Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Priest-Gerald O'Donovan

The Priest
Gerald O'Donovan
Scribner, Mar 1 2011, $25.00
ISBN: 9781451610604

On assignment in Spain working drug trafficking for Europol, Garda Police Inspector Mike Mulcahy returns to Dublin. His boss Superintendent Healy sends him to St. Vincent’s Hospital to assist with translation Sex Crimes Inspector Claire Brogran and Detective Sergeant Andy Cassidy on a sexual assault case of a Spanish speaking teenage girl; whose genitals was severely burned. The sixteen year old victim is Jesica with one j whose father is Spain’s hardline Interior Minister Alfonso Mellado “The Judge” Salazar.

Because of his time in Spain, Mulcahy remains on the case as a contact with the Spanish government though sex crimes are not his expertise. The predator used a gold crucifix to burn the teen. Whereas the Sex Crime cops insist this is a sexually perverted act by a psychopath, Mulcahy believes otherwise as he thinks this was a religious ritual. Dubbed the Priest by the media including Mulcahy’s girlfriend Siobhan Fallon, pressure mounts from politicians to make an arrest immediately.

The second Mulcahy police procedural (see White Lion) is an entertaining Irish whodunit with an intriguing motive for the serial sexual assaults (and one murder). The cast is stereotypical of the sub-genre; as the police superiors, the politicians and the media demand instant gratification mostly to either duck from the noise or to be heard over the clamor; the other cops insist they know best; and the hero becomes the Lone Ranger (without Tonto) to the rescue while expecting to be placed on suspension. Still readers will enjoy Gerald O’Donovan’s exciting mystery.

Harriet Klausner

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