Wednesday 21 November 2018

An infallible plotter

The Remnant By Christy Kenneally Hodder Ireland ?13.99 The Pope is dying and, as His Holiness begins his transition to the next life, an unholy civil war breaks out as a secret militant group of ultra-conservative clerics within the Catholic Church and, in particular the Vatican, starts a bloody campaign to ensure their man becomes the next person to sit on the throne of

THRILLERS/POPULAR FICTION

The Remnant By Christy Kenneally Hodder Ireland ?13.99 The Pope is dying and, as His Holiness begins his transition to the next life, an unholy civil war breaks out as a secret militant group of ultra-conservative clerics within the Catholic Church and, in particular the Vatican, starts a bloody campaign to ensure their man becomes the next person to sit on the throne of St Peter.

They call themselves The Remnant and they fight dirty, taking no prisoners as they remove any liberal clerics who might thwart their plans to start a new Crusade against Islam.

But their plans to hijack the Church become a lot less cut and dried when Fr Michael Flaherty reluctantly accepts an appointment to the Vatican department headed by the ambitious African-American Cardinal J Arthur Thomas.

A former US Marine, Fr Flaherty, alerted by his close friend - a New York police detective - Mal O'Donnell that the unexplained deaths of prominent radical clergy in New York have been linked to a man who has fled to Rome, goes on the hunt. When Mal and sidekick Detective Rosa Torres join him in Rome, the final showdown in the Papal apartments is not far off.

The plot of The Remnant is, of course, as completely over the top as The Da Vinci Code but that doesn't matter because, with his sparkling dialogue, deft characterisations and vivid sense of place, Christy Kenneally has the reader in the palm of his hand from page one as the action speeds from continent to continent.

Kenneally is well known to TV viewers here for his appearances on No Frontiers. But soon he could be even better known as a thriller writer.

With The Remnant, Kenneally, whose debut Second Son was a big hit, has pulled off the not-always-realised achievement of delivering a second thriller even more compelling than the first.

- Myles McWeeney

Toppling Miss April By Adrienne Dines Transita Books, st£7.99 If you've ever read a book that you couldn't decide was really great or really awful, then Toppling Miss April may bring back strong feelings. The story brings together a sex-mad lady of 'a certain age', a sexually naive 18-year-old, a prudish priest and his gay brother, and lots of battenburg cakes and porn magazines in between.

Transita is a new publisher, producing books for mature women, and the author has Irish connections. The story centres on Monica Moran, an older woman who has recently been bereaved and has a voracious sexual appetite. When she returns home 20 years later to the small town of Tullabeg to stay with the priest's housekeeper Bernadette Teegan, all hell breaks loose.

Monica develops a 'friendship' with Bernadette's 18-year-old nephew, scuppering her plans to marry the local bachelor and, with her cheap perfume and over-flowing bosom, turns Bernadette's carefully ordered existence into chaos.

Full of clever crossed wires and accompanied by a strong whiff of the menopause, Toppling Miss April is an outrageous tale of sex among the over-50s. It's a ridiculous riot!

- Emma Walsh

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