This is a book whose plot description held great promise, a promise that was reneged on in the telling. I hate it when that happens, don’t you?
Zena McGrath is a detective working for an International Police Organization at their Dublin Office. A routine day is turned upside down when she receives a call from her boss in the New York office. A number of Catholic Priests have died in mysterious circumstances, the latest being an Irish Priest based at the Vatican. During the course of her investigations Zena uncovers a web of deceit at the heart of the Catholic Church.
These priests have all died after performing exorcisms, and had been possess by evil spirits, minions of Satan. When she goes to the Vatican to investigate, she sees the Devil himself, a handsome devil, I might add, and lots of spirits following her around. OK, so far, so not too bad.
The Cardinal who shows her around and takes her to see a dying priest, is under suspicion, but seems sincere enough. She goes to the New York City office of her unit, and this is where things start to break down plot-wise and writing-wise. It felt like there had been some serious content editing on the first half of the book, but by the time we got to the second half, that editor had lost interest and went shopping. Here’s my grievances:
- First of all the writing. It became choppy and felt fit for a middle-school book. The whole thing is written in the present tense, strange but tolerable, but the dialog makes you want to throw up on your shoes. The characters use the name of the person they are speaking to in just about every sentence. Who talks like that? “I will be a little late, Brian.” “That’s OK, Zena. I will see you later.” “Good, Brian. I will meet you at 10:00.” “Excellent, Zena. That works for me.” “See you later, Brian.”
- The plot. Turns out Zena is called back so abruptly to NYC because a priest had been found whipped to death, tied to a pillar in a church basement, with a crown of thorns on his head. His dying words mentioned Cardinal Donatelli. It also turns out that there is this huge Satanic Cult operating in the city. Meanwhile, that Satan person is still following Zena. I’m kind of thinking that if he can pop in and out of her life, why does he need to follow her to see what she is up to? BIIIIIIG plot hole.
She goes to have a drink in the afternoon and turns out that the handsome guy who owns the bar is one of the Satanists. She learns through convoluted methods that Satan and his followers are planning a great world takeover, The New World Order. And that the United Nations has an emergency meeting and decides to ban all religions and all religious displays and observances, which set the world into turmoil. But Zena, of all the nobodies in the world, can be the one to save the world. Oh, pleeze.
It is so confusing, boring, and unbelievable. Satan tells her to get rid of him, she, the big atheist, must find God. So she goes to Jerusalem to look for God. And guess who she find? Yep, Jesus. The second coming of Jesus, who gets on the telly and remonstrates with the world and tells them to play nice, then goes back to Heaven.
See what I mean? Stupiest thing I ever read. It wasn’t too bad, interesting at least, for the first half. That ‘s why I continued reading it, hoping for it to again regain its stability, but it just kept getting worse. Oh, well, you win some, you lose some.
They say when you play that Microsoft CD backward you can hear satanic messages, but that’s nothing. If you play it forward it will install Windows 10.