Science and religion have a tenuous relationship in real life and it doesn’t get any better in fiction.
When a murdered young man is found tied to a cross, the suspect list is wide open. A religious fanatic? Crazed serial killer? Unpaid drug dealers?
DI Darren Swift—leading his first major case—and DC Colette Quinn are two sharp investigators that put together a stellar team and dig deep to break the case, but it’s the unlikely pairing of a conflicted, Calvinist nun and a jaded, cynical, foul-mouthed, metal musician that keeps this read moving.
Even before Helen Hope’s tragic history was revealed, I liked her. Pragmatic and practical, the eschatologist was able to see a bigger picture than her life as a nun and question her own actions and judgment.
And the woman thought nothing of taking a risk.
After Swift and Quinn question Helen about the religious implications of the murder site, Helen searches on her own and finds startling similarities between what the police told her about the crime scene and Total Depravity, a Norwegian metal band led by Mikko Kristensen.
When Helen and Mikko team up to find answers, each of their belief systems is challenged leaving both to wonder if they know themselves at all.
Swift is intent on following a drug angle in the murder case, but Helen finds someone is mixing the concept of predestination with junk DNA and genetic markings—does it get any better than that?
Reprobation is spot on with religious detail and the hard science of gene therapy without being high-brow and boring. Characters are well-developed and memorable and will put you firmly on the side of good…or evil. Mikko is my favorite character because he will say anything to anyone. Not for shock value–okay, mostly not for shock value–but, because that’s who he is.
Plot twists are well-planned, perfectly timed… and foreshadowed. Pay attention!
As much as I enjoyed this read and the details, it loses a star because, for me, there were times it was too detailed.
Most chapters end with a situation, plight, or dilemma that had me in a hurry to get to the next page only to be met by deep, detailed descriptions of the locale and/or the historical references connected to it before getting back to the story. Extremely frustrating and took me out of the story each time.
Still, despite that, this is a smart read with a fresh plot that will challenge readers on several levels.
The ending is satisfying but wide and vague, leaving the door open for another adventure with Helen and Mikko?
I hope so, and soon!
Are you one of the elect?
Dr. Helen Hope is a lecturer in eschatology – the study of death, judgement, and the destiny of humankind. She is also a Calvinist nun, her life devoted to atoning for a secret crime.
When a body is found crucified on a Liverpool beach, she forms an unlikely alliance with suspect Mikko Kristensen, lead guitarist in death metal band Total Depravity. Together, they go on the trail of a rogue geneticist who they believe holds the key – not just to the murder, but to something much darker.
Also on the trail is cynical Scouse detective Darren Swift. In his first murder case, he must confront his own lack of faith as a series of horrific crimes drag the city of two cathedrals to the gates of hell.
Science meets religious belief in this gripping murder mystery.
Purchase Link: mybook.to/reprobation
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