cover image Angels of September

Angels of September

Andrew M. Greeley. Warner Books, $0 (451pp) ISBN 978-0-446-51293-0

The Irish, Dr. Johnson said, are a very fair racethey never speak well of one another. Greeley (The Cardinal Sins, Virgin and Martyr) lays into the Irish clergy, cops and politicians with great gusto in his best book yet. Ann Reilly is a 50-ish art gallery owner, beautiful, competent and decent. After two disastrous marriages, she falls in love with Mike Casey, a top Chicago cop and former schoolmate. But Anne's lifelong Catholicism riddles her with guilt and she's loath to marry again. An exhibit of Breughel-like paintings by a dead mad priest begins to take on fiendish vividness and Anne's life and sanity are in peril. Casey's cousin, the urbane Cathedral rector, Father ""Blackie'' Ryan, joins with his psychiatrist sister to fight Anne's demons. Some of Greeley's horror effects aren't quite in Stephen King's league, and Anne's guilt seems a bit unlikely, but her ongoing ``autobiography'' is a vivid picture of a good woman struggling to come to terms with her family and an old-fashioned Catholicism that is stunning in its repression. Greeley's zestful irreverence is a delight as he gleefully bashes Popes, bishops, cops, pols and professors, most of them Irish. 125,000 first printing; $150,000 ad/promo; author tour. February 10