4 out of 4 stars
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A Burning in the Darkness is an exciting crime novel written by AP McGrath.
Michael Kieh, a kind and gentle African priest from Liberia, is a full time faith representative in an airport in London. A familiar voice of a penitent in the confessional box alerts him of murder and puts him in the scene of the crime. Bound by the Seal of Confession, Father Michael is unable to exculpate himself by naming the culprit, and the only witness who can identify the penitent is a young boy who sees the man enter the confessional box.
Told in the third person perspective, the book is a fast-paced crime drama that will tear the hearts of readers. The author uses flashbacks to develop the protagonist’s character and strategically places them between the present account to heighten the suspense. The story is dark and intense, and the mood is set in the beginning of the story and is maintained throughout the book.
The book covers multiple themes including greed, fear, courage, honor, integrity, love and hate among others. The author adeptly takes the readers to a place and time of unrest and describes brutality and carnage that are both dejecting and appalling. Moreover, the author conveys another facet of men of the cloth but does so cautiously and respectfully that the readers find it easier to empathize with their plight.
I think the best part of the book is the ultimate question it asks of all the readers which is the choice between altruism and self- preservation. Imbedded in an exciting piece of literature is a hypothetical question about ethics and principle, whose life is more important, yours or someone else’s, and if the former, is it worth your sacrifice? Furthermore, this book is more than a novel. It is an exposure of men’s weaknesses and indiscretions, greed and corruption.
However, I found the shift in the timeline of the story, as well as the flash back and fast forward, a little confusing. There were also scenes that I found not smoothly segued. In addition, the author seems to have focused mainly on the protagonist, leaving the minor characters seemingly underdeveloped. Aside from Father Michael, my favorite character is Detective Lenislake. He is the epitome of an upstanding police officer. Finally, though I believe the use of broken English is to make some of the dialogues more realistic, it also made them difficult to read and understand. Other readers may find it a little vexing.
I, therefore, rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It is an exciting, intense and, suspenseful, albeit dark, crime novel. It is also a book about love, forgiveness, and letting go. Finally, it is a story about the uncertainty of man’s fate, like finding love, losing it and finding it again if it’s really meant to be, as well as doing something you have always thought was your calling when you were actually destined for something entirely different. I recommend it to readers who enjoy crime stories as well as stories of true and enduring love.
A Burning in the Darkness
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