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Wages of Sin
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Mortal Sins' Detective Damon Rourke investigates the crucifixion of a priest who turns out to be a woman. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Det. Daman Rourke is on the case of a murdered priest in this rousing thriller by Williamson (Mortal Sins) set in New Orleans in 1927. Rourke and his partner, Fiorello, have their hands full after a young hood on the run from the mob discovers the "crucified" corpse of Father Patrick Walsh, a popular clergyman who was disliked by Church hierarchy for his flamboyant preaching, which borrowed elements from evangelical Protestant services. When the coroner delivers the news that Father Walsh was actually female, the revelation, and the fear of its potential impact if leaked, fuels Rourke's determination to find the killer and close the case quietly. It seems Father Walsh developed an underground protection network for abused wives that angered Father Ghilotti, a fellow priest. To complicate matters, Rourke's brother Paul is also a priest at the rectory, and he too has something to hide: an affair with a married woman. Parallel to the parish mayhem is Rourke's rekindled romance with glamorous New Orleans-born actress Remy Lelourie, who's been receiving threats written in blood from a stalker who calls himself Romeo. When teenage girls in Remy's fan club turn up murdered, Rourke puts his investigative skills into high gear. Williamson entwines the two murder plots and speeds toward a surprising, exhilarating conclusion. Though much of the vernacular is unabashedly contemporary, she goes far in evoking the giddy atmosphere of Jazz Age New Orleans as well as its dark underside, rife with wanton violence, prejudice and racial tension. (Mar.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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