Prayers for the Dead Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Prayers for the Dead

A prominent heart surgeon is found murdered, and his children lean on his priest son for support, but as the case progresses, the son emerges as the most likely suspect. Dr. Azor Sparks has been found murdered, and Lieutenant Peter Decker is on the case. Sparks was a prominent member of the community, a well-known and gifted heart surgeon with a strong Christian faith, and a slightly odd habit of hanging out with a local biker gang. He was found brutally murdered in his car behind a local restaurant. His family is distraught, his wife is feeble, and his children lean on the “golden child” of the family, Bram, for support. Bram is a priest.
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Decker and his team have many avenues to investigate: The children, who will receive a substantial insurance settlement. Sparks' colleagues at the hospital. The biker gang. Sparks' lawyer, whom they discover visiting the bikers. And something isn't quite right about that miracle drug Sparks had been developing...

The pace is swift—even as Decker investigates the murder of Azor Sparks, more people are killed: Sparks' gay colleague Dr. Reggie Decamaron, and another doctor from Sparks' hospital, are found murdered. A cross is found at the scene of the latest murder, with the Sparks name. A key is found too, with an address belonging to Bram. And when they search the priest's apartment, they find bloody clothes in a safe, and gay porn magazines. And Bram's not talking.

Then Bram's twin brother confesses that it was he who was at the murder scene. He dropped the cross. The magazines, he says, are Bram's, and he found them, addressed to his brother, at the scene of the murder. He brought them, and his clothes, to his brother's apartment, and left them with Bram. But Rina, Decker's Orthodox Jewish wife, knows Bram, or thinks she does. She knew him years ago, when he helped care for her late husband as he was dying. And it is she who provides the clue that brings it all together, at a dinner hosted by her husband: The magazines belonged to Azor Sparks. Bram's brother thought they were his because he and his father have the same initials. Azor was gay, and going to come out, and his wife had him murdered (even if she didn't quite want it to go that far).

The team rushes to the Sparks house, and finds Bram locked in a deadly embrace with his mother. She has a gun.
Best part of story, including ending: The few details about the Jewish faith were interesting. And there were real instances of, not super-human perfection, but realistic (though still admirable) righteousness.

Best scene in story: My favorite scene was when Bram was dying. I want to die that way. Heck, I want to LIVE that way.

Opinion about the main character: Lieutenant Decker has a good sense of humor.

The review of this Book prepared by Grace M. Lo Porto a Level 1 Blue Jay scholar

Chapter Analysis of Prayers for the Dead

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 50%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   Dry-cynical How difficult to spot villain?    -   Difficult, but some clues given Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   70% Special suspect?    -   relative Murder of certain profession?    -   religious person Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   Proving innocence of very obvious suspect Kind of investigator    -   police procedural, American Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   feelings towards family/friends Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   police/lawman Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Race    -   Religious Jew


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   California

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   very gorey descriptions deaths/dead bodies Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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Faye Kellerman Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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