231. Bleeder by John Desjarlais

Bleeder by John Desjarlais (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 258
Ages: 18+
Finished: Oct. 8, 2011
First Published: Aug. 15, 2009
Publisher: Chisel & Cross Books
Genre: thriller, mystery, catholic fiction, christian fiction
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

My Volvo's windshield wiper's slapped away spots of mid-March drizzle, chanting shouldn't, shouldn't, shouldn't.
Acquired:  Received a review copy from Sophia Institute Press.

Reason for Reading:  I love thrillers and, of course, the Catholic angle attracted me.

Reed Stubblefield goes to spend some time away in his brother's cabin out in the boonies of Illinois.  His wife had died last year of leukemia and he plans to spend his time writing a book about Aristotle.  His, brother, a Catholic convert, sets everything up for him with the campsite where his cabin is located.  Reed learns that the nearby small town is overcrowded with people as a new assistant priest has been working there recently.  He is rumoured over the state as being a stigmatic and a healer.  The diocese moves him from parish to parish every few years due to the large crowds of people he attracts to masses from all over the country to be healed.  Father Ray is a great student of St. Aquinas, hence also very knowledgeable of Aristotle, and Father Ray and Reed start a somewhat shaky friendship considering Reed is not a believer in Christ.

When Father Ray bleeds to death during the Good Friday Mass at the culmination of the Passion, what some think is a miracle is quickly determined by the authorities to be a murder and Reed finds himself at the top of the short list of suspects.  With the help of a reporter whom he is gradually finding himself possibly attracted to, they set out to find the real killer before Reed ends up behind bars.

A top-notch thriller which is fast paced and keeps the reader guessing until the end.  A unique murder makes for a fun plot and the Catholic themes add a spiritual dimension.  After the death of the priest Reed has to deal with questioning by both the local authorities looking into the murder and a representative from the church whose sole duty is to investigate the supernatural claims made of the priest.  This gives a good showing on how such things are conducted and makes clear the Catholic position that such things are not easily accepted by the Church, and even if approved by the Church, are always left up to the individual to decide themselves whether to believe or not.  The book uses both reason and faith to carry it's characters deductions along and this leads to a riveting and inspiring read.  Looking forward to reading more from this author.


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