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Death in the Sahdows #2, in A Father Gilbert Mystery, by Paul McCusker
While attending a conference at a seaside town, Father Gilbert has a supernatural encounter with a murdered girl who had worked in a massage parlor. Details of the murder lead Father Gilbert to approach the police with clues in common with other cases, getting him in contact again with a detective he once knew at Scotland Yard.
A local monastery is vandalized with profane graffiti which defaces the altar walls. The head of the monastery accuses the local sex-trade industry of retaliating against his outspoken stand against the industry. One of the brothers at the monastery is found dead in the local red-light district. Evidence leads to him having been a regular at the same massage parlor where the girl was murdered. He thought his detective days were over when he had traded in his detective badge for his priests collar.
Vendor: Lion Fiction
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 7.75 X 5.00 (inches)
Series: Father Gilbert Mysteries
When Father Gilbert traded in his detective's badge for an Anglican priest's collar, he never expected he would be pulled into a different kind of mystery--the mystery of the spiritual world.
Attending a conference in a seaside town, he has yet another supernatural encounter, this time with a murdered girl who worked at a local massage parlor. Details of the murder lead Father Gilbert to approach the police with clues in common with other cases, bringing him into contact with a detective from his days with Scotland Yard.
Meanwhile, a local monastery has been vandalized, with grotesque images and profane graffiti defacing the altar and walls. The head of the monastery accuses the local sex-trade industry of retaliating against his outspoken stand against it. Then, one of the brothers at the monastery is found dead in the local red-light district. All evidence points to his having been a regular at a massage parlor--the same one where the murdered girl had worked.
Seasons of GraceAge: 35-44Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Not my Usual style but kept me interestedJanuary 6, 2017Seasons of GraceAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 4This book, although similar to the first, has a completely different feel. Father Gilbert, a former Scotland Yard detective turned priest, is in the English town of Englesea, at a religious conference, which is being held there. Various circumstances led him to his now priestly profession, but in spite of the fact that he has now been priest almost as long as he was detective, he can't seem to rid himself of the investigator gene and often finds himself knee deep in a mystery. Which is the case in this story.
The morning after he arrives in town, the papers are headlined with news of a prostitute who was found murdered. As he reads the story, and ponders the information, he also sees an apparition of the murdered girl. While I myself, as a Christian, do not really believe in ghosts, this part of the story made sense to me, because after reading book one, that is part of who Father Gilbert is. He senses things, sees visions, and those visions work themselves into the plot and are part of his detective work. We do deal with both the spiritual and the natural world, and he seems to have a knack for the supernatural mix. There were times during the story though, that the visions he saw added confusion for me verses clarity.
While reading the paper, Father Gilbert comes across the name of the investigator, police chief, who was a colleague of his in Scotland Yard. He decides to look him up, and that is how Father Gilbert ends up involved in this mystery.
This book is a stand alone, although it may be helpful to read book one, to get the feel of the series. One of the characters in this book, is also included in book one. Personally, I think the first book was more appealing to me, although both are have an equally creepy feel. This is not the type of book I tend to read on a regular basis. I think part of what intrigues me is that the author is very forthcoming in these books about the lurking and underlying evil that is all around us. Its a reminder that we need to walk close to God, be alert because the enemy is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.
Father Gilbert deals with demons and both outward and inward evil. The author is open and blunt about how evil affects all of us; even those we wish were immune or above it, such as priests, monks, ministers and religious people. And yet, the bottom line is that was are all sinners. There is open talk in this book of prostitutes, human trafficking, enslavement in the sexual world, and it gets brutal. I do not recommend this book for the faint of heart. At times it was honestly a bit difficult to read. Father Gilbert is open about his own temptations even as a priest, and thankfully, he does not succumb to them.
For me, the second book was tougher to read than the first, quite dark and sinister, yet eye opening. The author includes in the back of his book a list of organizations created to stop human trafficking.
I received this book free from Kregel to read. I was not required to review positively. All opinions are my own.
Mark5 Stars Out Of 5awesome readJanuary 3, 2017MarkQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Some years back, Focus On the Family released The Father Gilbert Mysteries as par of their radio drama series. I loved the CDs, and was happy to see McCusker come out with some in book form. I read and reviewed the first one, and enjoyed it a lot. This book is the second of the Father Gilbert Mysteries in paperback.
Death In the Shadows is totally different from the first book. In this one. Father Gilbert is away from his home at a church convention, so it is a totally different setting. The author took a bold step with the plot and subject matter, using the sex trafficking/prostitution trade as the backdrop for the mystery. This made for a sobering, yet entertaining and suspenseful read. And I should add McCusker managed to pull it off without getting graphic or writing anything that could be problematic for the reader.
A priest helping to solve a murder is a novel idea, especially a priest that is a former police detective, but it makes for some great reading. The seeing dead people is a weird aspect, but it works for the story, and adds an extra creepy and suspenseful aspect to the story.
I like it when I can figure out who the guilty party is, but I also like it when I can't...... and this book kept me guessing all along. It has a complicated enough plot to not give much away, but not so complicated that the reader gets lost.
I very much enjoyed reading this book, and had a difficult time putting it down when I needed to. I am hoping there are more to come in this series, and am looking forward to reading more.
