Book Review | Sacred Sins | Nora Roberts

Book Review | Sacred Sins | Nora Roberts

Questions, Always Questions...

IS there a point at which opposites don’t attract?

“Do you think it’s relevant, at the moment, that your father sold used cars and mine didn’t?”
Tess Court, Ch. 14, pg. 229, para. 3

Within the Leaves of Sacred Sins

Dr. Tess Court is a successful psychiastrist who is dragged into a serial killer case known as ‘The Priest’, on the recommendation of her beloved Grandfather, Senator Jonathon Writemore.

Responsible for providing a profile of the murderer, she can’t help but notice that she fits the physical description of ‘The Priest’s’ victims. 

She is assigned to work with Detectives Ed Jackson, a big bear of a man who is down to earth and easy-going and Ben Paris, a man who doesn’t like psychiatrists and is not afraid to share his views on the subject.

But when Tess starts to receive calls from ‘The Priest’, Ben appoints himself her personal protector and the more time he spends with Tess, the more he sees that there is a caring, real person behind the degree. 

As the body count starts to rise, Tess and Ben realize they are running out of time to catch a killer. A killer who always seems to be a step ahead, a killer determined to ensure  Tess’s “sins have been forgiven.” 

Can Ben and Tess bring their skill sets together as a team to catch ‘The Priest’ before Tess’s time runs out?

Sweet-Tea Rating for Sacred Sins:

Sugar Lumps

This book originally came out in 1987. However, the story is still relevant in today’s cell phone and internet world. 

If smoking offends you, don’t read this book.

The Cast: 

Dr. Tess Court is an intelligent, brave and caring woman. An orphan raised by her Grandfather, she grew up surrounded by privilege but kept her feet on the ground. Her natural empathy, and optimism allowed her to be of help to her patients, some of whom we meet throughout the story. 

Tess’s Grandfather, Senator Jonathon Writemore, is a large presence in this story without spending a lot of time on the pages. His charisma and larger than life personality jumps straight off the page. I adored him. 

Captain Harris is everything you would expect from a Police Captain in Washington, D.C. He is tough as nails, stressed out, trusts his team and has a bit of a soft heart. Don’t mistake his kindness for weakness though! 

Detective Ed Jackson is a big bear of a man who likes to keep his eating natural and mother hens the benefits of healthy living to everyone around him. His calm demeanor and gentlemanly manners belay his size. And... he blushes. 

Read the encounter in Dr. Tess’s office between Ed and Mrs. Halderman on pages 75 to 77. Poor, sweet Ed.

Character I would most like to share a Cuppa with:

I would like to sit and share a cuppa with Monsignor Tim Logan. As both a Psychiatrist and a Priest he sees the world from a secular and spiritual point of view. This allows him to help his flock as well as keeping him relatable to those who are wary of the church.

“I don’t have sex,” Logan said contemplatively. “I suppose that’s why I feel entitled to smoke and drink.”
Monsignor Logan, Ch. 14, pg. 218, para. 2

Element Ratings for Sacred Sins

Story Flow:  

The story flows quite smoothly through the entire book. Until you get to the end.

I really enjoyed that teamwork brings them all closer together to solve the murders. This produced easy segues as you read through the story from one perspective to another.

The end felt a little rushed, but considering who the killer turned out to be, I don’t think there was any other way to conceivably close the story out. 

The serial killer’s reveal was unexpected and took me a moment to consider whether or not it is plausible. That in my opinion is a successful twist!

Nail Biting:  

Picture a dog and a cat facing off against each other. Each with their backs arched and hackles raised. Low growls and hissing permeating the air. Then tell me... think they have a chance at romance? 

I honestly didn’t think these two could get it together emotionally, though physically, working together in such a highly tense atmosphere makes the physical release almost necessary. 

As the each characters back stories were slowly revealed, it started to make sense that these opposites attract. Took a while to make sense though.


“I care about you,” he said carefully. It was as close to a declaration as he’d ever come with a woman. “I want you to know that.”
Ben Harris, Ch. 12, pg. 197, para. 5

“Make love with me Ben. I’ve always wanted you to.”
Tess Court, Ch. 6, pg. 99, para. 7

I tried to find somewhere in the book where they said to each other “I love you”, I couldn’t find it. Not even at the very end. 

I found both these characters emotionally needy. After the initial adrenalin rush of the situation that brought them together passes, I am not convinced there will be enough left over to keep these two together.


My first impression of Ben Harris is a tough guy with a tender heart. Hard on criminals and soft on victims. 

He is comfortable with who his is as a man and as a police officer. His opinions are decided and backed by fact as he sees it. 

This last however, is what turned me off somewhat. His implacability, even in the face of new truths, made him a little tough to completely fall for. I am swooning from a distance here.

Emotion Coaster:  

I was completely engrossed in the murder investigation. 

The additional insight provided by Tess and Father Logan’s psychological work really drew me into that plot line. 

I cried with Tess when she received the news about a patient whom we follow throughout. He was really just a child and her work with him told us more about her as a woman than any other subplot in the story. 

There are a lot of emotional ups and downs, points for cheer and laughter (like getting drunk with a priest), some tension, disgust and anger. 

From an emotional point of view, Sacred Sins is an almost perfect read. It just lacked the moment of when Ben and Tess actually fell in love

Hot-Tea Rating for Sacred Sins:  

Though there are several instances of Ben and Tess making love in each scene the emotional aspect is introduced, there is a start to the action, then it fades to black.

This would be a comfortable read for those who shy away from graphic love scenes but would like to know there are some.

The Last Drop:

A stand alone murder mystery romance. I really liked this book. The character evolution throughout kept me interested in the entire cast. 

The murder mystery is a good one, the twists and turns kept me on the edge of my seat and absorbed me to the point where I forgot about my iced cuppa and it warmed up. 

Though I don’t feel that Ben and Tess have what it takes to make a life long commitment, I can see these two staying close and working well together on other cases. 

I highly recommend Sacred Sins by Nora Roberts more so for the crime story than the romance.

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