cover image The Bishop at the Lake: A Blackie Ryan Story

The Bishop at the Lake: A Blackie Ryan Story

Andrew M. Greeley, . . Forge, $24.95 (272pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-1589-2

In Greeley’s winning sixth Blackie Ryan novel (after 2006’s The Bishop in the Old Neighborhood ), Ryan’s boss, the archbishop of Chicago, sends Ryan to check up on Malachi Howard-Nolan, a fellow priest who’s jockeying for a prestigious appointment. Blackie heads out to the compound where Nolan’s extended family has gathered for a reunion and discovers that matters are both simpler and more complex than he’d imagined. Nolan turns out to be obnoxious and ambitious, but also lazy and incompetent, so his ecclesiastical aspirations aren’t likely to come to much. When Nolan suffers a life-threatening attack of hornets, Blackie suspects someone in his rich, nutty family wishes him ill. There’s also romance afoot: Blackie’s strapping nephew finds himself attracted to Nolan’s charming niece. A few chapters narrated by the nephew jar, but strong character development, snappy dialogue and a multilayered plot make this one of the better entries in the series. (Sept.)