Sacred Sins (Sacred Sins Series #1)

( 663 )

Overview

Combining explosive suspense with sensual passion, Nora Roberts turns up the heat in this classic tale — the sizzling story of a man and woman on the trail of a demented killer, a search that will plunge them headlong into danger....

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...

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Sacred Sins (Sacred Sins Series #1)

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Overview

Combining explosive suspense with sensual passion, Nora Roberts turns up the heat in this classic tale — the sizzling story of a man and woman on the trail of a demented killer, a search that will plunge them headlong into danger....

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....

A fast-paced novel of romantic suspense, Sacred Sins is set during a simmering Washington, D.C., summer when a police detective and a beautiful psychiatrist join forces to stop a serial killer nicknamed "The Priest"--and soon find themselves entangled in both love and murder. Roberts is also the author of over 40 novels including Hot Ice. .

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Roberts is indeed a word artist, painting her story and characters with vitality and verve.”
Daily News of Los Angeles
Library Journal
Psychologist Tess Court is asked to work up a profile of a serial killer called the Priest, who claims to be saving the souls of the pretty, young blondes he is dispatching. Too bad Tess is a pretty, young blonde. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553265743
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/28/1987
  • Series: Sacred Sins Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 189,198
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.85 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Nora Roberts is the author of more than 130 novels including several #1 New York Times bestsellers, with more than 70 million copies of her books in print. She lives in Maryland.

Biography

Not only has Nora Roberts written more bestsellers than anyone else in the world (according to Publishers Weekly), she’s also created a hybrid genre of her own: the futuristic detective romance. And that’s on top of mastering every subgenre in the romance pie: the family saga, the historical, the suspense novel. But this most prolific and versatile of authors might never have tapped into her native talent if it hadn't been for one fateful snowstorm.

As her fans well know, in 1979 a blizzard trapped Roberts at home for a week with two bored little kids and a dwindling supply of chocolate. To maintain her sanity, Roberts started scribbling a story -- a romance novel like the Harlequin paperbacks she'd recently begun reading. The resulting manuscript was rejected by Harlequin, but that didn't matter to Roberts. She was hooked on writing. Several rejected manuscripts later, her first book was accepted for publication by Silhouette.

For several years, Roberts wrote category romances for Silhouette -- short books written to the publisher's specifications for length, subject matter and style, and marketed as part of a series of similar books. Roberts has said she never found the form restrictive. "If you write in category, you write knowing there's a framework, there are reader expectations," she explained. "If this doesn't suit you, you shouldn't write it. I don't believe for one moment you can write well what you wouldn't read for pleasure."

Roberts never violated the reader's expectations, but she did show a gift for bringing something fresh to the romance formula. Her first book, Irish Thoroughbred (1981), had as its heroine a strong-willed horse groom, in contrast to the fluttering young nurses and secretaries who populated most romances at the time. But Roberts's books didn't make significant waves until 1985, when she published Playing the Odds, which introduced the MacGregor clan. It was the first bestseller of many.

Roberts soon made a name for herself as a writer of spellbinding multigenerational sagas, creating families like the Scottish MacGregors, the Irish Donovans and the Ukrainian Stanislaskis. She also began working on romantic suspense novels, in which the love story unfolds beneath a looming threat of violence or disaster. She grew so prolific that she outstripped her publishers' ability to print and market Nora Roberts books, so she created an alter ego, J.D. Robb. Under the pseudonym, she began writing romantic detective novels set in the future. By then, millions of readers had discovered what Publishers Weekly called her "immeasurable diversity and talent."

Although the style and substance of her books has grown, Roberts remains loyal to the genre that launched her career. As she says, "The romance novel at its core celebrates that rush of emotions you have when you are falling in love, and it's a lovely thing to relive those feelings through a book."

Good To Know

Roberts still lives in the same Maryland house she occupied when she first started writing -- though her carpenter husband has built on some additions. She and her husband also own Turn the Page Bookstore Café in Boonsboro, Maryland. When Roberts isn't busy writing, she likes to drop by the store, which specializes in Civil War titles as well as autographed copies of her own books.

Roberts sued fellow writer Janet Dailey in 1997, accusing her of plagiarizing numerous passages of her work over a period of years. Dailey paid a settlement and publicly apologized, blaming stress and a psychological disorder for her misconduct.

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    1. Also Known As:
      J. D. Robb; Sarah Hardesty; Jill March; Eleanor Marie Robertson (birth name)
    2. Hometown:
      Keedysville, Maryland
    1. Date of Birth:
      1950
    2. Place of Birth:
      Silver Spring, Maryland

Read an Excerpt

August fifteenth. It was a day following other days of sweat and hazy skies. There were no puffy white clouds or balmy breezes, only a wall of humidity nearly thick enough to swim in.

Reports on the six and eleven o’clock news glumly promised more to come. In the long, lazy last days of summer, the heat wave moving into its second, pitiless week was the biggest story in Washington, D.C.

