UNHOLY ORDER: A Paul Devlin Mystery

William Heffernan, Author . Morrow $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-688-16564-2

There's a lot to like about Edgar Award—winner Heffernan's (The Dinosaur Club; Red Angel) f1fth thriller featuring Paul Devlin and his elite NYPD homicide squad. First, like Polly, Heffernan knows how to put the kettle on and keep it boiling right till the end. No mean feat. Second, his characters, however dire the circumstances, never lose their sense of humor. Even his villains, a motley and murderous crew, usually find something with which to amuse themselves as they go about their grisly work. Third, the author's people never do anything stupid. Devlin's case is the proverbial time bomb: a nun, just returned from Colombia, is found dead, her body mutilated. Apparently, she was forced to swallow condoms filled with heroin and then murdered for their retrieval. She was a member of a special, and most powerful, order in the Catholic Church, the Opus Christi, which is reluctant to cooperate with the investigation. If this weren't enough to complicate Devlin's job, Catholic priests known to have AIDS are being murdered—alphabetically. How does the killer know who they were and where to find them? Devlin knows he has very little time before the press blows up the story, while the archdiocese comes down on the mayor to cover up the uglier details. Heffernan builds enough tension to have his readers squirming in their chairs. His cops are smart, his villains deliciously evil. This is the stuff we read thrillers for. Agent, Gloria Loomis. (Jan. 29)

Forecast:With The Dinosaur Club currently under development by Warner Brothers, a teaser chapter in the mass market edition of Red Angel (Dec.), a regional (New England) author tour, plus possible controversy from the depiction of the Catholic Church, the author could score big with this one.

Reviewed on: 12/10/2001
Release date: 02/01/2002
Mass Market Paperbound - 272 pages - 978-0-380-81882-2
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-06-202907-2
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