THE JESUS MAN by Robert Casey


Email this review


When inner-city rebel priest Kevin McQueen has a fatal midnight heart attack in the Beacon Hill apartment of a young black prostitute, the Church and the cops agree to join in a coverup--but soon all sorts of complications crop up in this muddily over-plotted, heavyhandedly anti-Establishment melodrama. Unscrupulous mayoral candidate Mary Cinskas threatens to reveal the McQueen/ prostitute connection unless the Church backs off from some of Bishop McQueen's old liberal programs. Deputy Superintendent Walter Sullivan, mastermind of the coverup, seems to be close to a breakdown--largely because of his alienation from his homosexual son. And old Father Haggerty himself, McQueen's best chum, has doubts about whether to persist in the coverup, especially when the cops find evidence that the death involved foul play. Furthermore, McQueen has left a tape recording to be played at his funeral, a confession that will clear up the prostitute connection (she's his daughter, a Civil Rights movement byproduct!) but will also reveal the rebel bishop's thorough disenchantment with the Church. Should Father Haggerty play the tape in public and risk enraging ambitious, conservative Archbishop Gaeta? He does so--and also winds up in a knife-and-shoot-out with two malefactors, each separately involved in McQueen's semi-natural death; Haggerty will survive long enough, however, to effect a sentimental fadeout reunion between Sullivan and his flower-childiike son. First-novelist Casey has a few neat action scenes and patches of solid dialogue here, but the narrative is busily contrived and lacking in focus. And the authenticity of the Boston-Catholic milieu is seriously undermined by dated stereotypes and pat attitudes seemingly carried over from the Sixties. Rickety.

Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 1979
Publisher: Evans