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The Body Under the Bridge (A Father Gilbert Mystery) Paperback – January 27, 2016
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
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"Body Under the Bridge is wonderful development of lively characters in the midst of a chilling tale." (T. Glenn Stanton, author, speaker and researcher for Focus on the Family. 2016-01-27)
"Beautifully written… Paul McCusker joins the likes of G. K. Chesterton and Dorothy L. Sayers with his wise and witty creation, Father Gilbert." (Philip Glassborow, playwright and composer 2016-01-27)
"An incredible mixture of chills and thoughtfulness." (Rob Parsons, Care for the Family 2016-01-27)
"Paul McCusker weaves threads of the natural, unnatural and supernatural into a darkly tangled mystery for his detective-turned-priest Father Louis Gilbert, to unravel." (Brian Sibley, author of Shadowlands 2016-01-27)
"Paul is a truly accomplished writer. His plot construction is masterly… Father Gilbert is a great creation." (Adrian Plass, writer and speaker 2016-01-27)
About the Author
Paul McCusker is a Peabody Award-winning audio dramatist, playwright, novelist, screenwriter and lyricist.
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The mention of an old relic held by Mary Aston is interesting. It is a cross and a sword engraved with flowers. It belonged to the Woodrich family. Paul McCusker gives the history of the Woodrich family and the relic. Still, I couldn't follow the family history well. Perhaps, it bored me with so much detail. I did want to see what the relic looked like. A black and white photo would have been enough. I looked on the internet. I could not find a picture of it.
There is also the mention of Astral Projection. If I'm understanding it correctly, this is the spirit projecting itself to another place and changing to a fleshly form? Never having heard of this term I could not decide whether I believed it could happen. I do like the fact that a new theory or idea is presented in Christian fiction causing the reader to question their personal feelings.
With dreams, I had the chance to question my feelings again. I am aware of Bible figures like Joseph and Daniel who had dreams sent to them by God. I've always taken my dreams for granted. Never thinking about whether I should journal them or try hard to remember them. I've always thought of dreams as just play things that bothered me or made me happy.
Suicide, to me, is the most important issue in the book. I had a glimpse again of how painful suicide is to a family or community. In this case, the man did not seem depressed. Nothing seemed wrong. I suppose this fact might release friends and family from feeling guilty. Now they need not belabor themselves with the fact of 'I should have known.' Whatever way its looked at suicide is traumatic for all involved including the person who leaves us. This book keeps suicide at the forefront of my mind. It is a subject that should not end up pushed under the rug.
Overall I liked the mystery. I hope the author will continue the series. I am a pushover for church fiction especially where there are monks and fathers and/or nuns and also where there are scriptural references to prayer, etc.
Unfortunately, the audio series ended on a sad and somewhat unsatisfying note as the last two Father Gilbert stories were overly focused on issues from his troubled past and the final scene gave us a sad finish to Father Gilbert's plight (albeit open-ended). Budget cutbacks by Focus On The Family to their radio drama series (which now consists only of the occasional big project every few years) meant we weren't going to see any more Father Gilbert stories and that was something I always regretted.
But now Paul McCusker has done the next best thing by bringing the character back in a new story that more importantly is set *after* the radio dramas so that allows long-time fans to no longer feel so unsatisfied by them and feel that things are picking up where they left off. It's like saying hello again to an old friend. McCusker wisely recognizes the different medium so the story does not play like a radio script and he takes advantage of the narrative device to do things that would have required more dialogue-centered action in the dramas. But the feel of the stories that made them compelling isn't affected in the least. McCusker has shown once again that the subject of horror can be done effectively in a Christian setting without the usual tendency to overly sanitize as many other Christian authors are prone to do. He also wisely allows "The Body Under The Bridge" to be an effective stand-alone story for those unfamiliar with the radio dramas, while at the same time weaving in just enough details about past stories (without spoiling their main plot resolutions) to let long-time fans know that continuity is being properly observed. Those like me who felt the best of the Gilbert audio dramas was "Dead Air" will be especially pleased to see McCusker hearken back to that one in an important way that also hints for more compelling stories to come.
While there can never be the perfect satisfaction I'd feel in seeing the Gilbert audio dramas resumed, Paul McCusker has at least done the next best thing possible and for that I and many other Father Gilbert fans thank him tremendously and we look forward to the next novel!
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