by Krich, Rochelle Majer

(Avon, 1992)

Reviewed by Sue Feder

Orthodox Judaism does not recognize a civil divorce. A religious divorce, called a get, must be initiated by the husband and accepted by the wife. Originally designed to protect women from being thrown out without any warning, the process has often been perverted by men who refuse to give the get for reasons of blackmail or revenge. Women who are refused a get are forbidden to remarry or have children with another, under threat of permanent excommunication. When Deena’s husband finally releases her from her marriage by his murder, though, her troubles are far from over. Although I have trouble understanding someone who holds fast to a conviction despite the fact that it may ruin her life, and despite the rather incredible lapse of police procedure which leads to the solution, the insights into Orthodoxy were fascinating.

by Krich, Rochelle

(Avon, 1999)

Reviewed by Sue Feder

Krich walks a thin but well-defined line between a believable police procedural and a psychological drama about Holocaust survivors and their families in a novel which links the possibly accidental death of an elderly man with current headlines about restitution. 

Although there is little to suggest that Nacham Pomerantz's death was a homicide, it touches the heart of LAPD detective Jessie Drake, who recently (presumably in the last book) discovered that her own mother was born Jewish and had survived World War II as a hidden child. She slowly and meticulously prizes out a complex plot of despicable preying upon people who have earned the right to live out the remainder of their lives in peace.

Jessica's tortured relationship with her family, and her desire to learn more about her heritage, are lovingly portrayed, although I was often left with the desire to smack her mother and sister both upside the head. Although the book is marred by numerous passages clearly inserted for the education of the reader rather than the furtherance of the plot, this was almost balanced by the very powerful passages of memories of life during the war.

Overall, Krich has done a good job of blending past and present, professional and personal in a sometimes very moving story.