A Burning in the Darkness by A P McGrath

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

A Burning in the DarknessA P McGrath successfully unites the most important elements of civilization between the covers of A Burning in the Darkness. The pages of the book offer a tasteful blend of crime and romance under the seal of Catholic faith.

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At a large international airport, a small confessional room is filled with secrets. Father Michael Kieh, who is responsible with hearing these burdens and offering forgiveness when it is due, finds himself lured into an intricate web of conspiracy. The spiders forming the web are important men of the society and their victims are whoever endangers their status or brilliant future. Ruthless predators, they hunt under the cover of law and bureaucracy, using the system to their own advantage.

Basically, two institutions – the church and the justice system – test their influence over one another and people. Each offers a certain set of tools which can serve the purpose given by the one who wealds these. Father Kieh becomes the keeper of some critical information, but due to the fact that it was obtained via confession, he is forced to test the limits of church regulation and his own morality.

To make things even more complicated, a love story also develops and becomes inseparable from the investigation. Kieh meets a woman who is a major player in this power game. However, an old love, actually his first love, also returns in his life. Each woman being a manifestation of this many faced God, they come to offer redemption.

The chapters narrating the present are separated by episodes from the past, which gradually shed more light on the characters and their motivational drive. Father Kieh was molded mostly by his Liberian years, when amidst the heavy darkness of sorrow he discovered the power of faith.

A dense book with plenty of twists and turns to keep you hooked until the very last page, A Burning in the Darkness will prove to be difficult to put down. The main focus of A P McGrath falls on action and character development, which makes his work an easy read. However, while the potential is there for the book to delve deep into the reader’s psyche, for some reason it falls short, merely caressing it. There seems to be an invisible cold barrier keeping the reader at a safe distance from the burning of the darkness.

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