For I Have Sinned by Kristen Houghton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I'll start by saying I'm really pissed off at Kristen Houghton. Her well-written book cost me a good night's sleep, because I stayed up waaay too late to finish it. I've read several things by this writer and liked them. Without a doubt, this is her best book yet.
Kristen Houghton proves there is room for one more tough, sexy PI with the introduction of Cate Harlow, who takes her place alongside PI Warshawski and Stephanie Plum.
Houghton takes a lead from the headlines to discuss pedophilia in the priesthood. A year before the book opens, Cate found the body of a terribly mutilated man. The story is buried; the man was not. Ten years later in current time, she takes a job to find a teen who vanished the same year as the murder. The missing person case is long cold, but Cate displays a soft heart for the downtrodden. A well-drawn character with many levels of meaning, she begins delving into what happened to the boy when her ex husband and homicide detective calls her in the middle of the night to come to a crime scene. There she sees the mutilated body of another man, this one wearing a priest's collar, a lot of blood and nothing else.
The new murder is eerily similar to the older one, although the first body wasn't identified as a priest. She is troubled by the collar and a Latin message written inside. Cate and Will, the ex, combine with Cate's current boyfriend, the medical examiner, to figure out what happened.
Secondary characters are fully fleshed out, providing a rich tapestry of human behavior, desire and motive. From a pair of homeless men to a friendly neighbor to a mysterious man who appears without much warning, Houghton gives us characters that are real. You want to know what happens to them. You want to know their history, their backstory if you will. You want to know how each fits into the tapestry of a terrible murder.
The book is fast paced, well written and brings to light a delightful character in Cate Harlow and a wonderful contrasting pair of lovers. This first in a series promises hours of page-turning reading.