Jace Salome is a newly hired cop, fresh out of the Academy. In this area of Texas, the new ones start out as jailers, with the hope of rising to the t...moreJace Salome is a newly hired cop, fresh out of the Academy. In this area of Texas, the new ones start out as jailers, with the hope of rising to the top as law enforcement, detectives, officers, whatever. But county jail is where they earn their...ummm...wings. She's told that nothing happens on her first day, but someone didn't tell the gods, because on her first night, an inmate dies on her watch, and she feels it's partly her fault. And there's something not right about the death, either. She and her jailer friend Rory start digging, and discover that her intuition my have some basis in reality. The good old boys may not be so good, and something is rotten in West Texas. The death of her inmate charge may be related to the deaths of other inmates in other county jails, and even though it's easy to dismiss the death of a lowly criminal, in fact perhaps even made to look justified, it's still not right, and Jace isn't comfortable with the explanations given, nor the antipathy generated by even those she looks up to. She's not a detective, but decides to detect. And detect she does.
If you're familiar with Trey Barker, and his previous two books, 2000 Miles to Open Road, and Exit Blood, you may be pleasantly surprised by this book. While the latter two are prime examples of a Trey's gonzo, whirlwind, take-no-prisoners writing, Slow Bleed changes tack, and show cases his knowledge gleaned from years working as a lawman, allowing him to develop a classic genre plot in a fixed setting, while developing mature and complicated characters one can love, hate, identify with and remember for a long time. Personally, I loved the change. Great story, wonderful characters, lots of action, a helluva ride coupled with an accurate sense of the workings of a modern correctional institution. It's a dialog-dominated novel, and Trey does a masterful job of pacing the story, and sculpting the characters through pin-point dialog, from Jace's first night on the job, to the culmination of the investigation she's drawn into and concludes. I can see this as a great start to a series, and predict good things for it, if that's his intention.(less)
Full disclosure: I was adopted into and raised by a Catholic family. I'm what I call a "recovering Catholic" having rejected Catholicism when I was a...moreFull disclosure: I was adopted into and raised by a Catholic family. I'm what I call a "recovering Catholic" having rejected Catholicism when I was a teenager. I was never abused by a priest; never having any hint of abusive priests, so I have no personal axe to grind.
This book is about the Catholic Church, more than it is about abusive priests. What I came away with, in terms of horror, and disgust, and condemnation, is not so much that grown men were raping children, as bad as that is on a personal level, but that the institution of the church acted so horribly, and so selfishly, trying badly to protect itself, while putting on the face of moral rectitude, that it reminded me of organized crime. And not just me, but many of the antagonists of the church in the struggle to hold it accountable for the actions of its priests. That it wore the face of moral superiority, while it it knew, with absolute certitude, that its army of priests were out there molesting, and raping and sodomizing innocent children that looked up to it, that saw those priests as the next thing closest thing to a God, is the Crime of the Century - the Crime of the Second Millennium - and I say that because you know that if they were doing this to our children in the last half of the 20th Century, then they were doing it for the last thousand years. They just didn't get caught.
This is an excellent overview of the history of the "abuse crisis (As the church calls it - I would prefer the "abuse enlightenment") beginning with the first cases brought in secular courts after the Church failed to police it's own, to the most recent revelations (as of Ratzinger's resignation). The heroes of this story are courageous priests and ex-priests unwilling to be cowed by their employer from doing the right thing, along with lawyers willing to risk personal exhaustion (not to mention alcoholism) to set the record straight. Reading this book I felt proud to be a lawyer, because without the relentless lawyers in the book, the church would still be shuffling pedophiles from church to church while buying off parents for $10,000 apiece.
Sometimes the writing got a bit clunky, but on the whole the narrative drove assiduously forward to the present telling the story of one priest after another ruining the lives of thousands upon thousands of innocent boys and girls who will NEVER fully recover. The fact that the Church was basically designed to attract pedophiles with its stilted sense of morality toward sex, its refusal to allow its priests a normal outlet for human sexual urgings, and it's monarchist and hierarchical structure that relied on secrecy, it set up a perfect storm for this crisis.
And we've only seen the tip of the iceberg. Most of the history of this crisis to date deals only with America, Ireland and a handful of European countries. Africa, Asia, Australia, Latin America, (and I'm sure Antarctica if there was a Catholic Church ever there) have not even been explored yet. Personally, if the RC Church was forced to file bankruptcy and dissolve itself, never to inflict it's idiotic and deplorable morality on the world again, we'd all be better off.(less)
4.9 really. Too bad I didn't read this in 2007. Would have nominated it for all the awards. Really, really enjoyed it. Calling it a thriller is an und...more4.9 really. Too bad I didn't read this in 2007. Would have nominated it for all the awards. Really, really enjoyed it. Calling it a thriller is an understatement. (less)
I enjoy what I call "cultural" crime fiction. Stories set in other cultures I'm not familiar with. Tony Hillerman's Navajo Reservation, or Colin Cotte...moreI enjoy what I call "cultural" crime fiction. Stories set in other cultures I'm not familiar with. Tony Hillerman's Navajo Reservation, or Colin Cotterill's Southeast Asia. So this book at first seemed right up my alley. And now that I read it, it definitely is up to my standards for cultural crime fiction, as it is set in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The Islamic culture, religion and society is like a major character. It's strange, and exotic and frankly just a bit perplexing to this American, but as quixotic as it may be, it adds to the charm of the book. Read it. You'll enjoy it if you enjoy discovering new cultures while reading a mystery.(less)
I don't give 5 stars to a book unless it knocks my socks off. Need I say more? I can't fathom how she could have written a better book. She's able to...moreI don't give 5 stars to a book unless it knocks my socks off. Need I say more? I can't fathom how she could have written a better book. She's able to write a page turning crime novel, with a character study of a family (all women) abandoned by the criminal head of the family at a time when they need his presence the most. The interplay of family dynamics shifting with age and circumstances, is so well written, especially when you realize how well it's woven into the plot. I don't know how she does it, but I'm glad she did. (less)