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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
The Paraclete by Bernard Leo Remakus is a chilling, engrossing psychological thriller that won't let you go once you start reading. This riveting plot concerns a noted Catholic theologian, Paul Thielemans, who visits a parish priest (Gordon Kittrick) and a young altar boy named Bobby at a San Diego church. But a few days later Bobby dies in a suicidal jump from the Coronado Bridge, leading Thielemans to discover that the boy took his own life to prevent Kittrick from sexually abusing him again. Paul is guilt-ridden over missing the signs of pedophilia and consults an expert on the subject, an older priest whose life's work has been as a paraclete (someone advocating for impaired priests). Once educated on predatory priests and discovering a poisonous seed that leaves no trace, Thielemans makes a trip back to San Diego to see Kittrick, triggering a chain of unexplained deaths occurring among the pedophile priest population in the United States. With this serial killer at work, an FBI special agent whose husband was molested by a priest is caught up in the drama, while a beautiful nun has romantic feelings for Thielemans.
Bernard Leo Remakus delivers a well-written novel in The Paraclete that is plot-driven and character-based, hitting all the right buttons. At first, you may think that the story is taking its time about getting off the ground, but be patient and keep reading because the author is setting the stage and presenting the characters in such a way that when everything starts to plunge forward a quarter of the way in, you're ready and you will enjoy the ride that is to come. The plot is something out of a blockbuster movie ripped from the headlines. The writing is deliberate, convincing, and quite an immersive read, with a few surprises thrown in. The treatment of the provocative subject matter is scathing without being exploitative or maudlin. Fans of Primal Fear, Doubt, and Spotlight will love this unnerving but satisfying page-burner. Trigger warnings apply.