4 out of 4 stars
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The view outside his new office is a graveyard. In it, Tommy sees a big man in fishing overalls looking off towards the ocean, an old woman in a heavy blue wool jacket, and a boy playing in the snow. Being a young priest, Father Tommy Hickey’s assignment to the small fishing port of Galilee at the Church of Saint Peter was a disappointment. His seven years at seminary school and topping his class seemed to have been a waste. He arrived at the church to an icy welcome, learning of the death of Father Gilday and his new role as the only father in the church and area. He is also the sole resident of the parish, making for a lonely first night.
The people of Galilee are also strange; some are cagey and cautious, while others seem weary and tormented. Father Hickey develops compassion for the troubled and vows to help them achieve tranquility. However, he quickly realizes he may be taking up more than he understands or can handle. Galilee has a hidden and gruesome past that no one is willing to talk about, and it seems to be catching up with the residents. Before Father Hickey can take it all in, a parishioner comes to him in desperate need of help. He narrates an extraordinary tale of the past clashing with the present in a spiritual versus mortal battle. Is Father Hickey up to the task? Who are the people in the graveyard, and what is their connection to the happenings in Galilee?
The book’s partly humorous introduction instantly draws the reader to the story. The author expertly introduces each character and progressively develops them as the story unfolds. The description of the scenes and settings are exquisite and highly detailed. I could feel the freezing winter temperature or see and smell the savory dishes. The story is also full of suspense and tension as one yearns to learn more about the characters, their fears, and the reason for their behaviors. The vivid description of the characters makes them realistic and distinguishable based on their physical traits and personalities.
My favorite aspect of the book is the clues the author leaves in every chapter, painting a picture of what might be going on without disclosing the full details. I equally love the blunt depiction of the Catholic faith, including the controversies and the creative use of Bible stories to come up with a fascinating and thought-provoking plot. However, my least favorite aspect of the book is the conclusion. Everything unfolded fast and quietly, not living up to the build-up. Additionally, the book is definitely thrilling but not so much a horror as categorized.
I found only one grammatical error, evidence of the book’s professional and excellent editing. The language employed is intelligible with slight use of profanities. The story exclusively draws from the Catholic Church, portraying God as the supreme deity. It has numerous Bible verses and personalities and has several instances of prayers. This might not sit well with those of an alternate or non-religion. Galilee by D. L. Tracey is a fascinating and incredible read that shows various aspects of death and the afterlife, good and evil. It also depicts the mistakes, resilience, and power that come with being human. The book’s final paragraph leaves one in suspense and yearning for the next part of the story. I recommend it to readers looking for a captivating novel that combines elements of faith and mystery. I happily award Galilee a rating of 4 out of 4 stars.
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