Book Review: Death in The Shadows

6 Jan

41ykxx2ymbl-_sx324_bo1204203200_When Father Gilbert traded in his detective’s badge for an Anglican priest’s collar, he never expected that murder would follow him. Even a church conference in the quant seaside town of Englesea offers no escape.

The vision of a dead woman, water dripping from her body, draws Gilbert into a mystery that seems straightforward, but soon entangles him in a power struggle between corrupt players who want to dominate the illegal sex trade in town. The victims are pawns in a game that extends to London and across international borders.

The dead cry for justice and Father Gilbert fights against forces hiding in the shadows. Can he champion the truth in time to stop more people from dying?


973492_origPaul McCusker was born in 1958 in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, but spent his formative years outside of Washington DC in Bowie, Maryland. He was given his first typewriter early in his childhood and hasn’t stopped writing since. Although he received a college degree in journalism, Paul’s first love was writing sketches and plays for Grace Baptist Church. From those efforts came his published drama collections for the prestigious Baker’s Plays, and the Lillenas Publishing Co., Contemporary Drama Services, Group Books and Monarch/Gazelle Books in England.

In 1985 he moved to California where he worked with Continental Ministries and wrote plays for the nationally-renowned drama group The Jeremiah People. This led to his work as a freelance writer for the Focus on the Family radio drama called Family Portraits, which later became Adventures in Odyssey. Since joining the Focus staff as a writer in 1988, Paul has written over 300 half-hour episodes for Odyssey and has also written 22 tie-in novels. Paul is now Creative Director at FOF, which means he thinks up stuff and then writes it.

In addition to Adventures In Odyssey, Paul helped to create Focus On The Family Radio Theatre, writing and directing many of its productions. Milestones include the Peabody Award-winning Bonhoeffer: The Cost of Freedom, all seven books in CS Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series, the acclaimed Father Gilbert Mysteries, the Audie-winning Life of Jesus, and The Screwtape Letters. Dickens’ Oliver Twist is his latest adaptation.

His novels include Epiphany (nominated for a ECPA Gold Medallion Award) for Zondervan Books, and You Say Tomato with best-selling British writer Adrian Plass. He has authored the popular Zondervan novel The Mill House, and its sequel A Season of Shadows. Paul recently penned a pair of medical thrillers, TSI: The Gabon Virus and The Influenza Bomb, with Dr. Walt Larimore.

His non-fiction includes Playwriting: A Study In Choices & Challenges and The Ultimate Youth Drama Book.

More recently, his connections with the writings of CS Lewis have strengthened, with the release of The Annotated Screwtape Letters and the new RT drama, CS Lewis at War. A companion book to that drama will come out next year.

Paul and his wife Elizabeth live in Colorado Springs with their two children.

My Impressions:

For fans of pure mystery, Paul McCusker’s latest Father Gilbert novel is a very satisfying read. I loved the British flavor, the complex characters and the thought-provoking themes that define Death in The Shadows. Father Gilbert is attending an ecumenical conference at a seaside resort town when he again is confronted with evil. Murder is the crime to be solved, but there is also the degrading and dehumanizing sin of human trafficking that is confronted. This novel struck a personal note with me. My daughter is employed by a non-profit that works to free women from the prison of sex trafficking. Death in The Shadows explores the very dark and ugly side of what many term victimless activity — timely subject matter.

Setting plays a big role in Death in The Shadows, with this novel having a very atmospheric feel to it. Father Gilbert is an intriguing character with a past that informs his present — he is former police detective who is now a Church of England priest. As in a previous novel featuring Father Gilbert, the supernatural is again a part of the story, which I found very apt. At one point Father Gilbert ponders the many realities that people confront, and the supernatural reality is one many dismiss or deny, yet is very real. The mystery unfolds slowly, yet this book is not one to be put down easily. You’ll want to keep turning those pages into the wee hours of the night.

A book to keep you puzzling and pondering along with Father Gilbert, Death in The Shadows is one I can recommend.


Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Kregel and Lion Hudson for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


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