Prayers for the Dead (Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus Series #9)

Prayers for the Dead (Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus Series #9)

by Faye Kellerman


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The brutal murder of Dr. Azor Sparks in an alley behind a restaurant is greeted with public outrage and a demand for swift, sure justice. But the investigation into the well-known surgeon's death is raising too many questions and providing too few answers for homicide detective Lieutenant Peter Decker.

Why, for example, would the family of a man so beloved respond to his slaying with more surprise than grief? And what linked a celebrated doctor with strict fundamentalist beliefs to a gang of outlaw bikers? But the most unsettling connection of all is the one that ties the tormented Sparks family to Peter Decker's own — and the secrets shared by a renegade Catholic priest...and Decker's wife, Rina Lazarus.

Author Biography: Faye Kellerman introduced L.A. cop Peter Decker and his wife, Rina Lazarus, to the mystery world fifteen years ago. Since then she has published twelve Decker/Lazarus novels, the most recent being the New York Times bestseller Stalker. She is also the author of Moon Music, a contemporary thriller set in Las Vegas, and The Quality of Mercy, a historical novel of Elizabethan England. Kellerman lives in California with her husband, noted author Jonathan Kellerman, and their four children, three dogs, and fish too numerous to count.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780783819105
Publisher: Cengage Gale
Publication date: 11/01/1996
Series: Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus Series , #9
Pages: 586
Product dimensions: 6.42(w) x 9.51(h) x 1.31(d)

About the Author

Faye Kellerman lives with her husband, New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman, in Los Angeles, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.


Beverly Hills, California

Date of Birth:

July 31, 1952

Place of Birth:

St. Louis, Missouri


B.A. in Mathematics, 1974; D.D.A., 1978

Read an Excerpt


"This is a team effort, Grace. You know that.''

Even through morphine-laden stupor, Grace knew that. From her hospital bed, she looked up at her doctor's face—study in strength. Good, solid features. A well-boned forehead, Roman nose and a pronounced chin, midnight blue eyes that burned fire, tar-black hair streaked with silver. His expression, though grave, was completely self-assured. Someone who knew what he wanted and expected to get it. Truth be told, the man looked downright arrogant.

Which was exactly the kind of doctor Grace had wanted. What she hadn't wanted was some young stud like Ben Casey or an old fart like Marcus Welby with the crinkly eyes and the patient, understanding smile. She had wanted someone bursting with ego. Someone whose superiority was touted, worn with pride like Tiffany jewelry. A self-possession that spoke: Of course the operation is going to be successful. Because I always succeed Because getting a new heart was serious business.

Grace Armstrong had to have the best and the brightest. Had the luxury to afford the best and the brightest And in Dr. Azor Moses Sparks, she had gotten numero uno.

Dope was winning the battle of wits with Grace's brain. Sparks's face had lost clarity, sat behind a curtain of haze, his features becoming blurry except for the eyes. They peered through the muck like high-beam head lights. She wanted to go to sleep. But Sparks's presence told her she wasn't permitted to do that . . . not just yet.

He spoke in authoritative, stentorian tones. The sounds bounced around Grace's brain, words reverberating as if uttered through a malfunctioning PA system. Doctor's voice. . . ". . . what we have here,Grace. A team comprised of me: the primary surgeon; you: the patient; and my staff-the other fine surgeons and nurses who'll assist me in this procedure."

Grace liked how Dr. Sparks had emphasized his fine staff. As if he owned New Christian Hospital.

Maybe he did.

She closed her eyes, anxiety now replaced by the overwhelming need to go comatose. But Sparks wouldn't let up.

"Grace, open your eyes. We still have uncompleted business to finish."

Grace opened her eyes.

"We mustn't forget someone very important," Sparks reminded her. "The most important member of our team."

The surgeon paused.

"Do you know who that is, Grace? Do you know whose Hands really control this entire effort?"

Grace was silent. Though groggy and heavy, she felt her ailing heart fluttering too fast. He was testing her and she was flunking. She regarded Sparks through panicky eyes. The doctor smiled, gently patted her hand The gesture reassured her immensely.

Sparks pointed upward. Grace's eyes followed the narcotic-induced flickering path of the surgeon's index finger.

Respectfully, Sparks said, "We mustn't forget Him."

"God?'' Grace was breathless.

"Yes, Grace.'' Sparks nodded "We mustn't forget our holy, heavenly Father."

Grace spoke, her words barely recognizable. "Believe me, Dr. Sparks, I've been praying nonstop."

Sparks smiled It lit up his face, gave warmth to his stern demeanor. "I'm very glad to hear that. So let us pray together, Grace. Let us both ask God for His help and for His guidance."

The surgeon went down on his knees. At that moment, Grace thought him very odd, but didn't comment. Sparks 's manner suggested that the ritual wasn't subject to debate. She closed her eyes, managed to put her hands together.

"Dear heavenly Father,'' Sparks began, "be our guiding light through this time of darkness. Be a strong beacon to direct us through this upcoming storm. Show us Your mercy and Your love in its abundancy. Let Your wisdom be our wisdom. Your perfection be our perfection. Let Grace Armstrong be upmost in her fortitude. Give her strength and faith. In Your abundant love, allow me and my staff to be swift and sure-footed as we embark on another journey to heal the sick and mend the feeble."

Grace winced inside at the word feeble.

"And now a moment of silence," Sparks said "You may add your own words of prayer here, Grace."

Her own words were: Please, let me go to sleep, wake up and have this shitty ordeal behind me.

Sparks's eyes were still closed Grace's head felt leaden, her brain so woozy it threatened to shut down. She managed to make out Sparks's face, his lids opening. Suddenly, his eyes seemed injected with newly found vigor.

Grace liked that.

Sparks regarded his patient, swept his skilled hands over her lids, and gently closed them. ''Go to sleep, Grace. Tomorrow you'll be a new woman."

Grace felt herself going under. No longer was her health in her hands.

It was up to Sparks.

It was up to God.

At that moment, they were one and the same.

Copyright ) 1996 by Faye Kellerman

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Prayers for the Dead 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read 5 other novels by Faye Kellerman in this series and find this to be the most boring. I am currently bogged down at about page 300 but forcing myself to finish. I feel one of the most useless points of this particular novel is the overly large cast of family characters in the Dr. Sparks family. I normally start out all my Kellerman novels with speed and wonder , but nearly always get bogged down in the middle somehow. Often the Chissidic element gets overdone for a mystery novel and not a religious text. In this case, it is the overblown character list. It is too bad that I often finish her novels forcing myself to do so and not even caring about the ending. ***** The exception was Milk and Honey , which was truly fascinating and humorous at times.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kellerman is always on the money with her books.
memasmb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great book. Lieutenant Peter Decker investigates the grissly murder of a famous heart surgeon, Dr. Azor Sparks. There are so many twists and turns through out the book you are constantly surprised when the whole story is tied together. Even Decker's wife, Rina is part of the saga.
Fantasma on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As part of the Unread Authors Challenge, I finally picked up this book from my huge TBR pile, 4 years later...It's a nice book, readable, with some good suspense and misteries along the way, but I just felt it dragged for too long, 150 or 200 pages less wouldn't be missed (maybe Mrs Kellerman follows her husband path? - even though he writes better!) and then the end is just soooo rushed, in 30 pages we discover everything, with a "who is he??" bad guy and a "I'm so lucky" find. I thought Cindy was usually a caracter, but I've found out it's her father the main figure in the series.I don't know if I'll read more, with so many good books hanging around...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GREAT READ! So suspenseful! I couldn’t put it down!
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