Boy Crucified - Jerome Wilde 3 - 3 1/2 Hearts

Review written for MM Good Book Reviews

This story is set in 1997. Thomas Noel is a priest turned homicide detective with the Kansas City police, when the body of a boy is found crucified Thomas is assigned the case. With his new partner, Daniel Qo, he investigates and the clues all point to a secretive traditional Catholic group, a group whose leader will do anything to keep his secrets. Thomas also has his fierce attraction to Daniel to deal with and the unexpected return of his mentally ill mother.

This is a great little mystery story that is steeped in Catholic history and murder. Thomas is a character that is a mystery himself, after an abusive childhood he turned to the Catholic Church (Franciscan) for comfort and becoming a priest, but he never quite found what he was looking for and he explored other religions before settling on Buddhism, now he is a homicide detective. Daniel is his new partner who is pretty blunt and to the point, he likes what he sees in the older Thomas and makes no apologies for it. The murder investigation is quite involved with Thomas and Daniel both slogging their way through trying to find even the smallest of clues, which leads them to a secretive Catholic group where they have to tread carefully.

The murder investigation is very interesting and you also get pulled in by the mystery of Thomas’s past, Thomas’s relationship with Daniel is just in the beginning stages but looks like it has huge potential. We are treated to a large amount of Catholic history while they investigate the murder and it is more informative rather than religious. Surprisingly, with Thomas, we don’t get treated with guilt because he is gay, he accepts his sexuality easily, what we do get from him is confusing emotions concerning his mother and we get blatant facts and hints as to why. I have to tell you that I admired Thomas’s powers of deduction because I didn’t have much of a clue as to who the murderer was other than an idea that it was someone involved high up in the Church group, how Thomas put it together was pretty impressive.

I can’t say this story was perfect though because throughout it felt like something was missing, that small something that would give it an edge. It was kind of bland, even in some of the descriptions they never quite came alive for me, reminded me more of a medical textbook instead of a description of torture and murder. Even though there is potential between Daniel and Thomas, and Thomas seems to be really into Daniel, I found their sexual couplings lacking because it felt more like a quick hook-up rather than a build-up to something more meaningful.

I recommend this to those who love murder mysteries, danger, attempted cover-ups, Catholic Church history, pretty good characters and interesting storyline.