Wednesday 4 October 2023

Fallen Graces - Jim Sano - Father Tom Book 5

Fallen Graces
Father Tom Book 5
ISBN 9781987970630

Fallen Graces - Jim Sano - Father Tom Book 5

This is the sixth novel from the pen of Jim Sano that I have read. It is the fifth that is in the Father Tom series. This one was so hard to put down. This one is much darker than the earlier volumes. It is not a locked room mystery, but it is an excellent story about a loss, abuse, and has some gruesome murders. Father Tom and Angelo end back in the thick of things, based on the crimes, and the locations of some of the murders. 

Like the other Father Tom stories this book has great characters, an excellent plot, and it has amazing pacing. With each volume from Sano that I read I appreciate his writing more. I love the Father Tom books and this story kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. I am certain the story will draw you in and keep you hooked.
This story is a contemporary fiction tale. It is a story about seeking revenge or for those who could not help themselves. And not only on those who did the wrongs, but those who enabled them. It is what Madeleine L’Engle referred to as realistic fiction. It is set in our world, in our time, and with our issues and struggles. In this story we have a few main characters, and several supporting characters that play key roles. But in some ways this one reads like a Christian or Catholic version of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer or the Spencer stories by Robert B. Parker. The description of the book is:

“When a dead man’s body is found in the upper basin of a historic fountain in Boston Common with a cryptic message in his pocket, Detective Brooks reluctantly calls in Father Tom and Angelo to help solve the clues in the hunt for a killer set on justice and revenge. Fallen Graces, the fifth book of the award-winning Father Tom series, delves into the psychological and religious complexities of a killer who becomes as equally unpredictable as dangerous to the parish neighborhood of St. Francis, and Father Tom has no choice but to become more involved, risking his own life to find the answer.”

I have long been a fan of the Priest detective genre. Thirty years ago I read numerous of the Andrew M. Greeley novels, and my favourites were the Bishop Blackie Ryan novels, the Father Tom books have now eclipsed those. The big difference is Greeley’s works reached a point where I struggled with his presentation of Catholicism, Angels, and even God. The Father Tom books keep the faith and do an amazing job of showing faith, doubt, struggles, and ultimately trusting in God. In many ways this is like Fiorella de Maria’s Father Gabriel Mysteries, in that it is a great mystery with faith and fiction blended into an excellent story.

This is by in far the most intense Father Tom story. Sano has done an excellent job of balancing writing a murder mystery without crossing the line of over doing the violence. This story was tougher to read than others in the series. It deals with very serious subject matter, abuse by clergy and other in power, the cover-ups, and even being falsely accused. But it is written in such a way that it will inspire and encourage as well. 

Returning to a volume with Father Tom and Angelo was like a visit with old friends. It was great to catch up with them, even if there are hard times. Jim’s characters are masterfully written and this is the most powerful of his stories. It is another excellent read from the pen of Jim Sano. It is a story about faith, family, friends and overcoming past hurts and wounds. It is very well written, and the characters will stay with you long after you finish reading the story. 

An excellent read from Jim and Full Quiver. I highly recommend the book and the series.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan

Books by Jim Sano:

Father Tom Series:

Fallen Graces - Jim Sano - Father Tom Book 5

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