cover image Priestly Sins Abr CD

Priestly Sins Abr CD

Andrew M. Greeley. MacMillan Audio, $29.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-59397-408-4

In an interview at the end of this audiobook, sociologist and priest Greeley confesses that the idea for this story stemmed from a letter sent to him by a young clergyman. Like the novel's protagonist, Herman Hoffman, the correspondent found himself sequestered in a psychiatric hospital after going public with an eyewitness account of a fellow priest molesting a child. The author uses these events, and an ensuing fictional court case, as bookends for an affecting novel about a small-town boy's struggles to follow his priestly calling. First, Hoffman has to end an idyllic, sexually charged relationship with a beautiful woman, then navigate a maze of religious bureaucracy and, finally, be smarter, tougher and more moral than anybody on the altar. His one key ally is Monsignor Blackie Ryan, the wily star of Greeley's detective series (The Bishop Goes to University, etc.). Reader Wyman's voice has a youthful, sincere quality that adds credibility to a number of underwritten scenes, including the one in which Herman abruptly ends his lengthy romance. The callow tone toughens and matures as the ordained Hoffman meets all other obstacles head-on, determined to become the kind of priest who can help restore the Catholic Church's glory. Simultaneous release with the Forge hardcover (Forecasts, Feb. 2). (Apr.)