Plot/Idea: Catechisms is a well-paced, tension-filled procedural thriller that begins with the savage murder of a priest. The author seamlessly blends plotlines that work together cohesively.
Prose: Throughout the book, the prose is strong and precise; its straightforward, unadorned nature lends itself well to the genre and events of this story.
Originality: Although the narrative occasionally leans on the conventions of the genre, it works to adapt them in a new way through a variety of perspectives. By including the harrowing story of a young man who was sexually abused by the clergy, the author sheds light on an important story.
Character/Execution: Though, in some respects, the characters are archetypal, they remain compelling and authentic.
Date Submitted: April 05, 2023
Bennetts’s mystery, structured as a tense cat-and-mouse affair, asks more pained, incisive questions than the typical whodunnit, raising themes of sin and forgiveness, justice and the lack thereof, whether God can forgive what humanity cannot. Paige and others explore such issues in passing, while working the case’s engaging specifics or plotting the epic acts of revenge that power the story, but these haunted inquiries will likely stick with readers even after the final pages. Those details are unflinching, as Bennetts frankly faces memories involving child sexual abuse, passages that, while wrenching, honor the trauma of abuse.
Bennetts is skilled at writing from a perspective of helplessness, from a child that has been abandoned by the system and left to their own devices, to a detective facing abuse and injustice. The pace is quick, despite the darkness of the story, and Bennetts excels at depicting shoe-leather detective work. The stakes steadily rise and the climax is a surprise, tinged with bleak irony, offering food for thought about revenge and redemption.
Takeaway: This tense page-turner pits a detective against a murderer and the cover up of priest’s abuse.
Great for fans of: Donald Cozzens’s Under Pain of Mortal Sin, Daniel Silva’s The Order.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-