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DEATH OF AN IRISH SINNER


by Bartholomew Gill

William Morrow 2001
ISBN: 0-38-097798-2

Reviewed by Jennifer Ashley

The latest installment of the Peter McGarr series begins with a woman found murdered in the estate next door to Peter's wife's family home. The woman is Mary Jo Stanton, a member of a militant Catholic group called the Opus Dei. Her money has kept the organization afloat, and she was writing a biography of the founder, a priest, which might contain some dark secrets about his past.

Mary Jo is found in a kneeling position, with a medieval flagellation device around her neck. The biography is missing, as is Mary Jo's bodyguard, a woman with two black belts in martial arts training who has killed while trying to destroy any information that might bring scandal to Opus Dei.

Things get complicated from there, and McGarr and his wife and his team of police begin to investigate the murder and the complex dealings of the Catholic group.

Although the plot was intriguing and good as a thriller, the writing seemed rushed and forced, as if this was an unedited manuscript rushed into print. The story also moves slowly; the same ground is covered several times in the first 100 pages.

This book also kills off one of the main characters (I won't give away who).

Having a main character coming to a tragic end seems to be trendy lately. I'm not sure it's a good trend, but I suppose it lends an air of reality.

I like the McGarr stories, but this one, although intriguing and sad, is not the strongest book in the series.

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