Deacon's Winter
by Roger Burgraff
Abbot Press

"Dear God. Please help my friend... Help me avenge her. Help me bring these bastards to justice."

On the day Deacon finds a badly beaten prostitute in the confessional at Saint Sebastian's, he's thrown into a dangerous labyrinth of dark secrets, political misconduct, and murder. The woman insists on no EMT's, so Deacon attends to her, but when she falls asleep he searches for identification. Along with her name, Amber, he finds a tiny pink Bible. In the middle of the night, the conflicted deacon of Saint Sebastian's is shot and Amber is kidnapped.

When Amber's body is fished out of the river, Deacon is the only suspect. He believes the Bible with a key hidden inside holds answers. However mayhem ensues. Volunteer decoder, Sister Meg, is tortured. The Bible, minus the key, is taken. Goons are on his trail. A police detective is overly aggressive. What has this deacon, torn between the final step of priesthood and a worldly life, gotten himself into? The Monsignor, leader of a secret society called the Gabrians, gives Deacon a new assignment to set a wrong to right, but leaves no time to seek out clues. Still, when Amber's sister, Ann, steps into the picture, it's a new game for all involved.

The story runs through the underbelly of life: corruption in state and city government, church hierarchy with hidden agendas, and shady characters and tarnished angels. This author has used his knowledge of Chicago and the workings of the Catholic Church to weave a believable plot and a gallery of remarkable characters into this masterfully written, engaging novel. Deacon draws readers in to cheer for him as a man dedicated to doing what is right through his Church (and the shadows around it) and his longing for love. This character deserves a sequel or, better yet, a series.

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