No Greater Love

William X. Kienzle, Author Andrews McMeel Publishing $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8362-7865-1
The radical changes set in motion in the 1960s by the Second Vatican Council continue to reverberate in the Roman Catholic Church and the lives of its adherents--including Father Robert Koesler, in his 21st novel (after The Greatest Evil). Retired but by no means inactive, the Detroit priest, now in his 70s, retains an active interest in his former parish of St. Joseph's. At the behest of Bishop Patrick McNiff, Father Koesler has taken up residence at St. Joseph Major Seminary to help out. An aging priesthood, closed or much smaller seminaries, ""folk"" masses, an increasingly conservative seminary faculty, female seminary students and the desire of some of them to become priests--these are a few of the issues Kienzle explores as he shows how the friction among seminary students and faculty build up to murder. Kienzle's grasp and detailing of church problems is impressive. Well-conceived characters--such as Patty Donnelly, a young woman determined to be a priest; Andrea Zawalich, another woman confident she can become a priest in all but name; and Bill Cody, a zealot determined to make his only son a priest--add depth to the conflicts. And the structure of the book is unusual: in a prologue, Koesler is meditating by a coffin, and the rest of the novel consists of a long flashback leading to the body within. The plot thus plays itself out neither as whodunit or a whydunit, but as a tragedy and morality play that develops slowly and inevitably to a violent climax. Mystery Guild alternate selection; Books on Tape audio. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 07/03/2000
Release date: 07/01/2000
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 304 pages - 978-0-345-42639-0
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