Much grittier than the first novel in the Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus series, this novel addresses personal depravity and personal spirituality, both of which actively concern the murders at the center of the novel, and the relationship between Decker and Lazarus. Taking place months after the events in 'The Ritual Bath', the opening of the novel finds Decker camping with Lazarus' two boys, one of whom stumbles upon two dead bodies. Reluctantly, Decker takes on the case, and what follows is depressing for him and for the reader: teenage prostitution, snuff films, and pyromania, just to name some of the elements. These subjects take a toll on Decker, and threaten both his relationship with Lazarus and his embrace of Judaism. As in the first novel, the characters are well-drawn and realistic; you feel for Decker and Lazarus, especially when Decker becomes self-destructive, hurting everyone around him. The multi-layered plot is much more complex and satisfying than 'The Ritual Bath', although the ending will not please romance fans. You'll be left wanting more...which is presumably where the next book will take you.