The Senate was adjourned until September, so Capitol Hill moved sluggishly. Relaxing before a much touted European trip, the President cooled off at Camp David. Without the day-to-day shuffle of politics, Washington was a city of tourists and street vendors. Across from the Smithsonian, a mime performed for a sticky crowd that had stopped more to catch its collective breath than in appreciation of art. Pretty summer dresses wilted, and children whined for ice cream.

The young and the old flocked to Rock Creek Park, using the shade and water as a defense against the heat. Soft drinks and lemonade were consumed by the gallon, beer and wine downed in the same quantity, but less conspicuously. Bottles had a way of disappearing when park police cruised by. During picnics and cookouts people mopped sweat, charred hot dogs, and watched babies in diapers toddle on the grass. Mothers shouted at children to stay away from the water, not to run near the road, to put down a stick or a stone. The music from portable radios was, as usual, loud and defiant; hot tracks, the deejays called them, and reported temperatures in the high nineties.

Small groups of students drew together, some sitting on the rocks above the creek to discuss the fate of the world, others sprawled on the grass, more interested in the fate of their tans. Those who could spare the time and the gas had fled to the beach or the mountains. A few college students found the energy to throw Frisbees, the men stripping down to shorts to show off torsos uniformly bronzed.

A pretty young artist sat under a tree and sketched idly. After several attempts to draw her attention to the biceps he’d been working on for six months, one of the players took a more obvious route. The Frisbee landed on her pad with a plop. When she looked up in annoyance, he jogged over. His grin was apologetic, and calculated, he hoped, to dazzle.

“Sorry. Got away from me.”

After pushing a fall of dark hair over her shoulder, the artist handed the Frisbee back to him. “It’s all right.” She went back to her sketching without sparing him a glance.

Youth is nothing if not tenacious. Hunkering down beside her, he studied her drawing. What he knew about art wouldn’t have filled a shot glass, but a pitch was a pitch. “Hey, that’s really good. Where’re you studying?”

Recognizing the ploy, she started to brush him off, then looked up long enough to catch his smile. Maybe he was obvious, but he was cute. “Georgetown.”

“No kidding? Me too. Pre-law.”

Impatient, his partner called across the grass. “Rod! We going for a brew or not?”

“You come here often?” Rod asked, ignoring his friend. The artist had the biggest brown eyes he’d ever seen.

“Now and again.”

“Why don’t we—”

“Rod, come on. Let’s get that beer.”

Rod looked at his sweaty, slightly overweight friend, then back into the cool brown eyes of the artist. No contest. “I’ll catch you later, Pete,” he called out, then let the Frisbee go in a high, negligent arch.

“Finished playing?” the artist asked, watching the flight of the Frisbee.

He grinned, then touched the ends of her hair. “Depends.”

Swearing, Pete started off in pursuit of the disk. He’d just paid six bucks for it. After nearly tripping over a dog, he scrambled down a slope, hoping the Frisbee wouldn’t land in the creek. He’d paid a lot more for his leather sandals. It circled toward the water, making him curse out loud, then hit a tree and careened off into some bushes. Dripping sweat and thinking about the cold Moosehead waiting for him, Pete shoved at branches and cleared his way.

His heart stopped, then sent the blood beating in his head. Before he could draw breath to yell, his lunch of Fritos and two hot dogs came up, violently.

The Frisbee had landed two feet from the edge of the creek. It lay new and red and cheerful on a cold white hand that seemed to offer it back.

She had been Carla Johnson, a twenty-three-year-old drama student and part-time waitress. Twelve to fifteen hours before, she had been strangled with a priest’s amice. White, edged in gold.

Detective Ben Paris slumped at his desk after finishing his written report on the Johnson homicide. He’d typed the facts, using two fingers in a machine gun style. But now they played back to him. No sexual assault, no apparent robbery. Her purse had been under her, with twenty-three dollars and seventy-six cents and a MasterCard in it. An opal ring that would have hocked for about fifty had still been on her finger. No motive, no suspects. Nothing.

Ben and his partner had spent the afternoon interviewing the victim’s family. An ugly business, he thought. Necessary, but ugly. They had unearthed the same answers at every turn. Carla had wanted to be an actress. Her life had been her studies. She had dated, but not seriously — she’d been too devoted to an ambition she would never achieve.

Ben skimmed the report again and lingered over the murder weapon. The priest’s scarf. There had been a note pinned next to it. He’d knelt beside her himself hours before to read it.

Her sins are forgiven her. “Amen,” Ben murmured, and let out a long breath.

It was after one a.m. on the second week of September when Barbara Clayton cut across the lawn of the Washington Cathedral. The air was warm, the stars brilliant, but she wasn’t in the mood to enjoy it. As she walked she muttered bad-temperedly. She’d give that ferret-faced mechanic an earful in the morning. Fixed the transmission good as new. What a crock. Damn good thing she only had a couple more blocks to walk. Now she’d have to take the bus to work. The ugly, grease-smeared sonofabitch was going to pay. A shooting star exploded and trailed across the sky in a brilliant arch. She never even noticed.

