Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Calling Mr. Lonely Hearts-Laura Benedict

Calling Mr. Lonely Hearts
Laura Benedict
Ballantine, Jan 6 2009, $25.00
ISBN: 0345497694

In Cincinnati, thirteen year old Roxanne, Delilah and Alice perform a love ritual that is a combination of witchcraft and Santeria. Shortly after completing their spell, a new teacher arrives at their school, Our Lady of the Hills. The three assume he is heavenly sent to take their virginity.

The girls compete to seduce the Cuban-born teacher Father Romero. Roxanne succeeds, but Alice and Del fail because Father Romero is wracked with guilt after his fall from grace. Still the two he rejected accuse him of unsavory behavior; costing him his teaching position as well as defrocking him. He leaves Ohio humiliated.

Seventeen years later, Romero, accompanied by Varick, returns to Cincinnati seeking vengeance on the unholy trio who destroyed him as a Father and as a man. At the encouragement of his companion, who is the devil garbed as a man, Romero begins his quest against the thirty years old former Lolita like trio who seduced him and lied to the church about his transgressions. As the quintet get entangled with one another, the innocent are in trouble as Varick wants to burn more than just four sinners.

This is not an easy book to read as no one is an empathetic character and having young teens as sexy seductresses is difficult to accept. Still the action is fast-paced and the four humans real as their flaws overflow, which enables the devil to expedite his punishment. Targeting a limited audience, fans who enjoy an extremely dark Faustian thriller will want to read CALLING MR. LONELY HEARTS.

Harriet Klausner