Cleansed by Fire
James R. Callan
Paperback: 238 pages
Publisher: Pennant Publishing (February 3, 2012)
Two churches have been burned in a small Texas town, and Father Frank DeLuca, pastor of Prince of Peace Church, has heard that another church will be burned.The problem is, he heard this in the confessional and church law forbids him from telling anyone.
Still Father DeLuca is compelled to try to do something to prevent another tragedy, so he begins an investigation. Among the suspects are a new man in town who is involved in the local drug scene, a man who says the churches deserve to burn, and a school drop-out who mixes alcohol and drugs.
As with most stories, this one was spurred by a real incident. A few years ago there was a series of church burnings in East Texas, and I am not surprised that someone used that as a basis for a story. Callan did a good job mixing fact and fiction.
Since I am a fan of mysteries with a much harder edge, I wanted to feel a stronger sense of real dread as the story developed, and that did not come until Father DeLuca was put in direct danger. Up to that point the story was a bit too light for my taste. However, there are a lot of readers who prefer the lighter touch, and they will enjoy this.
Father DeLuca is a well-developed character, and it was interesting to get an insight into the daily life of a priest, who came across as much like a man as a cleric. The rest of the people in the story were also well-drawn characters, and the story came to a satisfying end.
James R. Callan will be my guest this coming Wednesday. I hope you can stop by and help him feel welcome at It’s Not All Gravy.