Friday, January 16, 2015

Book Review - Sacred Sins by Nora Roberts

From the book cover: In the lazy days of summer, a merciless heat wave is the biggest story in Washington, D.C. But the weather is knocked off the front pages when a young woman is found strangled to death. A note left behind reads Her sins are forgiven her.Two more victims soon follow, and suddenly every headline is devoted to the killer the press has dubbed “the Priest.” 

When the police ask top-notch psychiatrist Dr. Tess Court to help with their investigation, she comes up with a disturbing portrait of a twisted soul.

Detective Ben Paris doesn’t give a damn about the killer’s psyche. What he can’t easily dismiss is Tess. Tall, dark, and good-looking, Ben has a legendary reputation with women, but the coolly elegant Tess doesn’t react to him like other women he’s known — and he finds the challenge enticing.

Now, as the two are thrown together in a perilous quest to stop a serial killer, the flame of white-hot passion flares. But someone also has his eyes on the beautiful blond doctor ... and Ben can only pray that if the madman strikes, he'll be able to stop him before it’s too late....

My take: I had bought this book after reading the above blurb on the book cover. I love mysteries and this seemed like the ideal book to continue my obsession with crime stories. Unfortunately, I was disappointed once I was well into the book. 

The book starts off promisingly, which was the reason that I was hooked. But after a few dozen pages, the mystery factor of the book slowly dwindles down till it focuses on the romance quotient between the lead characters- Dr. Tess and Detective Ben. Ben is a character who is troubled by his past and holds a grudge against all psychiatrists blaming them for the death of his brother many years back. Tess, on the other hand, is a rich but classy character who tries to help all her clients and goes out of her way to help them. 

I do realize that it is supposed to be a tale of "suspense and sensual passion" as was mentioned on the book cover, but I felt what could've been a power packed thriller was lost somewhere in between. The characters are etched out well, but somehow, it didn't work for me. 

When I read a thriller, I expect to fall headlong into the crime. I'm intrigued by the murderer/ bad guy/ villain. These are beautiful characters in shades of grey that makes a book absolute page turners. What ticks them off, the elements of unpredictability, the way their mind works, how you can get thrown off by their behavior... The possibilities are endless. However, in Sacred Sins, the murderer seemed to fade into the background. Maybe this was the reason why I didn't warm to the book. 

I wanted to know more about "the Priest", why he believed in absolution, what made the victims of crime special - all blonde women in their twenties. The story had such a great potential that when the killer was finally revealed, I was left with a sour aftertaste upon completing the novel. It was surreal and seemed like a shortcut to get to the end of the mystery so that the author could finish off the story. Yes, Roberts offers an explanation to your questions, but it just wasn't satisfactory for my taste. 

Now, I'm not revealing what the big mystery is because it would take out the fun in reading this one (if you are going to read it, that is). I did wish on more instances than one that the doctor and detective would focus on the case in hand rather than tearing each other's clothes off and making earth shattering love. 

Of course, Roberts is an author who is known for her romantic novels, but when it comes to a subject such as this, I really did wish she had concentrated more on working out the mystery factor and making it a story that was jam packed with mystery and terror. 

This is one of Roberts' earlier works and I guess the changes are evident when you read her newer books. Well, I guess this is one book from which she has evolved as a writer. So, if you are looking for a good Nora Roberts book, I would suggest you pick some of her later works. And if you are looking for a good kick ass mystery (like me), give this one a pass. 

Linking this post to Write Tribe Pro Blogger Challenge


  1. I don't get into romance novels but Nora Roberts fascinates me because she has written over 200 books, and has remained a best selling author. I am in awe of talent like that, even if I don't enjoy her main genre. It's too bad she turned a thriller into a romance. It would have been a good way to stretch herself as a writer. She missed the opportunity. Alana

    1. I agree. She's an inspiration. I do enjoy her novels in the romance genre from time to time, whenever the mood suits me.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Alana. And welcome to my blog!

  2. Points take... Never read a book...
    I hope that this would lead to the start!


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