**Note, the books are not the same stories as on the CDs I mentioned, but are totally different stories.
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: 55-65Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Thought provoking mysteryJanuary 2, 2017bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4This is the second novel in the Father Gilbert series. As with the first in the series, the novel got off to a slow start. A little past halfway through, however, and I was hooked.
Father Gilbert is in Englesea to attend a church conference. The body of a young woman, probably of Chinese descent, had been found in a dumpster. Gilbert recognizes the detective on the case as one he knew when he worked at Scotland Yard. He decides to get in touch and before long is deeply involved in an investigation revolving around murder and human trafficking.
McCuscker has done a good job creating a British mystery. The plot is methodical as Gilbert uncovers layers of deception in between participating in panel discussions at the conference. There is not much suspense but I liked the twists in the plot.
Father Gilbert is an unusual character in that he sees apparitions. Some Christian readers may not like this idea, not believing in ghosts. There is much more to these apparitions, however. Gilbert had once given a homily about how our spiritual sensitivities were like antennae: the Holy Spirit giving us the equipment to lock into God's signal so we could be completely tuned to Him. (145) But Gilbert had never expected to receive signals from the dead. I liken the apparitions to the event in Genesis where God says Abel's blood cries out from the ground (Gen. 4:10). I looked at the apparitions as murdered people crying out for justice.
The heart wrenching theme that runs through this novel is human trafficking. We learn quite a bit about how young women are taken and forced into the sex trade. Threats about family members or other means are used to keep them there. This was disturbing reading. I want to not believe it exists but the author has added a list of several organizations working to stop such evil practices.
The novel got off to a slow start for me. It wasn't until a little over half way through that the intensity of the plot line grabbed me. I am glad I stuck with it. Besides being a good mystery, this novel gave me much to think about with respect to human trafficking and what is being done about it. I'll be looking for the next in the series, expecting another thought provoking mystery.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
lcjohnson1988IndianaAge: 45-54Gender: female2 Stars Out Of 5not the bestJanuary 2, 2017lcjohnson1988IndianaAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 2Value: 2Meets Expectations: 2Father Gilbert is at a conference with other religious leaders. He checks in to the hotel and goes to the hotel restaurant where he encounters a ghost. He quickly learns that the apparition that appeared to him is that of a recently murdered prostitute. He also experiences the appearances of multiple ghosts occasionally in the story. He doesnt know why he sees dead people, but discovers there is someone else who can see them too. He has an old friend who is in the local police department and soon is consulting on this prostitutes murder. A local priest had been visiting the prostitute before her death and is a suspect.
While Father Gilbert is in the midst of this case, a local priest approaches him for help in finding the daughter of an immigrant. Father Gilbert helps as he can, but soon learns that all is not as was presented to him and that the missing girl case may be related to the dead prostitute case. The crime boss from the area, who was in the last book, Jack Doyle makes himself known in this story by meeting Father Gilbert face to face. He makes threats, but Father Gilbert is determined to find the killer and bring him/her to justice.
I read the first book in this series and thought it pretty good, but in this second book I just couldnt connect with the story. It is a very dark and often times for me disturbing topic that is the basis for the story, that of human trafficking for sex. Homosexuality is mentioned in the story between two minor characters. The story itself is well written, although some of the chapters are long, and it did make me think about the societal responsibility for these women being in this horrific situation and what we can do about it. I do like the character of Father Gilbert and his persistence in solving a crime. Also, the supernatural aspect of the story just didnt seem to work well for me. I dont believe in ghosts, so having Father Gilbert get involved in a mystery because of the appearance of a ghost was hard for me to accept. Im not sure if I will continue reading this series or not.
Jill StanishMidwestAge: 35-44Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5A glimpse at the evil of human traffickingDecember 30, 2016Jill StanishMidwestAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 5Meets Expectations: 4Death in the Shadows is the next installment in the series about Father Gilbert, ex-policeman turned priest who has a penchant for solving mysteries. While this book makes passing references to previous stories, each novel presents and solves its own case.
While attending a conference for clergy, Father Gilbert sees an apparition of a woman who has been killed. He feels compelled to contact the police about what he's seen. An acquaintance from his police days happens to be working the case and Father Gilbert finds himself trying to balance police work while keeping up with his clergy duties at the conference. His investigation reveals the layers of evil within the Engelsea community.
This mystery had darker undertones and definite allusion to the spiritual warfare that surrounds the human trafficking business. Father Gilbert seems to be able to see and sense demonic beings that have a stake in the "business." As the investigation unfolds, the pervasiveness of the evil becomes evident. And Father Gilbert soon discovers that not everyone wants to be set free.
Grappling against corruption, temptation, deception and greed, Father Gilbert becomes instrumental in finding justice for more than one murder. Given the mature nature of the story, I would recommend it for adult reading. Hopefully McCusker's book will not only raise awareness of the reality of human trafficking but also mobilize people to help stop it. The author includes a list of organizations that are trying to put a stop to this modern day slavery.
I should mention that in addition to the "vision" that Father Gilbert has of a murdered woman, he also sees ghost-like beings from various time periods. That was kind of weird and I would have preferred to have that portion out. That may discourage some from reading the book.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of Death in the Shadows from Kregel Publications for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.