In this novel, the first in a series of stories featuring LA detective Peter Decker and Jewish teacher Rina Lazarus, Kellerman weaves many elements together successfully: there's a crime, a hero (and heroine), the promise of romance, a social message, and enough action to keep the reader interested in both the resolution and the characters. The story begins with a rape; as heinous as the crime is, the fact that it has occurred in a yeshiva in the Southern California foothills adds even more complications that usual for Pete Decker. The community of the yeshiva is closed, literally and symbolically, to outsiders. The only person who seems willing to help Decker is Rina, a young widow who is devoted to 'Torah' Judaism, and her sense of duty includes running the mikvah, or ritual bath, for women in their purification after monthly menses. Rina found the victim, a woman who left the mikvah only to be attacked on her way home. As the plot unfolds, Kellerman reminds us of the fact that Anti-Semitism is unfortunately alive and well in our own time, even if not intended: the cops, including Decker, refer to the yeshiva as 'Jewtown' at the beginning of the novel; later, Rina is accosted by punks in a parking lot, simply because she is Jewish. Decker balances his pursuit of the yeshiva rapist with another rapist with a similar mode of operation, and the two plotlines intertwine well. Although I pretty much knew who did the yeshiva rape and why fairly quickly into the novel, the characters kept me interested in following their story: it was obvious that Rina and Decker would have some kind of relationship by the end of the book, despite Rina's devotion to her religion and only dating within it. Kellerman does add a little bit of 'deus ex machina' at the end to smooth the way for future books with these two characters, but that is forgiven, since we do end up caring about them and their relationship. Definitely a good beginning to a (hopefully) good series.