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Beyond the Bridge    by Tom MacDonald Amazon.com order for
Beyond the Bridge
by Tom MacDonald
Order:  USA  Can
Oceanview, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Dermot Sparhawk, whom many readers met in Tom MacDonald's award-winning debut novel, The Charlestown Connection, is back in Beyond the Bridge. If you already met Dermot, you know he is an alcoholic. He struggles with his addiction, not really winning the battle but unwilling to give up. He does manage to drink a prodigious amount of alcohol.

Dermot agrees to help the brother of a priest who was accused of being a pedophile. The priest has been murdered and slandered. The brother wants to know who killed his brother and to have his brother's reputation restored.

Two more priests are killed each crucified. It looks like the work of a crazed serial killer. Dermot starts an investigation that is a bit off the norm and manages to rile the people he is trying to help. This tale started off a little slowly for me. Just couldn't keep focused. But as the pages turned, I fell deeper and deeper into the spell of this thriller.

As Dermot gets further along on his quest, he picks up odd helpers here and there a parish priest, a police-lab criminalist, the district attorney and a state police lieutenant. A very diverse group who work out the killer's motive but manage to start a turf war with law enforcement. Dermot also draws on help from his Micmac Indian cousin, a paraplegic who needed a home, and a former Boston College teammate. All of these great characters carry the plot along as they also stand by Dermot when he tumbles off the wagon.

A great read to while away lazy summer hours. No lazy hours in your forecast? Still a good read to work on when a few minutes respite pops up from time to time.

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