With her uncle’s life at risk, it’s up to Wild Onion Ltd.’s Kirsten (The End of Emerald Woods, 2000, etc.) to solve the case no one else wants: finding out who’s killing pedophile priests.
When the Sun-Times printed a list of priests accused of sexual misconduct in Chicago, no one thought they’d be setting up the clergymen—long removed from their parishes and either scattered in rural villages or sequestered in the Villa St. George, a retreat center at the local seminary—for murder. The police have better things to investigate than the murder of Father Thomas Kanowski, and the diocese just wants the whole mess to go away. But the news registers on attorney Larry’s Candle, and he calls Kirsten, wife of his boss Dugan, to warn her that the targets may include her uncle, Father Michael Nolan, who 30 years ago seduced a 17-year-old who came to him for counseling. Dugan considers Nolan worthless, but Kirsten’s feelings are more complicated, and soon she’s hired Cuffs Radovich to babysit the priests at Villa St. George. The stabbing of Father Stanley Immer sends Kirsten to Minnesota, where she finds Winnebago county detective Danny Wardell no more sympathetic, but more forthcoming than the Chicago cops. Still, it takes more killings to galvanize sacred and secular authorities—and to reveal to Kirsten the killer’s true plan.
A chilling backstory makes Wild Onion’s fourth a complex and creepy puzzler.