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Ceremony of Innocence: A Novel

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  51 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Scottish Catholic journalist Catriona McClelland comes home to her Frankfurt apartment to find her German ex-boyfriend Dennis sitting nervously on the couch. Police arrive. A Canadian student, Suzy Davis, has been drowned, and both Cat and Dennis are suspects in her murder. Subsequent police interviews trigger Cat's memories of her reluctant friendship with Suzy, an enthus ...more
Hardcover, 260 pages
Published October 14th 2013 by Ignatius Press
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Jenna St Hilaire
Oct 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Part thriller and part literary novel, Ceremony of Innocence would be a unique and interesting find even in mainstream fiction—but this was published by the Catholic house Ignatius Press. Without meaning disrespect to Ignatius, as I'm not very familiar with their lists, I have to say that it’s incredibly unusual to pick up a novel shelved by religion instead of genre and be able to remark on how well it's written. This one is spectacular.

Over the course of a short and intense mystery plot, McLea
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, spy-v-spy
A really good read -- fast paced, thought-provoking, and with a twist at the end that I didn't see coming. We see through the eyes of Catriona, a Canadian-Scots journalist on the religion beat, who is living in Germany and reporting on the political violence rocking the nation -- anarchists, Nazis, and Muslim extremists all playing roles in it. She's comfortably involved in a long-term relationship with a younger man, until she meets a young Canadian peace activist, Suzy. And then things get com ...more
Oct 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
An excellent book, well plotted, with compelling characters and a strong authorial voice. In turns amusing and thrilling, McLean pulls you right into Catriona's world from the first page.

I read it all on a train in one sitting, and I'm glad I had the time to do so, as it is gripping and quickly paced, not the kind of book you want to put down, as I hate to stop watching films or put down novels when there's any ambiguity as to the safety of the protagonists.

Strongly moral, but not moralistic, it
Steven R. McEvoy
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019
This was a very interesting story. It was a book that once I started reading, I could hardly put it down. The story surprised me in many ways. It was not what I was expecting, but it is a very powerful narrative. The characters are masterfully written. And the plot is full of twists and surprises. It is very realistic. And honestly parts of it could be taken from news stories. The story deals with some very fallen and flawed characters. And at time it is very disturbing.

Set-in modern-day Germany
Jul 26, 2020 rated it liked it
A page-turner, but not exactly feel-good. I kind of felt a film of slime while reading it, even though religion and Catholicism are weaved implicitly throughout. I think it's just because it's set in twenty-first-century Germany, and it's hard to separate some of those feelings of sliminess and self-loathing from a country that has degenerated so much in terms of its founding Judeo-Christian ideals.

The plot was ok, and I appreciated the several plot twists at the end that kind of made you go ba
Dec 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was engaging from the start and a quick read without sacrificing good writing or complexity. I don't think the description on Amazon is exactly right, but I'm not sure what I would replace it with. This novel deals with both really big, somewhat impersonal problems (rioting, racism, terrorism), as well as some intensely personal ones with the same deft hand. It's definitely not a murder mystery, although it does have a murder and some mysterious elements. It's not exactly a thriller, a ...more
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was very disappointed that we didn't get to see (view spoiler). I was waiting for it the whole time!

Now, I was a bit annoyed that Catriona did stuff against Catholic social teaching, like being on the pill and living with her boyfriend. But there is good news, (view spoiler).

Our Catriona is a journalist, and a suspect in the murder of Suzy Davis. Before you get your emotions
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Murder mystery in modern Germany.
Tim Polega
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unusual twist.

Catholic sinners deal with current issues, One step at a time. We all have things we regret and need to say we are sorry for
Nov 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the book! There was enough action to keep the pages turning.

I've been wary lately of writing that lifts up anti-heroes, as if to say there's no such thing as a "bad guy." Here the author did a great job of creating a main character who has her flaws, but doesn't shy away from admitting that she is sometimes in the wrong. I find such a character much more interesting - and honest - than one might usually find in the average mystery/suspense novel.
Feb 09, 2016 rated it liked it
This novel tells the story of a Scottish-Canadian journalist living in Germany, her German-Turkish boyfriend, and an idealistic young American who crosses their path and is mysteriously murdered. The author seems to have patterned the story on Graham Greene's "The Quiet American," but somehow, the author doesn't explore the characters in the same depth, and doesn't seem to be able to connect with the reader in the same way. The story comes across as confusing and contrived. ...more
Sep 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
I don't usually read much contemporary fiction much less anything quite so politically-themed as this, but the writing was so good I finished it in one sitting. It turns into quite a thriller in the last third or so, the ending is pretty chilling (well, the denouement, I suppose? -- the actual ending brings it around to something hopeful and melancholy all at once). ...more
Mar 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was plesantly surprised by this novel. The themes were rich and well developed throughout the story without the typical heavy handedness some authors too often employ. The characters were engaging and complex, which made for an incredibly enjoyable read. I look forward to more from this author!
Nov 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A contemporary novel, extremely well written. The author has a vision and understanding of human psyche. I recommend it without hesitation.
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
4.5. I'm a melancholic and I have a big problem with giving anything 5 stars.
Liz Summers
Feb 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Faith and misgivings in post 9/11 and 7/7 Hamburg plus an immature woman growing into joy. Well crafted and human. But scary .....
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Dorothy Cummings McLean is the author of "Seraphic Singles" (in the USA, "The Closet's All Mine", and in Poland, "Anielskie Single") and of "Ceremony of Innocence: A Novel." She is a columnist for the Toronto "Catholic Register" and a blogger. She lives near Edinburgh, Scotland with her husband and two thriving pots of rosemary. ...more

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