The Paraclete

Fiction - Religious Theme
477 Pages
Reviewed on 03/02/2021
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

Bernard Leo Remakus, M.D. is a native of Wilkes-Barre, Pa. He received his B.S. degree from King's College, M.Ed. degree from East Stroudsburg State College, and M.D. degree from the Temple University School of Medicine. He completed a three-year residency in Internal Medicine at Abington Memorial Hospital, which led to his certification as a Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine.

Dr. Remakus has practiced internal medicine in a rural, physician-shortage area of Northeastern Pennsylvania for 42 years. During that time, he has published five novels - The Paraclete, Keystone, Cassidy's Solution, Mia, and The Lame Duck; three works of non-fiction - The Malpractice Epidemic: A Layman's Guide To Medical Malpractice, Medicine From The Heart, and Medicine Between The Lines; one screenplay, Mia; and one book of poetry - Superstar. His medical thriller, The Lame Duck won a bronze medal in the 2019 Readers' Favorite International Book Awards.

Dr. Remakus has also published more than 200 articles in medical journals. From 1991 to 2002, he was the featured columnist and a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the medical publication, Internal Medicine World Report. His column in that publication had the distinction of being one of the most widely read and longest running physician-written columns in America.

    Book Review

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.

Maureen Dangarembizi

The Paraclete by Bernard Leo Remakus is a contemporary Christian thriller centered around the Catholic church and its many current woes. Father Thielemans is a man well-rooted in his beliefs, so much so that he has written several books and talked at many events in his zealous crusade to reawaken the Catholic church to its former glory in the United States. While on his way to an event in Hawaii, he makes a stop at Saint Declan’s Roman Catholic church in San Diego. In his brief encounter with the resident priest, Father Thielemans also meets Bobby Kucera, a thirteen-year-old altar boy who he later finds out was a victim of sexual abuse by a priest. After Bobby’s suicide, Father Thielemans is torn up with guilt. Could he have saved the boy before it was too late? When pedophilic priests start turning up dead in the wake of his visits the FBI suspects Father Thielemans. Just how much does this man of the cloth hate sexual predators and is he willing to kill?

As a former Catholic, The Paraclete made me sad and angry in equal parts. The topic of child molesters has risen in the Catholic church and I believe the way Rome has dealt with the problem is criminal. This book shows the damage being done to young boys and girls not only currently but even in their later years. I applaud Bernard Leo Remakus for writing this book that goes a long way in making it clear pedophiles must pay for their crimes. There is a lot to think about as several Catholic doctrines are brought to light and exposed as not only manmade but very damaging. One of the sad things was when a priest says he would have loved to have a family and still serve God. Not everything in the book is negative. The author does a good job of showing the good things the church has done too. The Catholic church still has some of the best schools in the world. I enjoyed this book.

Stephanie Chapman

What would you do if you suspected a child was being sexually molested by a person that holds the position of great respect? Father Paul Thielemans faces this question in The Paraclete. Bernard Leo Remakus writes a tale with the Catholic Church falling under scrutiny. After a baffling encounter with Priest Kittrick and altar boy Bobby Kucera, Thielemans embarks on a trip to Hawaii via a cruise on the Eurodam. While he is on the cruise, he befriends a group of fellow Catholic priests and nuns. Throughout the trip, Thielemans gains insight into the dark side of pedophilia occurring in many parishes from Priest Prosky. After giving a speech promoting his book Catholicism Astray, the priest discovers that Bobby has committed suicide. Upset that he could have possibly intervened, he contacts the parish, only to be blamed for the suicide by Kittrick. Upon returning stateside, Sister Michelle becomes his secretary and schedules his book promotion tour. During his trip, Thielemans finds himself being interrogated for a string of murders.