Nor did the man who watched her. He’d known she’d come. Hadn’t he been told to keep watch? Wasn’t his head, even now, almost bursting from the pressure of the Voice? He’d been chosen, given the burden and the glory.

“Dominus vobiscum,” he murmured, then gripped the smooth material of the amice tightly in his hands.

And when his task was complete, he felt the hot rush of power. His loins exploded. His blood sang. He was clean. And so, now, was she. Slowly, gently, he ran his thumb over her forehead, her lips, her heart, in the sign of the cross. He gave her absolution, but quickly. The Voice had warned him there were many who wouldn’t understand the purity of the work he did.

Leaving her body in the shadows, he walked on, eyes bright with the tears of joy and madness.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 663 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(262)

4 Star

(171)

3 Star

(125)

2 Star

(55)

1 Star

(50)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 669 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 3, 2009

    Terrific Read

    I have to say this is one of the best Nora Roberts books I have read and I have read over 50 of them. This one was different because it was not a romance but the main characters were romantically involved even if they didn't want to be. The story line was a real page-turner. Ben was a hunk without even trying. Tess was a cool chick but you really got to like her. Ben and Ed were great partners and I had to laugh out loud over some of the dialog. I wholeheartedly recommend this one.

    18 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2001

    Outstanding Story

    This was the first Nora Roberts book I read and my eyes stayed glued to the book until it was finished. The book was one of the best I've read in a long time, and had a little of everything...love and mystery. I thought I had the killer pegged, but much to my surprise I was dead wrong. I just loved Ben Paris and wouldn't mind if he protected me for awhile either. The only fault I found with this book was that it had an abrubt ending and I was looking for more. This is a must read book for your library.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2000

    Great Book!!!

    This was a great book, with well developed characters and a great ending. I would recomend this book to anyone that liked a good mystery.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 16, 2011

    Awesome book!

    great book. loved the plot and the authors style

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2011

    Sacred Sin

    Why is this not listed as a reprint. And that being the case why are all 3 being listed. Even more so why is the price so high for the paperback and the Nook for a book that is 25 years old? Not real happy with reprints being the same price as originals.

    The series is excellent anyway for that time period styling.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Not Good

    I have read several books by Roberts and I am constantly asking myself "Why?" This is an example of a very boring and unimaginative thriller. The romance between the two main characters was boring and tepid. The serial killer was neither scary nor believable. All in all it was a sorry excuse for a romantic thriller. There were no thrills and there was no steamy romance.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 11, 2011

    Good book

    This book had many different turn. Very enjoyable

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2011

    blah blah blah

    good points: has good descriptions bad points: not into murders, found it boring overall: i didnt like it, im into ROMANCE not murders.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 31, 2010

    This is a Reprint!

    It's a good book but it is, indeed a reprint. I wanted to let folks know cause I HATE it when I buy a book under the guise of being new.....

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2011

    Boring

    This book was just plain boring. I couldnt even finish it. Wast of money. Oh well, on to the next book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2011

    Yawn Yawn

    I have read most of Nora Robert's books. I was very disappointed with this book. The romance between Tess and Ben was blah and not intense at all. The serial killer lacked mystery and excitement. Nora missed the mark on this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 15, 2011

    A Nice Summer Read

    It was a great summer read, kept you in suspense almost the whole time. I just wish the Priest was someone much more involved in the plot, otherwise it was decent book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 11, 2011

    highly recommended

    Nora Roberts is an awesome author. I have read a lot of her books and found very little that I have not liked. This book was exceptional.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2011

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2011

    I love Nora Roberts

    i have quite a few books from Nora Robert, i love her stories and the way she captures the readers interest from the beginning. I really recommed Nora Roberts..

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 8, 2011

    Love Tess and Ben!!!

    One of the better Nora Roberts books. Loved the way Tess and Ben's relationship evolves. How opposites "do" attract, and how they really connect on different levels, Only thing I didnt like, was that it ended way too fast. I almost gave it 4 stars because of that. But I liked the story so much and the Tess and Ben characters are the best so far. Have only read 5 Nora Roberts books so far, but I do so hope that there are more of the Sacred Sins Series coming up....love the story line. Also read Brazen, pretty good, but this one MUCH better.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 28, 2011

    Good

    Another great Nora Roberts book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2011

    LOVE

    Love this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 25, 2011

    I liked this one

    A bit different but quite good!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 17, 2011

    One of My Favorite Nora Roberts Books!

    The plot is interesting, and, written in 1987, is a bit of a blast from the past in terms of police work and technology. The main characters' interactions are my favorite part...Tess and Ben are so great together, whether fighting or romancing each other. The other characters are interesting and well-developed; I enjoyed the squad-room scenes. The only thing I wasn't too fond of was the Joey storyline. I get that it was important to help understand Tess a bit better, and help Ben bond with her, but I found those tangents a bit too lengthy. All in all, I keep coming back to this book because it's entertaining and the characters make you fall in love with them.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 669 Customer Reviews

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