switch so easily from an aged Ashkenazi rosh yeshiva in Israel to a Sephardic police captain, then to the stumbling attempts at Hebrew by Peter Decker himself. Well done!
True, this book had an unusual number of highly improbable events -- amazing deductions, based on almost nothing, that not only turn out to be true, but were also provable on the first try. That's okay -- this is fiction. Leaps of faith are acceptable.
Darn good book. The best of the series, by any standard.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful