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The Forgotten

Cover of The Forgotten

The Forgotten

Peter Decker / Rina Lazarus Series, Book 13
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Rina Lazarus and her husband, LAPD Homicide Lieutenant Peter Decker, are shocked by an outrage that cuts close to the spiritual heart of their family. Rina's small storefront synagogue has been desecrated with anti-Semitic graffiti and grisly Nazi death camp photographs. The alleged perpetrator is seventeen-year-old Ernesto Golding, a "rich kid" obsessed with haunting suspicions about the origins of his Polish paternal grandfather. Then Ernesto is found brutally murdered, along with his therapist, Dr. Mervin Baldwin, at an exclusive nature camp that caters moneyed, troubled children. For Decker and his wife, unraveling the truth behind Ernesto's violent death becomes more terrifying with each sinister twist. For lethal secrets with roots in the horrors of a past genteration are coming to the surface, propelling Peter and Rina into a ghastly world of ruthless parents and damaged youth -- and toward a dark evil and its ultimate retribution.

Rina Lazarus and her husband, LAPD Homicide Lieutenant Peter Decker, are shocked by an outrage that cuts close to the spiritual heart of their family. Rina's small storefront synagogue has been desecrated with anti-Semitic graffiti and grisly Nazi death camp photographs. The alleged perpetrator is seventeen-year-old Ernesto Golding, a "rich kid" obsessed with haunting suspicions about the origins of his Polish paternal grandfather. Then Ernesto is found brutally murdered, along with his therapist, Dr. Mervin Baldwin, at an exclusive nature camp that caters moneyed, troubled children. For Decker and his wife, unraveling the truth behind Ernesto's violent death becomes more terrifying with each sinister twist. For lethal secrets with roots in the horrors of a past genteration are coming to the surface, propelling Peter and Rina into a ghastly world of ruthless parents and damaged youth -- and toward a dark evil and its ultimate retribution.

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  • Chapter One

    The call was from the police. Not from Rina's lieutenant husband, but from the police police. She listened as the man spoke, and when she heard that it had nothing to do with Peter or the children, she felt a "Thank you, God" wave of instant relief. After discovering the reason behind the contact, Rina wasn't as shocked as she should have been.

    The Jewish population of L.A.'s West Valley had been rocked by hate crimes in the past, culminating in that hideous ordeal a couple of years ago when a subspecies of human life had gotten off the public bus and had shot up the Jewish Community Center. The center had been and still was a refuge for all people, offering everything from toddler day camps to dance movements to exercise classes for the elderly. Miraculously, no one had been killed -- there. But the monster -- who had later in the day committed the atrocious act of murder -- had injured several children and had left the entire area with numbing fears that maybe it could happen again. Since then, many of the L.A. Jews took special precautions to safeguard their people and their institutions. Extra locks were put on the doors of the centers and synagogues. Rina's shul, a small rented storefront, had even gone so far as to padlock the Aron Kodesh -- the Holy Ark that housed the sacred Torah scrolls.

    The police had phoned Rina because her number was the one left on the shul's answering machine -- for emergencies only. She was the synagogue's unofficial caretaker -- the buck-stops-here person who called the contractors when a pipe burst or when the roof leaked. Because it was a new congregation, its members could only afford a part-time rabbi. The congregants often pitched in by delivering a Shabbos sermon or sponsoring an after-prayer kiddush. People were always more social when food was served. The tiny house of worship had lots of mettle, and that made the dreadful news even harder to digest.

    Driving to the destination, Rina was a mass of anxiety and apprehension. Nine in the morning and her stomach was knotted and burning. The police hadn't described the damage, other than use the word vandalize over and over. From what she could gather, it sounded more like cosmetic mischief than actual constructional harm, but maybe that was wishful thinking.

    She passed homes, stores, and strip malls, barely glancing at the scenery. She straightened the black tam perched atop her head, tucking in a few dangling locks of ebony hair. Even under ordinary circumstances, she rarely spent time in front of the mirror. This morning, she had rushed out as soon as she hung up the phone, wearing the most basic of clothing -- a black skirt, a white long-sleeved shirt, slip-on shoes, a head covering. At least her blue eyes were clear. There had been no time for her makeup; the cops were going to see the uncensored Rina Decker. The red traffic lights seemed overly long, because she was so antsy to get there.

    The shul meant so much to her. It had been the motivating factor behind selling Peter's old ranch and buying their new house. Because hers was a Sabbath-observant Jewish home, she had wanted a place of worship that was within walking distance -- real walking distance, not something two and a half miles away as Peter's ranch had been. It wasn't that she reminded the walk to her previous shul, Yeshivat Ohavei Torah, and the boys certainly could make the jaunt, but Hannah, at the time, had been five. The new house was perfect for Hannah, a fifteen-minute walk, plus there were plenty of little children for her to play with. Not many older children, but that didn't matter, since her older sons were nearly grown. Shmueli had left...

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.

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The Forgotten
The Forgotten
Peter Decker / Rina Lazarus Series, Book 13
Faye Kellerman
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