Along the River Road (2012)
In his second novel, Springfield author Isaac Morris tackles a subject that just won’t go away: clerical abuse of children. Morris, however, adds a fearful twist. What if one of the many abusers whose activities were covered up were, through some bureaucratic snafu, end up again in a diocese and perhaps even near a parish where they preyed so many years ago?
This is precisely the scenario in “Along the River Road,” published recently on Amazon.
Back is Sister Margaret Donovan, the protagonist from “The Absence of Goodness” (iUniverse, 2009). Some of the characters from “Absence” make a return, including Detective Bill Templeton, but don’t expect any heavy breathing in the back seat of a police cruiser. People who never read “Absence” will have no difficulty dealing with Margaret on her own terms in “River Road.” She is a different woman.
Her suspicions develop slowly when a new priest is assigned to her parish in Shelby County, until it becomes evident that there is something horribly wrong. The suicide of a young man and the subsequent disappearance of the parish priest force her to delve into a past that could eventually make her an accomplice after the fact. After all, she’s not a cop any more.
The Absence of Goodness (iUniverse, 2009)
“The Absence of Goodness” is a fine adventure and mystery, sure to keep readers reading.”
–John Taylor, Midwest Book Review
“The value of a crime novel being written by a Catholic is the theological basis with which crime and its consequences are seen. Many times throughout The Absence of Goodness the relationship between sin, crime, and its results is presented. But alongside of the darkness of crime hope in faith is also seen which is seldom present in today’s crime fiction. The detective turned nun, Margaret, makes a good main character and I would look forward to a series based on her cases.”
-Christy Isinger, CatholicFiction.net Read entire review
“…a top-notch mystery … extremely well written, with fully-drawn characters and a fascinating story … just the right mix of murder, suspense, and theology.”
–Steve Thayer, New York Times Bestselling Author (Wolf Pass, The Leper )
When a sheriff’s deputy is brutally murdered, fellow deputy Margaret Donovan-his lover-questions every choice she has made as her life spins out of control. Struggling to find meaning amidst chaos, she returns to the faith in which she was raised. A friendship with a local nun motivates Margaret to hand in her badge and gun and devote her life to the convent.
Poised to make her final profession and take the veil, Margaret learns of the murder of two students. Her former boss asks her to help him to solve the killings. Margaret soon links the recent murders and a thirty-year-old cold-case slaying of another Saint Dominic’s student. She also realizes the first murder is entangled in a cover-up designed to protect some influential people.
Working to identify the killer, her burdens escalate. Another child is on the killer’s hit list, and she finds the detective with whom she’s working, Bill Templeton, falling in love with her. Realizing she makes bad choices more often then she would like, Margaret desperately attempts to solve the murders and reconcile her spiritual and secular lives. Only God knows where it will all end, but Margaret’s faith-and ultimately her love-will lead her to the truth.