A priest is found brutally strangled before the altar of Detroit’s St. Cosmas Greek Orthodox Church. The captain of the Detroit Police assigns her star detective Christopher Worthy to the case, knowing that the interim priest is Worthy’s close friend Father Fortis. Worthy’s new partner Henderson believes Father Spiro surprised a local thug in the act of stealing a silver altarpiece. This simple solution doesn’t sit right with Detective Worthy and Father Fortis. Small clues have led them to believe the killer is connected to the church. Father Spiro had recently befriended a rabbi. During the final service he led before he died, why did he falter? Was he drifting into senility or simply distracted? Was he hiding a crisis of faith? To find the Father Spiro’s killer, Detective Worthy and Father Fortis will have to work together to blend in and observe the priest’s inner circle. Time is a luxury Worthy doesn’t have. His partner’s behavior is erratic, his captain is breathing down his neck, and his troubled daughter Alison is finally reaching out. Then there is the beautiful reporter who is slamming him in print, payback for being kept at arm’s length. As the case grows colder, Fortis and Worthy worry that the culprit has committed the perfect crime. Yet as they get closer to the truth, neither is prepared for evil that threatens them both. Book 2 in the Christopher Worthy/Father Fortis Mystery series.
The murder of a priest in front of the altar of his Detroit church reunites police lieutenant Christopher Worthy and Fr. Nicholas Fortis in Carlson's so-so sequel to 2016's Enter by the Narrow Gate. Fr. Spiro George was strangled with the vestment piece that hung around his neck, and Father Fortis has been called in to serve as the interim parish priest of St. Cosmas Greek Orthodox Church. While his role is to be pastoral, Father Fortis's curiosity about crime leads him to be alert for indications from his new parishioners about potential suspects. That proclivity comes in handy when the homicide investigation is reassigned to Worthy, who welcomes his old friend's assistance. The lieutenant quickly deduces that the murderer could be a church member after observing that the victim's vestment was straightened out postmortem, an act unlikely to have been performed by a stranger. But despite that insight, the path to a solution is disappointingly not grounded in logic. Insufficient character development is another minus.