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Mortal Grace [Hardcover]

Edward Stewart
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

June 1 1994
A posh, upper East Side Episcopal church throws a garden party, and the dismembered body of an unknown teenaged girl is found in a long-buried hamper. Called in to investigate, Lieutenant Vince Cardozo discovers a "communion killer" on the loose in New York City. Preying on homeless teenagers, the elusive killer leaves as his trademark a communion wafer in the mouth of each victim. Cardozo's suspicions focus on three priests: Father Chuck Romero, a Catholic struggling against his attraction toward young people; Father Joe Montgomery, a flamboyant Episcopalian, confessorand companion tothe city's moneyed and powerful; and Reverend Bonnie Ruskay, a beautiful and dedicated young mother trying to breach the walls that divide rich from poor, good from evil, and herself from her own children. Searching, Cardozo finds only riddles: Why does the D.A. deny church involvement? Why have four identical murders been investigated as unrelated homicides? Why have the media blacked out the killings? Why -- when the case is finally solved and the killer jailed -- do the communion killings begin again? Racing the clock, disobeying his superiors' command to back off, fighting a cover-up at the highest level of city and church politics, Cardozo must uncover the grisly truth before another child is killed.


From the Paperback edition.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Midway through Stewart's compelling novel about the squalid side of religion, a wearied Episcopal cardinal asks, "What happened to the days when priests were content to sit in the rectory and drink themselves silly?" Well he might wonder, as the dismembered bodies of street kids are turning up around New York City, buried in hampers with traces of communion wafers lodged in their mouths. An elderly, beloved priest from a moneyed parish seems a prime suspect, much to the dismay of his (also suspect) associate--a female priest of the same parish. Enter Stewart's handsomely tousled police detective Cardozo and his savvy sidekick Ellie Siegel, who turn over assorted rocks to uncover a gaggle of fascinating characters both sad and seamy, finding that even coverups have coverups and that churchgoing is hardly what it used to be. Stewart, who probed the underbelly of N.Y.C. society in Privileged Lives and Deadly Rich (earlier victories for the Cardozo/Siegel team), strips away pious clerical veneers and brutally lays bare their sins. His hero remains an engagingly human figure, cracking wise just often enough to amuse but not irritate; the byplay with his teenage daughter continues to charm. Lurid details here might bother the squeamish, but they'd be missing a nifty read if they let that deter them.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Stewart (Deadly Rich, Dell, 1992) has written a large-scale police procedural/thriller, the third in the Cardozo series. It delves into the netherworld of sexually based crimes practiced by members of the priesthood and kept undercover through the collusion of the religious hierarchy as well as the police and press. Lt. Vince Cardozo, NYPD, is the driving force behind the initial investigation of a seemingly isolated incident. As layer upon layer of past crimes, convoluted relationships, and sexual proclivities of priests throughout New York City are brought to light through the investigative activities of Cardozo and company, the reader is shown the seamy underside of the Catholic Church. The novel keeps the reader enthralled, though the level of detail can be annoying. Overall, this is an interesting and absorbing puzzle that is worth the effort to finish even if it involves some wholesale page skipping. Recommended for larger public libraries with a strong mystery/thriller collection.
Erna Chamberlain, SUNY at Binghamton
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the few murder mystery novels in recent history that truly keeps the reader guessing "whodunnit"! Using familiar elements, the Catholic church, New York City, the plight of the homeless and runaways, Edward Stuart weaves a story of suspense and horror in everyday life. From the discovery of the first corpse through the breathtaking chase at the end, you're hooked. Once picked up, it's hard to put down. Ease yourself into your favorite chair with a good cup of coffee and say a prayer...your in for the duration
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeps you guessing until the very last pages....AMEN! April 4 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the few murder mystery novels in recent history that truly keeps the reader guessing "whodunnit"! Using familiar elements, the Catholic church, New York City, the plight of the homeless and runaways, Edward Stuart weaves a story of suspense and horror in everyday life. From the discovery of the first corpse through the breathtaking chase at the end, you're hooked. Once picked up, it's hard to put down. Ease yourself into your favorite chair with a good cup of coffee and say a prayer...your in for the duration
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good Oct. 11 2008
By Evan the Dweezil - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Runaways are turning up dead, their corpses dismembered and showing evidence of abuse and strangely enough, that they'd received communion after they'd died.

Lt. Vince Cardozo catches one of these cases and discovers a coverup of epic proportions. What he's finding out is sinking careers and ruining lives. None of that matters to him in his pursuit to find the "communion killer".

This book has a captivating storyline, but it's prone to wandering and being too long winded. I was losing track of the secondary characters because of that.
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book by this writer April 22 2013
By maurkee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Such an entertaining book-Written several years ago but portrays the Priests of
the Catholic Church as if he were reading today's headlines. Such foresight on
the author's part.
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