Friday 19 June 2020

Clerical Error: The Death of Fr Timothy A. Lessner - Declan Finn and John Konecsni - Professor James Mystery Book 1

Clerical Error: The Death of Fr Timothy A. Lessner
Professor James Mystery Book 1
Declan Finn
John Konecsni
ISBN 9798612690634
ASIN B084P671S6


I have mixed feelings about this book. To be honest there were a few times I almost put it down and added it to my ‘did not finish’ pile. In the end it was a satisfactory read, not great, nut terrible. But overall more of a ‘meh’. I have had a few books by Declan Finn on my wish list for a while. This volume is a collaboration with his father Dr. John Konecsni. Finn stated:

“In 1975, Doctor John Konecsni worked as the assistant pastor in Bed-Sty, New York City. The following was a book he wrote based on his experiences. As he's my father, I decided to help him get it published.”

But that was shared on social media and is not in the description or notes on the volume. We are also told that many of the events are fictional, but written to give us a sense of the era, community, and times within the church at that time. It is presented as a “this could have happened”. In some ways it reminds me of Andrew M. Greeley’s early fiction. A lot of sex, a lot of strength and weaknesses in the church. Saints and sinners, and some just trying to live their faith.

But, like Greeley’s early books, I seem to have outgrown that. I don’t care about the sex scenes. Nuns and priests having a boozy sex party with nuns and priests. Not really what I want to read. The mystery part did have an interesting twist. And I was surprised a bit by some of the events. John Konecsni (James in the novel) as presented in this volume is a man I would enjoy getting to know, either personally or in the classroom. And Father Gus Sadowski reminds me of a few priests who worked hard in that era and tried to serve their parish and serve it well. He reminds me of some of the priests I knew in the 70’s and even 80’s.

I really struggled with rating this book. And if there was a way to give it 2.5 stars I would. I had previously picked up a couple of Finn’s books and will give at least another a try. I have long wanted to read the Pius series or the Saint Tommy. Especially considering this was a collaborative effort, I am willing to read at least one more. But I really know few people I would recommend this book to, and even fewer I would gift it to.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Declan Finn:
Love At First Bite Series:

Other books:

Anthologies contributed to:
Luna: Planetary Anhtology Series Book 2
Supernatural Streets
Starflight: Tales From The Starport Lounge
Mercury: Planetary Anthology Series Book 4
Venus: Planetary Anthology Series Book 5
Mars: Planetary Anthology Series Book 7
Places Beyond the Wild: A Z-Day Anthology
Shoot the Devil: Ten Tales of Humans Defeating the Demonic
Fantastic Schools, Volume 6

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