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Decker and Lazarus Books In Order

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Publication Order of Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus Books

The Ritual Bath (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sacred and Profane (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
Milk and Honey (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Day of Atonement (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
False Prophet (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Grievous Sin (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sanctuary (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Justice (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Prayers for the Dead (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Serpent's Tooth (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Jupiter's Bones (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Stalker (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Forgotten (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Stone Kiss (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Street Dreams (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Burnt House (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mercedes Coffin / Cold Case (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Blindman's Bluff (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hangman (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Gun Games / Blood Games (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Beast / Predator (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder 101 (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Theory of Death (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bone Box (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Walking Shadows (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Lost Boys (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Hunt (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Decker and Lazarus series by Faye Kellerman
Author Faye Kellerman writes the “Decker and Lazarus” series of novels. The series began publication in the year 1986, when “The Ritual Bath”, was released.

The series stars Peter Decker, a lieutenant in the LAPD, and Rina, his Orthodox Jewish wife who assists him in solving crimes. The couple relocates to upstate New York in “Murder 101”, which is the twenty-second novel in the series.

Peter meets Rina, a young widow, during an investigation at a yeshiva in the first novel. He becomes compelled to explore the religion for himself and eventually becomes a religiously observant Orthodox Jew. Even though he was raised Baptist by his adoptive parents back in Florida, he finds out during adulthood that his birth parents were Jewish, making him Jewish under traditional Jewish law, too. Peter has a daughter, named Cindy Decker, from his first marriage with Jan Decker, and a daughter, named Hannah Decker with Rina.

Aside from Peter, which is a name with obvious Christian connotations and origin, he has a Jewish name, Akiva, the same name of a famous ancient Jewish sage. To his police colleagues, he is “Peter”, “Rabbi”“Loo”, or “Old Man”. However at times of special intimacy and tenderness Rina will call him “Akivale”. On the other hand, during times of confrontation and anger his step-sons will sometimes refer to him as “Peter”.

Rina is the daughter of Holocaust survivors from Hungary. At the age of seventeen, she married a yeshiva scholar, lived in Israel with him for a bit and had two sons, named Jacob and Samuel Lazarus. She attended a US college to finish her degree in mathematics, after her first husband died of a brain tumor. She lives and teaches at a yeshiva school when she meets Peter.

During the first Lebanon War she helped care for the wounded Israeli soldiers, and gained a medical skill that was useful in her later American life. During that time she lived in the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba in the West Bank, and kept a positive attitude towards the Israeli, something she expresses in “A Stone Kiss”.

In “Prayers for the Dead” it is revealed that, Rina was deeply involved with a Roman Catholic priest who was just as deeply committed to Catholic Christianity as Rina is to Orthodox Judaism. They deeply loved each other, although it’s unclear if it was physically consummated or not, despite this being a love that was obviously contradictory to the behavior dictated by each of their religions.

Each of the novels in the series are rooted in, or include, Jewish themes in some way. It is also a central part of Rina’s identity. She keeps up the dress code strictly as well as the behavior appropriate to a “frum” Orthodox Jewish woman. She also wouldn’t have married Peter had he not been ready to become a Jew, both by birth, as well as by a conscious choice to become a practicing Orthodox Jew with everything that is involved.

“The Ritual Bath” was nominated for the 1987 Anthony Award for Best First Novel, and won a Macavity award for Best First Novel. “Prayers for the Dead” was listed by the LA Times as one of 2001’s best crime novels.

“The Ritual Bath” is the first novel in the “Decker and Lazarus” series and was released in the year 1986. Detective Peter Decker is shocked when he gets the report. Somebody has shattered the sanctuary of a remote yeshiva community in the California hills with one unimaginable crime. One of the women has been brutally raped while returning from the mikvah, the bathhouse where the cleansing ritual gets performed.

The crime got called in by Rina Lazarus. Decker is most relieved to learn that she is both an intelligent witness and calm. She is also the one and only person in this sheltered community willing to speak of this rather unspeakable violation. While Rina attempts to steer Decker through the maze of all the religious laws, these two grow closer to each other.

But before they are able to get to the bottom of the terrible crime, revelations start coming to light that are stunning to the point that they threaten to come between this hard-nose cop and the incredibly religious lady with whom he’s become irrevocably connected.

“Sacred and Profane” is the second novel in the “Decker and Lazarus” series and was released in the year 1987. Peter had grown incredibly close to Rina’s young sons, Jake and Sammy, just like he had to their mom, and looked forward to spending one day out of his vacation camping with the boys. A nice reprieve from all the grueling work as a homicide cop. Until Sammy ends up stumbling on quite the gruesome sight.

Two human skeletons, charred beyond all recognition, are identified by a forensic dentist to be teenage girls. And for Decker, who is the father to a sixteen year old daughter, the vacation has ended. Tossing himself professionally and emotionally into the murder case, he sets up a very personal investigation. It is a quest that is going to pull him deep into the crack dens on Hollywood Boulevard and painfully close to the kids on the streets and a nightmare world that he has to make his very own.

“Milk and Honey” is the third novel in the “Decker and Lazarus” series and was released in the year 1990. During the silent pre-dawn city hours, all alone with his thoughts about the woman he loves, Rina Lazarus, three thousand miles away in New York, Peter locates a tiny child, covered in blood and abandoned that is not hers. It is quite the sobering discovering, and a rather puzzling one, for nobody in the development where she was discovered steps forward to claim this young girl.

Obsessed much more deeply by this case than he ever imagined was possible, Decker’s determined to follow the scarce clues to some answer. However his trail takes him to a killing ground where four bodies are lying still and lifeless. By the time Rina comes back, Peter is held fast already in a sticky mass of passion, hatred, and murder. And this is in a world where intense sweetness is accompanied by a lethal sting.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Decker and Lazarus

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