Cop, Journalist Join Forces to Solve Crime
The Enemy of God
By Robert Daley
Harcourt, 2006, $14
Why did Father Frank Redmond fall to his death from a tenement roof near his church in Harlem?
It is a question facing the priest's two closest friends from childhood.
Originally there were four. They attended public school together and graduated from Fordham.
Gabe Driscoll rose through the ranks of the New York City Police Department to become chief of Internal Affairs. Andrew Troy became a prize-winning newspaper writer. Earl Finley became an assistant district attorney in New York. Finley is deceased.
The remaining two, Driscoll and Troy, have difficulty accepting the cause of death as suicide. They don't believe their friend would do such a thing, and besides, suicide is a sin in the eyes of the Catholic Church. Even more so, they see Frank Redmond as a man with too much energy and too much interest in the downtrodden and oppressed to abandon his cause.
Gabe and Andy set out to find the facts.
To uncover the truth, writer Robert Daley takes the two back some 35 years to their childhood and college days, their family problems, love affairs, work issues and a common love, swimming. Daley tells his story in a series of flashbacks sandwiched between their investigation efforts.
They want to find out what involvement could have led Frank to take his own life, or could have led to his murder by parties unknown.
As they dig into the facts, they learn little-known details about Frank and about each other. They learn of Frank's youthful and tragic love affair with Roxanne (Rocky), who later became the wife, then the widow, of Earl. They also learn about Frank's adventures as a chaplain in Vietnam and as an unorthodox missionary in Africa, plus his activist service in a crime-ridden area of Harlem. They are puzzled by the cold detachment of Frank's superior at the Harlem church.
The mystery unfolds between tidbits of the past until Driscoll and Troy find that the answer was at their fingertips all the time.
"The Enemy of God" is a mystery told in biographical sketches about the four men, but it is also a love story. The depth of character development for the most part offsets the slow pace of the plot.
Daley is the author of 16 novels and 11 works of nonfiction. His books include "Year of the Dragon" and "Prince of the City." He splits his time between Connecticut and Nice, France.
Florence Gilkeson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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