The novel opens with the main character, Peter Donley, winning his case by putting a parrot on the stand! The novel then shifts to the Tenderloin boy’s shelter run by the unconventional Father Martin. In the middle of the night, a young man was discovered stabbed to death. The police discover Fr. Martin’s bloody letter opener and disgusting photographs. One of the detectives previously accused Fr. Martin of harboring prostitutes and drug users. With the pictures, the Fr. Martin appeared to be a murderer as well as a pedophile. He is arrested. The Archbishop has used the legal services of Lou Giantelli, but he recently, but Giantelli had just collapsed in a courtroom and now is in the hospital. Giantelli’s nephew, Donley, must carry the torch. The novel takes off from here.
The main story line has many sub threads. They are: maintaining the physical safety of an accused pedophile priest in jail; the legal maneuvering as the District Attorney’s office tries to rush the case against the priest; helping his uncle during his recovery; working with the Archdiocese; and trying to find out what happened. The author weaves these threads with twists, misdirections, and complexity into an interesting story that captured and held my interest.
The main storyline is well woven with a rich B-storyline. There is Donley with his wife Kim, with his Uncle Gianelli. Much insight to Donley’s personality is revealed at the beginning of the novel as he tries to work on how to handle this case that is beyond anything that he has handled before. Information about Fr. Martin’s background provides much insight to his personality and motives. Lastly, there was a delightful office manager, Ruth Bell, who keeps the Law Offices running so that action is taken care of everything.
The C-storyline is very evident in this novel also. The C-storyline deals with the change of the main character overtime. Donley, while having several trials under his belt, is unsure of himself in such a major case as murder by a suspected pedophile priest. Throughout the novel, his confidence grows to meet the occasion.
Various aspects of the novel involve rape, blackmail, sex, violence and drugs, but the instances are described in in what I call the third person meaning after the fact and not as it happens. A few instances are described in detail, but not emphasized or in a titillating manner. There are only three F-bombs and just a little more use of less vulgar language. These aspects are minor to the storyline as a whole. The novel is definitely adult, but should not be objectionable for most readers.
This novel is set in 1987, which is before DNA and other CSI neat tricks pervasive now, so it relies more on old fashion detective work. I laughed when the cell phones were described as being the size of bricks. I am definitely old enough to remember those!
Overall, I enjoyed reading this novel, but while published in late 2016, the first draft was written 1996. It shows that it was an early work and not as polished as the Terry Crosswhite series. As I loved every novel in that series, I decided to give this novel a try. Based upon all of the above, I rate this novel with four stars. Do give it a try as I believe you will enjoy it.