I am now officially obsessed with Alan Lee’s Mack August mysteries. Expect the reviews to come fast and thick for a few days.
Mack, as I’ve told you previously, is a big, strong Christian private eye in Roanoke, Virginia. He’s not a model evangelical – he drinks a little, and uses bad language now and then. And occasionally he fornicates, though he always resists it and has not consummated his passion for “Ronnie” Summers, the girl he loves. Unfortunately she’s engaged to another man (the marriage was arranged by her father, who happens to be a local drug lord).
Mack knows there will be trouble at the beginning of The Desecration of All Saints, when two vestrymen from the big Episcopal church in town come to hire him. They want him to investigate their pastor, a celebrity preacher named Louis Lindsey. One of his subordinates has complained that Lindsey has been making homosexual advances. They are sure the accusation is groundless, but they want Mack to look into it, just to vindicate their pastor.
As he investigates, Mack discovers that there’s good evidence the accusations are true.
Even worse, a local boy has been kidnapped, and Mack begins to suspect that Lindsey is the one who took him. And is likely to kill him, if he can’t be stopped.
Funny, engaging, and sometimes inspirational, I enjoyed The Desecration of All Saints. The book (which is marketed as a stand-alone, not part of the series, for some obscure reason) has flaws. Part of the fun of Mack’s character is his self-deprecatory humor, often framed in elevated vocabulary. But (in this book more than the others I’ve read) he uses the words wrong occasionally. He also falls victim to homophone confusion. This one needed a better proofreader.
The Desecration of All Saints also deal with a touchy subject – homosexuality. As Mack expresses his views, he’s more easygoing about it than I am, falling into the “we’re all sinners, gayness is no big deal” school. However, he also seems to suggest that lack of father figures is a contributing factor to homosexuality, so he’s not entirely in the “enlightened” camp.
I might also mention that if you like sexy books – as opposed to dirty books – you can hardly look for hotter stuff than the Mack August series. Unlike most fictional private eyes, Mack tries to shun fornication, which means that in the scenes where “Ronnie” comes on to him, the sexual tension is off the charts. There’s nothing so erotic as chastity, and that’s proven here.
Recommended, with cautions for language and subject matter.