Holy Predator

Deborah Stevens
Calumet Editions (2018)
ISBN 9781939548986
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (11/18)

“Holy Predator” by Deborah Stevens is highly entertaining, and the action keeps one guessing as to what happens next. The Jesuits were never Sicily’s most important monastic order, but now a Jesuit is the leader of the Vatican.

Luciano Bonelli who once gave up on a life of wealth and privilege has sold his soul to the devil. As the superior general of the Jesuits, he chooses to delve into a life of money laundering, control and power. Given the historical background of the Catholic Church and sexual abuse, this gives readers another issue to contemplate. Interestingly, I did not find the author’s story to be all that far-fetched.

Alonso Garibaldi Poggiani head of the Vatican Bank is found dead in a way that will shock the world. Was it due to his intense scrutiny of the church's financial accounting or another way to remove those who stand in the way of the church and mafia laundering money?

“Holy Predator” has a slew of fascinating characters from young priests who are recruited to hide information, two brothers on the opposite ends of how to obtain more power and money, and Christine, Antony and Mary Ellen whose job it is to find out the who, what, when and where.

I loved the plot as it moved forward at a good pace. Descriptions of the churches, hidden tunnels and secret code of instructions were great additions. What slowed my reading down was having to look up Italian words that were not defined which made me lose my train of thought.

The characters were well thought out and developed. Each character had a specific goal, and the author did a remarkable job in her research. “Holy Predator” is not a short, fast read as one has to understand each character and the role he or she plays in the plot. I found although I enjoyed the major characters, there were too many secondary characters for me to keep up with.

Overall Deborah Stevens has developed a great plot that will give readers some food for thought given today's current climate. I recommend “Holy Predator” as an intriguing, thought-provoking read.