Due to the things he has to cope with in his job, FBI agent Gil Martins has lost his faith. This is quite understandable, but not to his wife Ruth, who is a dedicated member of an evangelical church. She can´t cope with Gil´s atheism. Their marriage falls apart, and Ruth throws Gil out of their house.
Gil moves into a church-owned building in abandoned Galveston. This is a spooky house, and equally spooky is the case Gil is working on.
When Gil works on his case of serial killings, a witness claims that the killings were committed by prayer. Pastor Nelson Van Der Velden, leader of the Izrael Church of Good Men and Women, formed a secret and powerful prayer group, she states. This group started with prayers for winning the lottery and then went on to pray for the deaths of certain people – and succeeded.
All this brings Gil to the brink of insaneness. His atheism is as much in danger as his life, since he has to fight his demons. The big question is: Is there a God? And if there is, is He a loving one or is His kingdom one of fear?
I like reading the books written by Philip Kerr, especially the Bernie Gunther novels. (The most recent one, “A Man without Breath”, is already on my pile, waiting to be read).
That Kerr published a quite different kind of novel interested me and I was looking forward to it.
Unfortunately, I have been disappointed.
The book starts very, very slowly and is much more a book about faith and the lack of faith than a thriller. It is full of Bible quotes and sermons. This is inevitable for the story, but nevertheless a bit tedious.
Only the last part of the book is a little bit more exciting and reminded me of Victorian ghost stories. Towards the end the story becomes more and more stranger.
Altogether this might be an interesting novel for anyone who wants to reflect on faith and atheism. But for me it was not as gripping as Kerr´s other novels.