THE SHROUD OF TORRINGTON by Jeffrey J. Messenger


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The mysterious death of a close friend throws an atheist into a battle between good and evil.

For most of his life, David Paul has been alone in the world. An orphan who bounced around from one orphanage or foster home to the next, he has grown into a man with few attachments to anything other than his own resolutely skeptical worldview. His only friends are two of his coworkers, Marcus and Jessica, at a day program for developmentally disabled adults in Torrington, Conn., and one of the patients, Huey, a profoundly retarded elderly man with an affection for religious icons. The arrival of Brad Ramsey, the new manager of Huey’s group home, sparks immediate turmoil in David’s life. David observes that Jessica, long the object of his unrequited affections, is attracted to the charismatic Brad. David also comes to suspect that Brad is sexually abusing Huey. Before he can prove his suspicions, however, Huey suffers a fatal seizure and his body disappears. The two sheets in which the corpse had been enshrouded bear the imprint of Huey’s body, uncannily resembling the Shroud of Turin. In his battle to discover what happened to Huey and to bring Brad to justice, David finds his rational mindset continuously challenged by the terrifying things he witnesses, the seemingly supernatural abilities of his enemy and by the religiously-minded friends helping him. The narrative is a well-written, engrossing mystery that incorporates extensive scientific and theological debates into the life-changing experiences of the protagonist. Though some may chafe at the frequent association of socially liberal ideas with evil characters, Messenger effectively avoids tainting the narrative with excessive moralizing.

A captivating mystery with muted moral undertones.

Pub Date: Oct. 6th, 2005
ISBN: 0-595-35533-1
Program: Kirkus Indie
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