PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD by Faye Kellerman


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 For a man who often seemed to be presenting himself as God, Dr. Azor Moses Sparks met an unusually ignominious end, shot and slashed to death in the car parked in the alley behind Tracadero's restaurant. Now, everywhere Lt. Peter Decker looks, he finds riddles about the discrepancy between the gifted heart surgeon's exalted reputation and the reality of his life. Why does his large family--his wife, four sons, and two daughters- -seem more shocked than grief-stricken at the news of his death? Why did Sparks spend his weekends riding with a motorcycle gang headed by toughs named Grease Pit and Sidewinder? Why did the outspoken fundamentalist keep flamboyantly gay Dr. Reginald Decameron on his staff at New Christian Hospital? Why were the latest reports on Curedon, the anti-rejection medicine Sparks had pioneered for transplant patients, seem suddenly so much more encouraging than previous trials, and why did Decameron swipe the Curedon data from Sparks's fax? And--since Decker's own family won't be spared from the maelstrom of Sparks's murder--what's the connection between Sparks's enigmatic son Abram, who turned his back on his father's fundamentalism to become a Catholic priest, and Decker's wife Rina Lazarus? Plotting as sumptuously as P.D. James, Kellerman (Justice, 1995, etc.) uses the fashionable issues of homosexuality, religious differences, and medical ethics to reach the tormented humanity at the core of the all-too-well-named Sparks family. (First printing of 100,000)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-688-14367-9
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1996


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