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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Wounded Souls by Renny Hodgskin is a powerful novel with a very strong premise, a religious thriller with exceptional characters. Monsignor Patrick Nixon takes the role of the acting bishop of the diocese of California in 2006, but being the new caretaker of the diocese and with little experience, he is greeted with 161 lawsuits of clerical sexual abuse. The Monsignor quickly learns that lawsuits are not easily mitigated and it becomes even more challenging with a litigator who seems to take it very personally. He has to navigate the complex landscape of legal problems, insurance, and financial troubles. Can the diocesan risk manager and former insurance executive, Bethany Griffin, help the bishop to successfully navigate this challenging period and pull the diocese out of legal mayhem?
This novel is so beautifully written and the juxtaposition between the mundane and the religious is interesting; a protagonist that is torn between fixing the worldly dimension of the church while keeping his soul unsullied. The way the Monsignor is introduced will catch any reader’s attention. The theme of clerical sexual abuse is central in this narrative and it is a very relevant theme. The author writes deftly about one of the challenges that the church faces in contemporary times and succeeds in exploring the complexities of the law and the shady practices of insurance companies to deliver a work of great entertainment to readers. Wounded Souls is intelligently plotted, filled with realism and drama. Renny Hodgskin’s gift for storytelling and character is among the strengths of this novel. It is a page-turner for fans of thrillers with strong religious themes.