Father Duncan MacAskill has spent most of his priesthood as the 'Exorcist' - an enforcer employed by his bishop to discipline wayward clergy and suppress potential scandal.
Hidden in a small rural parish to avoid an impending public controversy, Duncan must now confront the consequences of his past. Pushed to the breaking point by loneliness, tragedy and sudden self-knowledge, Duncan discovers how hidden obsessions and guilty secrets either find their way to the light of understanding, or poison any chance we have for love and spiritual peace.
Winner of the 2009 Giller Prize, Canada's Premier Literary Prize.
Fr. Duncan MacAskill has spent much of his career acting as his bishop's clean-up man. Known as the "Exorcist," Father MacAskill makes priests disappear, shifting anyone accused of sex abuse, scandal, or other improprieties to remote locations. Father MacAskill tells his story, shifting in time and place from the recent past to his "exorcisms" of the '80s and back to his exile in Honduras in the '70s, where he was sent after accusing the bishop's mentor of molestation. In the present day, Father MacAskill serves as the parish priest of Creignish, the small Irish town where he grew up; the bishop gave him this easy assignment to keep him away from lawyers looking into the coverups. Rather isolated there, Father MacAskill has plenty of time for reflection and slowly comes to understand the havoc his transferred predatory priests have wreaked upon these communities. MacIntyre, an award-winning Canadian investigative journalist, sheds light on a disturbing subject, but offers no easy answers. Many of the abusive priests, for instance, also take advantage of adult women, acts that Fr. MacAskill says are not about sex. As the priest confronts his role in this web of scandals, he must also exorcise his own demons in this engrossing, lyrical page-turner.