In Moore’s debut novel, a young boy vows revenge after his world is devastated by a priest.
Altar boy Alex Spencer discovers a heating duct that carries more than heat. Father Francis is near the other end of the duct, and in a matter of minutes—and after a few moans—Alex no longer worships the priest. He even begins to question his own burgeoning calling. Alex’s hatred for the priest turns into obsession when his mother dies in a car crash on an icy road after a mysterious meeting at the rectory. Alex had lost his father the year before, so the orphan is packed off to live with his grandparents, Jack and Doris. The wealthy, powerful couple opens their home to their estranged daughter’s only child, and they inform him that he’s to forget about his priestly ambitions and instead prepare for Harvard Law. There’s a dispute between the grandparents over whether Alex should take over Jack’s law firm or if he’ll follow Doris’ footsteps and continue into politics. In the end, Alex makes the decision mostly by himself. Along the way, he meets Reed Wentworth, an even richer kid who, in a twist of startling convenience, just might be the son of the much-reviled Father Francis. Alex deviously suggests that Reed’s dead sister might actually be his mother, feeding Alex’s need for revenge, which pretty girl Kitty McAlister can’t handle. Kitty is one of Alex’s friends from back in Stonebridge, and her love for Alex—and his for her—is cemented early in the novel. Once again, convenience rears its ugly head, as it does too often in this otherwise well-crafted novel, when Alex and Kitty continue to serendipitously run into each other. Kitty won’t commit to Alex while he’s consumed with hate for Father Francis—a wise approach that Alex comes around to only after it’s almost too late.
A well-shaped story that’s sometimes too convenient.