The Church of the Holy Child: Patricia Hale
A prologue that sets the tone for the horrific murders that are about to come when a killer relates how a parent was beaten mercilessly and how revenge would be taken on someone else. In the present 23 years later Britt Callahan and Griff Cole are now partners in a PI firm and the phone call they get enlists their help to find a missing woman. The person who called said her sister was leaving her husband and was supposed to let her know when she was safe by 7:30 but the call never came. Beth Jones starts the series of events that will fill the pages of this book, bring chills to every reader through and through as we learn the fate of her sister Shirley. Did her husband find her? Did he take Shirley Trudeau? Griff calls Britt and let’s her know that Shirley is the woman he was sent to look at. You next hear the words and cold chill from the killer talking to Father Francis on pages 5-6 ending with: He knows best meaning the Lord. He doesn’t heart the children, Father. I am their Savoir.
Father Francis is numb and can hardly function after that he’s been the priest at the Church of the Holy Child for ten year. No number of Hail Mary’s would erase the hollowness in his heart and the fear within it knowing he was helpless and could do nothing about what he just heard.
Britt Callahan tells the story in the first person within Chapter 3 as se learn more about Shirley Trudeau, the first of many women killed and wonders why no one called the police on her abusive husband. Of course the husband is the first one that Chief Haggerty would suspect and the author relates just how she met him and about dating Griff. Griff was sought after for a position in CID but declined it. Father of Allie and really smart and perceptive he prefers working with Britt and at times helping the police when needed.
The chilling voice of the killer and the frustration of the priest makes you wonder if the rules when it comes to murder and preventing other deaths should be changed. The police frustrated, no evidence to lead the police to believe that Keith killed his wife and another phone call and another body. Rochelle Davis according to her license and Gina the ME on the scene. But, when all four murders that comes stack up to revealing the MO is the same for each one the limelight goes away from the husbands or boyfriend to someone unknown. As they investigate more they begin to realize that some of the workers at the shelter might be linked to the murders and that someone there might be a leak telling the husbands when their wives are leaving the shelters and leading them to their deaths.
Peggy Taunton was a prostitute and did not fit the profile of all of the others who were married. But, somehow that person finds something about her unworthy of her child and she decides to take her life. Rhyder names the killer as the Missionary Killer which fits when you learn more and hear the voice linked to the killer when speaking to Father Francis. Another victim and this person is not done and looking into the missing hotline worker will reveal something that will change it all and let everyone know that someone is on the wrong track and that the killer is hiding in plain sight so why are they so blindsided?
When Eliza goes on cruise with Neil leaving Allie happily with Griff and Britt why do they become suspicious when she neglects calling Allie at a designated time every night? Allie becomes upset and wants to understand why her mother has deserted her while both Britt and Griff find links to Eliza and the shelter.
Learning the truth and hearing from Neil that she never showed up at the dock to go on the cruise and that he did not seem concerned scares Britt and Griff. Questioning Allie about her mother’s relationship and whether she knew she was linked to the shelter brings out some information and then it clicks.
Father Francis has a hard decision to make and when he does he might just turn it all around but not until the FBI agent does blast him and others realizing his time as a priest might be over.
When they realize that Allie and Eliza are gone and the killer reveals that might have been done to them can Britt use her powers of persuasion to con this person into thinking she will help that person retain a lawyer and reconnect with the one person that set this person on the course of destruction. Will they get to both of them in time and will they be alive? The tension builds, the suspense if palpable and the ending heartbreaking. Allie if she lives will face years of help in order to cope with what she might have endured? Eliza if they find her in time will she ever become whole?
Abuse, hate, revenge, retribution, family discord, family love and loyalty, trust, hope, survival and the realities of what happens when women are battered, beaten, seek help and it backfires are all brought to light in this novel. Britt and Griff face a bold decision that has to be made at the end. What is next for these two and will the author bring them back again to assist the police and keep Detective John Stark on the straight and narrow? A great novel that teaches women why they need to seek protection, follow the plan when leaving and making sure that they have a safe place to go in order to protect themselves and the children.
What happens when a priest risks it all: The Church of the Holy Child: Each one is precious and each child is Holy and Father Francis takes a risk what would happen if any other priest had to make that decision today?
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine