Typically known for horror (Forest Ghost, 2014, etc.), Masterton crams plenty of revulsion and repulsion into this crime tale, which focuses on someone taking a monstrous revenge on the Catholic Church.
On her first day off in she can’t remember how long, Detective Katie Maguire receives a call requesting her to check out an unusual crime scene firsthand. As a female member of County Cork’s Garda, Katie’s worked doggedly to get where she is, and she heads off to the scene even though that means leaving her boyfriend, John, behind in her bed. The body that’s been found has been bound, mutilated and obviously tortured, and that’s not the worst of it; it’s missing a key piece of equipment whose absence makes the male members of Katie’s team extra-squeamish. On researching the identity of the deceased, Katie learns he was a priest and music teacher. Immediately she wonders if his death might somehow be related to the child sex abuse scandals of recent years. The appearance of a second body suggests that no one in the church may be safe. Meanwhile, Katie’s sister and roommate is bringing her own brand of danger into the house by reuniting with a married ex. Good thing Katie’s got John—or has she?
The author’s penchant for horror shines through in the gruesome details, but Masterton’s crime writing is more detailed, character-driven and carefully plotted than his other recent work.