An Absence of Faith

Fiction - Suspense
280 Pages
Reviewed on 03/09/2016
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

An Absence of Faith is a suspense novel by David W. Gordon. Detectives Kate Manning and her partner, Mike Cooper, have a serial killer on their hands, who's preying on single young women in New York City. Each victim was found in her apartment with her heart missing, and the accompanying mutilations have them concerned over the increasing anger and rage the perpetrator is displaying. Father Gregory Sloan knows all too well who that perpetrator is. His younger brother, Victor, brings him the grisly trophies he collects and neatly wraps in gift boxes, and he presents each one to his hapless brother in the confessional. Victor doesn't believe in God; after all, how could God let his mother be a junkie and die instead of being there for him? Victor has promised that he will keep on killing -- and bringing his brother those trophies. Victor knows Gregory can't help but honor the promise he made to his mother to protect his younger brother, and he's bound by his promise to God to honor the secrecy of the confessional.

David W. Gordon's police procedural novel, An Absence of Faith, is dark and unsettling. Gordon indicates in his foreword that this novel was written at a time when the death of a loved one caused him to have a crisis of faith, and indeed, both Victor, the serial killer, and Kate, the cop who's on his trail, question whether God exists, and if he does they each wonder why God allows the bad stuff happen. The suave, affluent and polished Victor, whose carefully arranged exterior hides untold depths of anger and madness, is a chilling and dark killer, and his insanity lends a gritty atmosphere to this thought-provoking novel. I found the police procedural aspect of this story to be quite effective, and enjoyed watching as the two partners work to reconcile their professional and personal relationships. An Absence of Faith is a taut, well-constructed and fast-paced novel of suspense, and it's highly recommended.

Jessyca Garcia

An Absence of Faith by David W. Gordon is a dark, suspenseful tale of religion, murder, and romance. A serial killer is trying to prove a point to a priest by murdering young women. Detective Kate Manning is on the case, all the while battling feelings for her partner and questioning her own views on religion.

An Absence of Faith was hard to put down, but also hard to finish in one sitting due to the story being a little heavy at times. This book may make you question your own faith at times. Gordon’s characters are all very complex. Detective Manning has many personal issues to deal with. I understood why she would question people’s faith after everything she sees being a cop. The character of Victor scared me a little. He reminded me to be wary of all strangers. However, I really liked his view on art. “Most art is deception.” I never thought of art in that way, but I think he makes a good point. The murder scenes are a bit graphic and may not be for everyone.

I saw that this story was going to be a graphic novel originally. I am glad that it is an actual book. The story has too many details to be completely understood as a comic. I enjoyed the plot. Some things were a little predictable, but Gordon did throw in a couple of surprises. This book is going to be on my mind for a long time. Overall, this is a good read! If you like suspenseful tales, then you have to read this one.

Ryan Jordan

An Absence of Faith by David W. Gordon starts off with a compelling and twisted introduction as a woman is murdered by someone she picked up in a bar. This transitions to a completely different kind of woman in the story as we meet Kate Manning, our protagonist and an excellently written female lead who is stuck in a crappy situation trying to catch this man. It is a novel about faith, both losing and gaining it, and there are a number of moments in the story that solidify this as an emotional tale of reckoning. By the end of the novel, our protagonist has changed so much that we almost have a completely different character.

The novel is compelling, if a little predictable. The targets are exactly the sort of targets we might expect from a serial killer like this, but the characters bring fresh ideas and life to the plot. The dialogue is sharp and full of humorous moments and I really liked the introduction to the protagonist, Kate Manning. She was brilliantly written and we got to see her doing some incredible things, even at the outset. I loved the way the novel progressed and the quotes at the beginning of each chapter were interesting and contributed to the story in a positive way. An Absence of Faith by David W. Gordon is well-written and full of enough deeply emotional and suspenseful moments to entice even casual fans of the genre. A great story.

Lit Amri

David W. Gordon takes readers through an intense journey in An Absence of Faith, a thriller that will psychologically challenge anyone through the themes of good versus evil, love and belief. A young woman is viciously murdered in Queens. Detective Kate Manning and her partner Mike are hunting the elusive butcher while desperately trying to decipher his message. The killer gives them an obvious warning that this will be the first in a long reign of horror. Both Kate and Mike will be pushed to their limits, and they have to figure out the identity of the murderer before it is too late.

The pace of the plot is well executed. It’s fast and deliberate in the right places. The characters have sufficient depth and move the story well. There’s a religious tone, but it is subtle and won’t chase away any reader who’s not fond of preachy novels. Gordon deftly mixed the subject of faith and thriller, making the combination work for An Absence of Faith through his vivid prose. That said, this novel is not for the faint of heart. There are graphic and brutal scenes that readers will encounter and they won’t be easy to read. On the other hand, it’s not all violent and bloody. There are great unpredictable twists in the plot, which showcases Gordon’s strength as a writer. All in all, An Absence of Faith is a solid and profound read about the sinister part of our society that will satisfy thriller fans.

Renee Taylor

An Absence of Faith by David W. Gordon is a suspenseful piece of fiction graphically depicting the world’s violence. A killer savagely attacks a woman in Queens and adequately details that this is not the last time a person will die. Detective Kate Manning desperately chases clues in the hopes of obtaining the killer’s identity before another person becomes a victim. But the city is gripped by madness, mayhem, and heresy, and city members are thrust into a world of poverty, sex, drugs, and cult-like religious beliefs. The killer feeds off of this darkness and the carnage the killer creates is unrelenting. Unless Kate can do something to stop the madness, the city just might destroy itself. But in order for Kate to discover how the killer is allowed to continue the reign of terror, she has to look deep inside herself for answers to questions she isn’t sure she is prepared to face.

An Absence of Faith is a compelling read that is dark and deep and strangely satisfying all at the same time. It revolves around a world of intrigue, murder, love, mayhem, family, and faith. The story has a nice, fast pace and can easily become a compulsive read. Gordon does a superb job of creating complex, relatable characters that every reader will recognize. These characters leap off the page and make the story come to life. Gordon also forces readers to look deeply at their own actions and their true thoughts about loved ones, friends, and family members.