Church of Martyrs by Pete Fusco
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The church pictured on the cover of "Church of Martyrs" by Pete Fusco looks innocent enough. It looks like many churches you would see around a small rural town but within the walls is anything but innocence. The setting is actually in Cleveland and the church is closed but in the back of the church in the old convent is the Church of Martyrs Woman's Shelter which just opened and the director is an ex-priest.
When the La Mano di Cristo, a secret organization that is small but world wide, kills per orders of the Pope who lived hundreds of years before pay a visit to the Church of Martyrs things get real interesting really fast.The plot thickens with each turn of the page and as the characters develop. Each character is unique with their own personalities that rage from everything from dry humor to animated and bubbly. They are well rounded and believable for the most part. The reason I say this is that I am not sure what a real person would do if faced with these circumstances. Although I think I would do something different from what was done, I really don't know until I am in that position however I do imagine real people may react the same way the characters in the book did. I was able to connect with many of them to varying degree including one of these 'hit men' which of course at the beginning of the book he is the 'bad guy' so basically I wanted to hate him. The one I connected with the most was naturally the main character, Eddie Russo who is the ex-priest and director of the shelter.
The pace of the book is fast, the mystery and action are nonstop. Once one of the questions are answered and that mystery is solved, there are always another question that needs an answer and mystery to solve but it always followed a logical direction and never strayed from this. I would say this is a fast and steady pace book because even in the slower part of it (usually when a new character is introduced) it really doesn't slow down all that much. At no point would I say it stalled or was boring in any way especially with the twist that I didn't see coming at the end.
What I found delightful is that there were not any 'fillers' in the story. I can not think of even one point in the book where it went off in another direction or concentrated even a page on something that had nothing to do with the story. Mr. Fusco writes direct, meaningful, and effectively. It is what I would call a 'no nonsense' story where each and every page all go toward the goal of telling this story.
I thought I should mention that although the book's setting is in an old Catholic church and the main character is an ex-priest, this is not a religious book. In fact, someone without a sense of humor and deep into religion may even find this book offensive to the point of almost being irreligious. There is talk of popes, bishops, and about saints, so knowing what these are is helpful (the 'chain of command' for lack of a better definition, not that you have to know who the pope is, who the bishop is, or who any saints are) although even if you don't know, the author basically explains it so the story still is as enjoyable no matter what, if any, religion you are.
I really love the writing style of the Mr. Fusco and totally enjoyed this book.
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