"Readers will be turning the pages into the wee hours of the night, trying to solve the mystery along with Tully and Koesler." —West Coast Review of Books
Has the Detroit Police Department found the perpetrator of one of the most gruesome serial murders in Detroit's history—the brutal mutilation of prostitutes? Father Robert Koesler has a special interest in solving one of the most challenging cases in his career.
In this tenth Kienzle mystery, Koesler—Detroit's most famous Catholic priest—may be facing his toughest test yet. On Sunday afternoons, in Detroit's inner city, older prostitutes are being picked up by someone described by witnesses as a man dressed in clerical garb. By the time that Detroit's Homicide Division enters the picture, the victims have been strangled, mutilated, and finally, branded—in a strange place—with a strange marking.
Father Robert Koesler is back to cast his knowing eye over a series of murders that might implicate the Catholic Church. A man in clerical dress is killing, eviscerating and branding elderly prostitutes in Detroit's inner city. When priest Richard Kramer is found in circumstances that appear to be leading up to another murder, homicide lieutenant Alonzo Tully is certain he is guilty. Koesler, a friend of the priest, is not so sure and begins to investigate at the urging of Kramer's assistant, Sister Mary Therese. Meanwhile, morgue attendant Arnold Bush, considered rather strange by fellow workers, develops a morbid fascination with the case. Recent changes in the Church bureaucracy and anecdotes about past prelates as well as some of the seamier aspects of Detroit provide Koesler with clues in his hunt for the killer. Kienzle (Deadline for a Critic) comes up with another solid story. While his plot gapes at times, in this case the denouement takes place totally offstage, his depiction of the Church coping with the often uninterested modern world and of those still devoted to the faith makes up for these lapses. An interracial and adult love story involving the black Tully is especially appealing.