cover image Wages of Sin

Wages of Sin

Andrew M. Greeley. Putnam Publishing Group, $21.95 (349pp) ISBN 978-0-399-13752-5

Throughout this fast-paced, intricately plotted novel, the popular author ( Ascent into Hell ), sociologist and priest burnishes his reputation for psychological acumen and deep acquaintance with the discords of family life. Chicago entrepreneur Lorcan Flynn is rich, handsome, affectionate with women. As sculptor ``Alex Stone,'' he proves an apt artistic and sexual connoisseur of pretty anchorwoman/model Cindi Horton. But Lorcan is in torment. Reeling from a recently annulled marriage, he still grieves over his strange breakup with Moire, the girl he loved years ago, in the summer of 1954. A persistent nightmare leads him to fear he unwittingly committed a savage crime that year during a feverish bout with meningitis. Now his daughter is to marry Moire's son, and a reunion with Moire is imminent. The romantic story takes on traits of a detective yarn, with forays into Catholic politics, Irish Republican Army, weapons-smuggling schemes and hidden identities. Entertainer and pastoral teacher Father Greeley strongly words his message, indicating a too-worldly clergy, e.g., sundry Vatican strivers and Chicago higher clergy who tap into mob crime. But for man the sufferer, the power of love is redemptive. Beginning in a bleak, rainy season with Lorcan weeping on his analyst's couch, the novel reaches its emotional resolution to coincide with the cyclic return of a joyous Easter. Literary Guild alternate. (Aug.)