Find out the latest indie author news. For FREE.


James Bennetts

Adult; Mystery/Thriller; (Market)

Detective Paige McGraw is waiting—waiting for something to go her way for once. After letting a suspect on the run slip through her fingers, her career is in shambles. Stuck working in the shadow of the brash new homicide inspector on the force, she is biding her time, hoping to redeem herself by catching a good case or bringing her slippery fugitive to heel. When a defrocked priest is found dead, horribly murdered and mutilated, it may be just the investigation she needs to prove to herself and everyone else she’s still a capable cop. But then she and the inspector uncover an old case of abuse and find themselves pursuing a devilish killer. And when the inspector falls victim to him, too, Paige begins a desperate game of cat-and-mouse with a man who could be a demon. Or maybe an angel. A terrible, avenging angel. But whatever he is, Paige knows she’s now in for the fight of her career—and perhaps her life.
Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 7 out of 10
Overall: 7.75 out of 10


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 follows The Name Game with a thoughtful, twisty thriller centered on a desperate investigator, a shocking cover up, and an intricate plot for revenge. Following on the heels of a botched investigation resulting in an escaped con artist, detective Paige Wright is trying to recover a career left in ruins. The murder of a former priest at a Catholic university offers her a chance to redeem herself, but soon bodies are piling up, and ghosts from the past haunting more potential victims. When the priest is revealed to have been a child abuser before being defrocked, Paige suspects revenge as the motive—and it appears the list isn’t fully checked off yet. Among a scheming entrepreneur, a regretful campus president, and a bravely defiant foreign exchange student, Paige begins to piece together the identity of this avenging angel dancing closely with the devil.

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.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A-