In Allan’s debut thriller, a priest aims to find the people responsible for his brother’s murder, whatever the cost.
An explosion at a political rally kills a popular presidential candidate, a Muslim reformist and a lawyer who had Senate aspirations. However, authorities are baffled as to which person was the intended target of the terror attack. The lawyer’s twin brother, Luke Miller, a Catholic priest raised in a Jewish household, becomes a media celebrity in the aftermath of the tragedy, and he spends much of his day dodging paparazzi. The press’s fascination is understandable; after all, Luke wears his brother’s clothes, drives his brother’s car and goes out in public with his brother’s widow. He decides to look into the bombing on his own, even though his investigation may ultimately put other people’s lives in jeopardy. Allan’s novel is a blistering tale with all the right ingredients for a mystery—for example, Luke’s prodding reveals more questions, such as why Luke’s brother had been carrying a gun. But the author’s multifaceted characters are what give the book distinction. Luke is a bracingly ambiguous character, prone to violent retorts and wracked with guilt over the fact that he and his brother had not been on the best of terms. The novel also addresses Luke’s ties to the cloth, as his need for retribution makes him question his faith. The story is full of complex relationships; for example, Luke is indisputably attracted to both his sister-in-law Deborah, and the Muslim reformist’s sister Jami. Luke encounters many dead ends and red herrings, but they always feel like steps closer to a solution rather than throwaway pieces of a puzzle. The book’s stellar ending addresses a lingering uncertainty and leaves much for readers to ponder.
An engaging mystery, and a sizzling debut.