"Prayer", by Philip Kerr

Prayer - Philip Kerr

Mr. Kerr’s latest is a creepy and baffling standalone, a kind of mishmash of horror and mystery. Reading this fright-filled meditation on faith was similar to watching a supernatural scare show. The central theme is religion and faith. It is of no surprise some reviewers highly praised this thriller and others simply found the premise to be unbelievable, rather uncomfortable and genuinely disturbing. 

The backdrop is the metropolis of Houston and in the town Galveston shortly after Hurricane Ike. To make things spooky Galveston is a ghost town and the action take place in a mansion owned by a priest (Amityville). The melodrama begins beautifully with an exciting police procedural and gradually morphs into a modern Gothic horror show with boogie, devils and all the works. The sharp turn towards the supernatural takes place towards the end of the novel and gives us a genuinely scary atmosphere. We have excellent scenes where the Angels of Death shows up and some scary chases. In whole, I found the plot to be slow moving and offered a medley of events that seemed to go nowhere. This is one of those novels with big ideas about religion and showcases it evil. This is quite a moody and though provoking addition to Mr. Kerr’s library. The narrator is the main character, FBI agent Gil Martins, an atheist who struggles not only with his faith but also with his marriage. The characterization and dialogue are standard versions, nothing spectacular.

In a nut shell:

When Gil’s friend, the worldly Bishop Eamon Coogan, asks him to look into the curious deaths of some prominent atheists, Gil suspects that they are being murdered by members of a fundamentalist mega-church and he is soon drawn into a mystery that defies both faith and logic….

My last words:

I was captivated by this psychological thriller for most of the book but dreadfully disappointed in the denouement.