The Penitent Priest – J R Mathis

The Father Tom Mysteries, Book One

Five of five stars

In the style of The Father Brown Mysteries – a long time favourite of mine – we meet Father Tom Greer.  Different and a touch more modern than the old British Village vicar, Father Tom is a Catholic priest, come to his calling later in life.  He’s spent most of the handful of years since his ordination in the Chancery offices as head – only – archivist, when the Archbishop sees fit to press him into service in a parish that is suddenly without a priest.  The very parish he used to live in.  Where is wife was murdered, her murderer never found.

And so begins the unraveling of many long-held secrets.  Some of which Tom himself was hiding.  Others of which even he had no clue.  As Tom comes to realize that some of these secrets may well destroy him, someone else is murdered; Tom himself high on the list of suspects.

Mathis’ intricate plot spans ten years into the past.  And before it’s done, some of the secrets that come unraveled have roots in events even further back.

A fast-paced narrative, The Penitent Priest is a long though compelling read.  Mathis’ characters are engaging.  You won’t like all of them, but you’ll be invested in their story – in finding out the secrets and the truth – and that investment will pull you along.

When the resolution inevitably comes, you will find yourself needing to know more about what life has yet in store for Father Tom.  And like me, you’ll wait anxiously for the second instalment. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this first-in-a-series and look forward to more. Full disclosure: I’ve already pre-ordered the next in the series – due to be released 1st September. You can do the same at this link:

[I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this book from the author, though was in no way required to write a review.  The opinions expressed herein are entirely my own and are given freely.]

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