June/July 1998

Judas Child

Carol O'Connell
Putnam 1998, 352pp
ISBN: 0-399-14380-7

review by Harriet Klausner

A priest and a psychiatrist share one trait in common: they will go to any lengths to protect the confidentiality and privacy of their clients. How far they should go is a question of moral debate, especially when the confessor is a pedophile serial killer. For fifteen years, a priest has been locked away in jail after being convicted of murdering a little girl. The town's elderly psychiatrist risks cardiac arrest before breaking the oath of confidentiality that might have changed the course of events. Fifteen years ago, Rouge Kendall's twin sister is sexually violated before being killed. Her abused corpse is found on Christmas Day.

Now a decade and a half later, with just three shopping days left till Christmas, two young girls are abducted. Forensic psychiatrist Ali Cray, neice of the town psychiatrist believes that the convicted priest is innocent and a pedophile has roamed free ever since. Rouge plans to learn the truth no matter how many skeletons must be rattled.

In a 180-degree reversal from her renowned Mallory series, Carol O'Connell scribes one of the most profound, absorbing, and thought-provoking psychological thrillers on the market today. Judas Child is a heart stopping work of suspense, starring two endearing children who capture the readers' soul from the start. Most frightening is Ms. O'Connell's ability to make the audience believe that an ordinary person can cloak the soul of an evil monster. This is a special novel that shows the eloquent and insightful writing style of a master.

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