Blog Tour: Reprobate, Consuming Fire, and Sound; Catherine Fearns

Series Review: Reprobate, Consuming Fire, and Sound; Catherine Fearns

 

Reprobate; Catherine Fearns Consuming Fire, Catherine Fearns Sound; Catherine Fearns 

Mystery/Fantasy: Reprobate, Consuming Fire, and Sound; Catherine Fearns

Blog Tour November 18, 2020

 

Being a reader who enjoys multiple genres I really love it when an author freely crosses genre lines. Catherine Fearns has done this wonderfully well in a trilogy of books published in the last couple of years. Reprobate, Consuming Fire, and Sound are mysteries wrapped with ancient and spiritual secrets galore. Think demons and obscure Christian sects meet technology meet greed resulting in murder.

 

 

Reprobate

Reprobate; Catherine Fearns

The three books follow two main characters. Sister Helen is a nun in a Calvinist abbey. She also lectures at a nearby Liverpool university on various spiritual topics, including eschatology (end times, what happens after death, etc.). When a man is murdered and his body left crucified on a local beach with a Bible verse written in red on the cross, she is consulted by the police as a subject matter expert.

 

Darren is the Detective Inspector who calls Sister Helen to consult. He is gay, an unbeliever after growing up in a very strict fundamentalist church in Liverpool. He does not know what to make of the spiritual implications of this (and subsequent) crimes but they raise many questions in his mind about faith and God and eternity.

 

There is no single “reprobate” in this book, but rather several that could wear that title. Sister Helen has begun questioning her vows, questions that take on new importance as her friendship with Mikko, a death-metal singer, grows deeper. Darren’s parents reject him and his boyfriend, considering them both irredeemable sinners. The main suspect is a scientific reprobate, daring to use genetics to accomplish spiritual ends. Faith and dogma and science and grace flow throughout the book, and the ending includes several twists that lead nicely into the next book.

 

Consuming Fire

Consuming Fire, Catherine Fearns

The second book of the trilogy takes us into spiritual aspects that were teased in the first book. They are laid bare in this novel. Sister Helen has made some serious life changes. She continues to teach at the university and continues to question her own faith and actions. Darren and his firefighter boyfriend Matt are engaged and beginning wedding plans. Although they seldom meet at work, when a woman seemingly spontaneously combusts in the middle of a Liverpool sidewalk, their jobs intersect.

 

Soon thereafter, a truck carrying eight men who were possibly illegal immigrants also bursts into flame, killing all eight of them. Darren suspects this is somehow tied to one of two men, both of whom were old-school gangsters, both of whom hated the other, and both of whom seemed to the public to have gone straight. Still, although this sort of thing would not be out of character for either of them, the question of “how” they might have started the fires remains unanswered.

 

Strangely enough, the questions of spontaneous human combustion have possible connections to forms of demon worship, and Sister Helen’s research leads her to a small village near Geneva. Along with Darren she travels there and meets the mother of a prominent resident of Liverpool, a resident who happens to have connections to both of the suspected gangsters. Convinced that he is right, Darren is determined to bring one or both men to justice. Before he can accomplish this goal, tragedy strikes and everything changes.

 

Again, the spiritual and the physical realms intersect repeatedly in this book. I will freely admit, there are many things in this world I do not understand. There are things I cannot explain. I tend to favor a scientific explanation, but one is not always available at the ready. This book leaves many things open, many questions about what relationship our world may have with another plane. Although those answers may not be found here, again we have an excellent mystery filled with unexpected twists.

 

Sound

Sound; Catherine Fearns

A university lecturer in acoustics dies suddenly in his office. Although it seems to be a heart attack, a USB stick addressed to the police is in his outbox. Later, another acoustics lecturer is killed in gory and gruesome fashion. Although this one is clearly a murder, no one has a clue as to the murder weapon.

 

Darren has just returned from extended leave and is trying to keep busy. He is preparing for the trial of the suspects from the first book. He also takes on this case. One of the suspects he had from the second book is still free and Darren believes he is still up to mischief. Tying him to these new murders, though, seems like quite the stretch, and few people are willing to accept his logic.

 

One exception is Sister Helen. She also believes there is a spiritual, demonic, force at work in Liverpool, and she wants to track it down. She agrees with Darren that it is tied to their suspect. When a mysterious wealthy benefactor looks to buy all the homes in a distressed neighborhood and shelter the residents in empty downtown apartments at no charge, Helen and Darren become convinced that their wealthy and powerful nemesis is pulling the strings.

 

Again, technology and demonology take turns within the plot. Sound as a weapon. Sound as a portent. Sound as a means of summoning the other world. Throw in a virgin birth (or two?), a possible infiltrator into heaven, and a three-way battle for the souls of Liverpool, and you have a very kaleidoscopic view of a mystery that is much deeper than it seems.

 

Although this is a trilogy, I will admit that I want more. Catherine Fearns is an excellent writer. The plots are intricate, the twists are compelling, the characters are fascinating and complex. I hope that we see more from this intriguing and unorthodox (in so many ways) duo.

 

Catherine Fearns banner Reprobate, Consuming Fire, and Sound; Catherine Fearns

Our thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting us on this blog tour and for providing the books in exchange for our honest review. Check out the other bloggers on this tour for more perspectives. The opinions here are solely those of Scintilla.

 

Reprobate; Catherine Fearns Consuming Fire, Catherine Fearns Sound; Catherine Fearns 

Series Review: Reprobate, Consuming Fire, and Sound; Catherine Fearns

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