The Paraclete is a fascinating book that focuses on the Catholic Church. While Bernard Leo Remakus wrote this as fiction, many of the topics addressed by the priests apply to realistic views on Catholicism. I liked Thielemans' character development; he was a devout follower of the Catholic church, but he was also a man that could succumb to normal feelings. A perfect example would be his response in one of the interrogations. The interrogator asked how he felt about pedophiles and his response was “they are beyond redemption.” I know that priests are supposed to love and forgive all people, yet I could empathize with his hatred. I found all the supporting characters to be well-developed, and the timeline was easy to follow. My recommendation for The Paraclete is for readers interested in viewing rules of the Catholic Church being questionable. The book deserves a 5-star rating with the suspense, colorful cast of characters, and thought-provoking dialogue.

Romuald Dzemo

The Paraclete by Bernard Leo Remakus is a spellbinding psychological thriller with strong and well-developed religious themes. Father Paul Thielemans, a Belgian Catholic theologian and author on a leave of absence to write, teach, and lecture in the United States, is traveling from one city to another to give a lecture, attend a meeting, or do a book signing. He visits a church in San Diego where he meets a Parish Priest and a thirteen-year-old altar boy, Robert Kucera. A few days after the meeting with Father Gordon Kittrick, Robert Kucera jumps off a bridge into the San Diego Bay, dressed in his cassock and surplice. Thielemans is shocked when he hears the news and blames himself for not recognizing signs of pedophilia when he visited the priest. Thielemans seeks advice from an elderly priest who has advocated for priests, but the discovery of a poison changes everything. His visit to the Parish Priest starts off a series of deaths among pedophile priests. Soon, an FBI agent begins to suspect the theologian, but her husband had been abused by a priest as a child.

This is a well-written story that features likable characters. The author shows mastery of the clerical world, creating situations and a religious setting that is familiar to readers. Father Paul Thielemans is a sophisticated character, a well-informed priest and polyglot who is forward-thinking and who is genuinely flawed. The Paraclete features writing that is crisp and bold, and a theme that has been a subject of controversy in the Catholic Church for over a decade now — pedophilia amongst priests. The characters are tautly-developed and readers can easily relate to them — from Mother at the kitchen, to the bishops and priests, to the nun who secretly loves the theologian. Bernard Leo Remakus is a gifted storyteller and the author has the gift of creating characters that instantly capture the sympathy of readers, putting them in dilemmas that make the story even more captivating. This is a page-turner and a story that explores a weakness in the Church that has cost her a lot.

Vincent Dublado

The Paraclete vigorously attacks issues of child abuse within the confines of the Catholic Church, and Bernard Leo Remakus positions it as a crime thriller. At the heart of the story is Father Paul Thielemans, a traveling theologian and author giving lectures and meetings to Catholic institutions. He meets Father Kittrick, nephew of Bishop Joseph Grannick. Kittrick was a former athlete in his college days, and Thielemans finds nothing wrong with the priest coaching young boys to wrestle in his private gym. But when Bobby Kucera, one of Kittrick’s altar boys, committed suicide to escape sexual abuse, Thielemans exhausts all means to find out the truth. He will seek out the advice of an expert and discover a lethal poison that causes a number of priests to drop like flies. An FBI agent is on his tail, suspecting him of being a serial killer responsible for the murders.

In the age of the #MeToo Movement, many cases of sexual abuse can no longer be concealed. The use of the church as an institution marred by disturbing pedophilic cases has become the occupation of a lone crusader who belongs in the same institution. Here we see a man who is not much torn by the moral decision of leaving the church, but more of developing a fixation to rectify matters like an angel that carries a sword. Bernard Leo Remakus ingeniously injects a subplot where Thielemans meets a young girl named Michelle, and their moments give you incremental ideas until you reach the resolution. The Paraclete similarly argues that men of the cloth are only humans who are susceptible to the temptations of the flesh and that the venerated institution they serve is no refuge for the crimes they commit. It is a timely work of fiction that is more about the crime-solving mystery than being a moral statement.