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Wednesday, 20 June 2018

The Boys Upstairs - Jane Lebak - Father Jay Book 2

The Boys Upstairs
Father Jay Book 2
Jane Lebak
Philangelus Press

ISBN 9781942133025
eISBN 9781926931128
ASIN B01BN2SR1M 


I need to confess something before writing my review of this book. I enjoyed this book so much I read book three before writing the review. And currently I tend to alternate fiction and non-fiction. I chose a really short non-fiction to read between this book and book three. I really, really wanted to see where the story was going. Ok confessions aside time to review the book.

This book continues a short while after Bulletproof Vestments, Father Jay Farrell is a disabled priest. His brother is a cop. When they were younger they were both involved in gangs and lived on the edge. But After Jay joined the military and was disabled when his vehicle exploded; he came to the catholic faith. And ended up becoming a priest. And he and Kevin are estranged. He serves at a poor inner city parish. And in this volume he has turned the rectory into an unofficial home for street kids. He has rules for the boys. They need to either go to school or if old enough they need to work. Some of the boys have formed a new gang called the Archangels. 

When Father Jay's brother shows up late at night with three siblings Father Jay takes them in and trusts God to find a way to work things out. But father Jay has a lot on his plate. Supporting the buys upstairs. Running the soup kitchen in the church, called the cafeteria. Running a parish on a shoe string budget. And trying to follow God, in all he does.

The summary of the book on the jacket is:

"Three homeless children. Two estranged brothers. One last chance.

Kevin Farrell is a jaded police officer trying to save three homeless children. But it's three nights before Christmas, and the only one he can ask for help is his brother Jay, a disabled priest. 

The catch? He and his brother have been estranged because after all the evil he's seen, Kevin cannot believe in God. Only now, to save these homeless kids, with temperatures below zero and falling, Kevin knows it's going to take both him and his brother working together, but first they'll have to mend the breach between them." 

There is a lot of action in this little volume. It adds nicely to the tale of Father Jay and Officer Kevin. It is a good read and I sincerely hope this series will not end with the three books currently available. But I will warn you once you read this book you will immediately want book three to continue the story. I great read well worth picking up and giving a go.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Jane Lebak:
Pickup Notes
Love's Highway
Forever And For Keeps
Half Missing

Father Jay Series:
Bulletproof Vestments
The Boys Upstairs
A Different Heroism

...

Seven Archangels:
1.0 An Arrow In Flight
2.0 Sacred Cups
3.0 Shattered Walls
4.0 The Wrong Enemy
5.0 Annihilation


Seven Archangels Short Stories:
2.1 Damage
2.2 Even A Stone
2.3 Hired Man
2.4 Winter Branches
5.5 Once Only

Seven Angels Short Story Bundle 2.1-2.4

The Adventures of Lee and Bucky:
1.0 Honest And For True
2.0 Upsie-Daisy

Rails of Sweet Grove:
2.0 Love's Rules of the Road

Non-Fiction:
Carrying to Term: A Guide for Parents after a Devastating Prenatal Diagnosis






A Different Heroism
Father Jay Book 3
Jane Lebak
Philangelus Press

ISBN 9781942133216
ASIN B01M5IS044


It is with sadness that I begin to write this review. For it is currently the final book in the Father Jay Farrell series. I have read the trilogy in the last week and a half and have loved the concept and execution of these books. I had picked up books 2 and three before even finishing books one. And because of a personal commitment to try and alternate between non-fiction and fiction I picked a shorter volume of fiction to read between book 2 and this volume. The three books in this series are: Bulletproof Vestments, The Boys Upstairs, and A Different Heroism. Each is a powerful story, all three are great Christian fiction. And a wonderful Catholic story. 

Over the last few years I have been reading more and more Catholic and Christian Fiction and less and less secular fiction. As a father with three young and growing children looking back I have read and reviewed a lot of books that I would not read today. This book and this series are examples of what I call clean fiction. Yes, there is some violence in these books, and it is more so in this volume, but it fits the story. It is not gratuitous, and it is not excessive. It is a tale of friendship, loyalty, and a story about a priest who would do anything to protect his charges. 

In this volume the three main story arcs. They are, first father Jay's health, he was severely injured in Iraq and several exemptions had to be made in order for him to be ordained. But Father Jay has been pushing too hard, he has not only been burning the candle at both ends but melted it down and lit the middle. Between housing street kids in the rectory, running a soup kitchen, normal parish duties his health has detreated. Both his doctor and his bishop are telling him to take a rest, and to lighten his workload. If he doesn't he will be dead. The second theme is his strained relationship with his bother who is a police officer. And the third is his kids, a group that call themselves the Archangels, and specifically an escalating conflict with a group of older kids at the local school.  

When there are hostages taken at the school Father jay defies logic and heads into the smoke, noise and shots. He does it because he cares, and because as a former soldier he knows that heroism can take different forms. 

This novel starts with a slower pace than the other two in the series, but it makes up for that in the end. It is a great read. I just hope that at some point we might get more stories with father and Office Farrell. Even if we get no further stories I can give this book and this series a great recommendation. So pick them up and give them a try. You will see that sometimes a hero wears a collar and sometimes a badge.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Jane Lebak:
Pickup Notes
Love's Highway
Forever And For Keeps
Half Missing

Father Jay Series:
Bulletproof Vestments
The Boys Upstairs
A Different Heroism

...

Seven Archangels:
1.0 An Arrow In Flight
2.0 Sacred Cups
3.0 Shattered Walls
4.0 The Wrong Enemy
5.0 Annihilation


Seven Archangels Short Stories:
2.1 Damage
2.2 Even A Stone
2.3 Hired Man
2.4 Winter Branches
5.5 Once Only

Seven Angels Short Story Bundle 2.1-2.4

The Adventures of Lee and Bucky:
1.0 Honest And For True
2.0 Upsie-Daisy

Rails of Sweet Grove:
2.0 Love's Rules of the Road

Non-Fiction:
Carrying to Term: A Guide for Parents after a Devastating Prenatal Diagnosis






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