Most helpful positive review
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 3 July 2011
I've enjoyed every one of Fairstein's novels, including this one. She's one of those authors who uses facts very well. Too well for some who suggest that they're actually unbelievable fiction.
'Old' St Pats in New York exists, as do the other places described in 'Silent Mercy'.
'Circus Trains' exist, and are used today by at least two circuses in the USA - including Ringling Bros/Barnum and Bailey (I believe one is based in Florida !).
The Magisterium, the Danube Seven, the First Lateran Council, Canon Law (and the way it's used) and a host of other people, places, and events are all factual, and Fairstein skillfully includes them in the plot. It's often the case that 'fact is stranger than fiction'. For example, many practising Catholics have been excommunicated or 'silenced' after speaking out for women's rights, equality, or stating that abortion should be allowed in certain circumstances (rape victims/likely death of the mother).
These, and others, are not, as one reviewer claims - 'unbelievable'. They are facts, and they are going on today.
Penikese Island exists and yes, it was a leper colony during the dates given. It's now a home for 'disturbed' boys, and has been since the 70's !
There are 'male only' Pentecostal churches that claim young men can 'find Jesus' through violent martial arts.
Fairstein doesn't have to make anything up !
Even the cross-examination of the Bishop is based on a verbatim transcript of a deposition given by Bishop Curry of Los Angeles before a child sex abuse trial. The deposition is actually far, far worse, and is very real (see 'The Case of the Pope', Geoffrey Robertson QC, appendix A)
Okay, some people have no interest in the news, or the thousands of clerical child abuse scandals that have come to light in the last decade, with more being added almost daily. That's no reason to say that they are fiction.
Yes, I've studied and researched church/religious history for many years, but I don't know how anyone can have missed last year's Irish reports, or the excommunication of the doctors who carried out an abortion on a pregnant (with twins) 9 year old in Brazil, and her devout mother (the child would have died, along with the twins, if the pregnancy had continued), but NOT the child's rapist (her father).
Should religion and it's extremes be a subject for a crime thriller ? Of course it should, and in real life it's no 'coincidence' (as one reviewer states) that many Sex Crimes Units have to deal with the religious, both as victims and perpetrators, on a daily basis.
Dozens of US cities and their DA's/Special Victims Teams have become involved in these cases recently. They involve thousands of abusive clergymen and tens of thousands of victims from numerous faiths and denominations.
Fairstein and other authors are no longer willing to ignore these events or situations, and are including them in their novels.
We should welcome this.
As the author says, she wants her readers to learn something, and with this offering, like all her previous ones, you will. It might even inspire you to go out and learn more.
After all, you never know what's going to come up in a pub quiz !