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Sacred Prey [Paperback]

VIVIAN SCHILLING
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 29 1996
Killing a young couple that were unable to pay him back, loan shark Adam Claiborne is terrified when he confesses to an unfamiliar priest who refuses to absolve him, and he wakes up to discover himself in the body of his own victim. Reprint. LJ.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

A present-day Scrooge with an evil bent, wealthy New Orleans oilman Adam Claiborne, who has taken up loan sharking during the recession, tracks down and kills a young couple who have failed to pay off their debt. The next day, he goes to church, expecting to receive absolution as usual from his sycophantic confessor, but instead finds a new priest who tells him, "Until you know the sorrows of your victims, your sins cannot be forgiven." Claiborne's sleep that night is troubled, and he wakes to find himself in the body of one of his victims, Charlie Sinclair. With Charlie's wife Monique, he must live through the inexorable chain of events leading to the murders while trying to somehow redeem himself in time to save their lives. Screenwriter Schilling shows deft storytelling ability in her first novel; starting with the timeworn premise of an unrepentant sinner receiving his supernatural comeuppance, she manages to keep the plot fresh, lively and supplied with plenty of suspenseful twists. The story's effectiveness is sometimes marred by wooden prose, but in general this is a promising debut that will surely entertain genre devotees.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

In this suspenseful thriller, New Orleans loan shark Adam Claiborne kills a couple he believes has cheated him. When he is refused absolution and told he must see the world through the eyes of his victims, he awakens to find himself in the body of one of them--three days before Adam murdered him. He learns that his victims were innocent and tries to prevent the murders. But in spite of himself, he continues to duplicate the actions that led to the murders. If he cannot break free of this pattern, not only will the couple die but so will their child. This amoral, Catholic-by-the-motions man discovers that he is a better person than he thought. While this first novel is occasionally confusing (given two simultaneous Adams, with differing understandings of what is going on), it is generally well done and deserves to be in most suspense collections.
- Marylaine Block, St. Ambrose Univ. Lib., Davenport, Ia.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars REPLAY IS SOMETIMES THE ONLY WAY TO REDEMPTION... June 19 2003
By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
This is a novel with an intriguing premise. It details the story of a wealthy, prominent business man, Adam Claiborne, who has a loan sharking sideline for which he is the brains and his brother, Kyle, is the brawn. Adam shells out cash to those unfortunates who are unable to secure a loan through more legitimate means. Kyle is the collector who enforces a draconian repayment plan.
Adam is also an unhappily married family man and a devout Catholic, who routinely gets absolution from his parish priest for his inevitable sins, including murder, in connection with his thriving loan sharking operation. When his regular parish priest becomes unavailable, a new priest refuses to follow suit, until Adam has had an opportunity to walk in the shoes of his victims.
Adam awakens the next morning only to find himself in the body of Charlie Sinclair, one of three victims he had just killed two days before. He soon realizes that time has been rolled back three days, time in which he must find a way to forestall the events that he knows lie ahead. As he relives the experiences of Charlie Sinclair, his old self, Adam, is also reliving the events.
The plot, while intriguing, fails to answer an important question. If Adam is now in Charlie's body, who the heck is in Adam's body? It is ostensibly Adam, but how can he be in two bodies at once? There is also some confusion on the issue of the timing. The murders in question happened on the night before Adam went to confession. He goes to bed and the next day is Sunday, only he discovers as Charlie that it is again Thursday, claiming that it is three days before his murder. This timeline is simply not possible and representative of very poor editing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare Find Nov. 27 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Schilling skillfully weaves suspense, mystery and philosphical insight in her page-turning debut. I was hooked immediately after her slam-bang opening, and could not put the book down until I finished the entire novel! The concept that "truth" is a matter of one's perspective underscores the many moral obstacles that her characters face... especially the antagonist - turned - protagonist ADAM, who is forced to see the world from another's perspective. If this novel is not made into a HUGE hit movie, then someone in Hollywood is asleep. In an era in which movie going audiences have been forced to endure vapid storylines set against ever more cacophonic effects (such as the wholly unsatisfying "Armageddon" to name but one), it's refreshing that Vivian Schilling, predominantly known as a screenwriter, is focusing on plot, character and true insight to tell a completely satisfying tale. I strongly recommend "SACRED PREY" to all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fast, unique and thrilling read! Oct. 24 2003
By Kate
Format:Hardcover
I ordered Sacred Prey after reading Schilling's second novel, Quietus. I was expecting another book like Quietus, and was quite surprised how different Sacred Prey turned out to be. While equally unique and riveting, Sacred Prey is clearly Schilling's first novel. Her prose are not on the same polished level as Quietus, but her story-telling ability is strong none-the-less. After I stopped expecting Quietus and approached the book with an open mind, I found myself once again taken in by Schilling's adept story-telling and insight into the human condition. Schilling writes so vividly that the characters begin living and breathing in your every waking hour. Sacred Prey is a very fast read that is great for a weekend trip. In it, you will see the masterful author that emerges so beautifully in Quietus. I can't wait to see what Schilling does with her next novel! I am now a devoted reader!
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