Friday, January 6, 2017

Death in the Shadows by Paul McCusker

When Father Gilbert traded in his detective's badge for an Anglican priest's collar, he never expected he would be pulled into a different kind of mystery--the mystery of the spiritual world.

Attending a conference in a seaside town, he has yet another supernatural encounter, this time with a murdered girl who worked at a local massage parlor. Details of the murder lead Father Gilbert to approach the police with clues in common with other cases, bringing him into contact with a detective from his days with Scotland Yard.

Meanwhile, a local monastery has been vandalized, with grotesque images and profane graffiti defacing the altar and walls. The head of the monastery
accuses the local sex-trade industry of retaliating against his outspoken stand against it. Then, one of the brothers at the monastery is found dead in the
local red-light district. All evidence points to his having been a regular at a massage parlor--the same one where the murdered girl had worked. 

Meet the Author:
Paul McCusker received his first typewriter early in his childhood and hasn't stopped writing since. Although he received a college degree in journalism, Paul's first love was writing sketches and plays for Grace Baptist Church. In addition to Adventures In Odyssey, Paul helped to create Focus On The Family Radio Theatre, writing and directing many of its productions. Milestones include the Peabody Award-winning Bonhoeffer: The Cost of Freedom, all seven books in CS Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia series, the acclaimed Father Gilbert Mysteries, as well as many others. 
Paul has written more than forty published novels, and many radio scripts and stage plays. He is a vice president with Focus on the Family and producer of the Adventures in Odyssey series. He and his family live in Colorado Springs.

My thoughts:
I read the first book in this series a while back, and while a bit "creepy", it captured my attention and kept me interested. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to read book 2 in the Series.

This book, although similar to the first, has a completely different feel. Father Gilbert, a former Scotland Yard detective turned priest, is in the English town of Englesea, at a religious conference, which is being held there. Various circumstances led him to his now priestly profession, but in spite of the fact that he has now been priest almost as long as he was detective, he can't seem to rid himself of the investigator gene and often finds himself knee deep in a mystery. Which is the case in this story.

The morning after he arrives in town, the papers are headlined with news of a prostitute who was found murdered. As he reads the story, and ponders the information, he also sees an apparition of the murdered girl. While I myself, as a Christian, do not really believe in ghosts, this part of the story made sense to me, because after reading book one, that is part of who Father Gilbert is. He senses things, sees visions, and those visions work themselves into the plot and are part of his detective work. We do deal with both the spiritual and the natural world, and he seems to have a knack for the supernatural mix. There were times during the story though, that the visions he saw added confusion for me verses clarity. 

While reading the paper, Father Gilbert comes across the name of the investigator, police chief, who was a colleague of his in Scotland Yard. He decides to look him up, and that is how Father Gilbert ends up involved in this mystery. 

This book is a stand alone, although it may be helpful to read book one, to get the feel of the series. One of the characters in this book, is also included in book one. Personally, I think the first book was more appealing to me, although both are have an equally creepy feel. This is not the type of book I tend to read on a regular basis. I think part of what intrigues me is that the author is very forthcoming in these books about the lurking and underlying evil that is all around us. Its a reminder that we need to walk close to God, be alert because the enemy is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. 
Father Gilbert deals with demons and both outward and inward evil. The author is open and blunt about how evil affects all of us; even those we wish were immune or above it, such as priests, monks, ministers and religious people. And yet, the bottom line is that was are all sinners. There is open talk in this book of prostitutes, human trafficking, enslavement in the sexual world, and it gets brutal. I do not recommend this book for the faint of heart. At times it was honestly a bit difficult to read. Father Gilbert is open about his own temptations even as a priest, and thankfully, he does not succumb to them. 

For me, the second book was tougher to read than the first, quite dark and sinister, yet eye opening. Although not my usual choice, something draws me to them. It is so much easier not to think about the reality of the evil that dwells in this world, especially if we are sheltered, than to face it. I am so thankful we have a GOD who is greater than our enemy and who will one day put to rights the enemy, the evil and those who choose to be a part of it. It is really sad that these things are happening all around us. I think we can live in a bubble of our own making sometimes and kind of ignore them. We should have on our spiritual armor and always be ready to fight against the devil, for the cause of Christ and to win the souls of the lost. 

The author includes in the back of his book a list of organizations created to stop human trafficking. 

I received this book free from Kregel to read. I was not required to review positively. All opinions are my own. 

Focus on the family has a radio theater series about Father Gilbert. If you are interested in the Father Gilbert Mysteries by Radio Theatre you can listen to a few HERE. That would be a good cue as to whether you would enjoy this book.

You can also read my review of book one HERE.

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