Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rev. Parker Saint (born Brian Parker) seems to have everything going for him.  As the pastor of a popular mega-church, he has a large television following and a new book coming out.  But then there is the totally out of character "travel rage" incident at the airport where he ended up getting irate and assaulting an airline employee.  In order to avoid possible criminal charges, Rev. Saint agrees to work with the police as a consultant on a series of brutal murders.

Five people have been murdered in what looks to the police to be some sort of religious or Satanic manner.  Churches in the Grand Rapids area have also been vandalized.  Rev. Saint reluctantly agrees to assist the police, even though he feels completely out of his depth.  Both his father and grandfather were ministers at a local church, which suffered dwindling membership and eventually was forced to leave their building.  Parker is now under the guidance of Joshua Holton, an even more popular and influential televangelist, who has been guiding his career and helping his rise in popularity.  Unfortunately, Holton has strict guidelines for his continuing assistance, the most important of which is that Parker make himself available for weekly calls from his mentor.

That had been no problem, but once the police persuade him to work with them on the murder cases, Parker's time is basically spoken for.  Matters aren't helped when three mysterious priests, Father Michael, Father Ignatius and Father Xavier also show up and demand Parker's help (they have a DVD of the alleged assault of the airline employee that they might have to release to the media).  They are part of a shadowy, secret society called the Jesuits Militant who investigate religious-based crimes for the Vatican.  They are convinced the murders and vandalisms are connected, and that they are related to an attempt to find the Crown of Marbella.  This holy relic has been missing for many years, but their research indicates it might actually have made its way to Grand Rapids. They are most interested in recovering it.

So during the day, Parker follows along with police raids, suspect interrogations, autopsies, and anything else they can drag him along to.  At night, the priests show up for debriefing and further investigations.  Naturally, Parker's ministry suffers.  He has his assistant, Paige, book guest ministers for his weekly sermons, but Joshua Holton is becoming increasingly irate at being ignored.

At the same time, we follow along with "Danny" a young man who is possessed by demons.  He finds that going into small churches allows him to receive all sorts of help from the congregations -- money and exorcisms being the main draws.  He goes around to all of the churches in the area, because he discovers that once he undergoes an exorcism, the demons come back in greater numbers and with much greater power than before.  Could he be the same "Damien," a young man with seemingly creepy influence over the young people of Grand Rapids?

I enjoyed the book and was anxious to see how it played out.  There are many humorous moments in the story, even when dealing with such gruesome and disturbing topics.  The author was perhaps a bit too hard on "Rev. Saint," who's New Age-y catchphrase "God's awesome, and so are you!" is just one of the many digs at the whole "positive thinking" movement.  I also felt as if the final confrontation between the evil-doer and Rev. Saint was a bit too drawn out.  Still, the book is very entertaining and certainly a page-turner!

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for this review


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I'm a librarian who is interested in all things British. I try to visit London as often as possible, and am always planning my next trip. I lived in Sweden for a few years with my Swedish husband, so the occasional Swedish reference may occur . . .

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