Foreword Reviews

The 13th Month

2015 INDIES Finalist
Finalist, Thriller & Suspense (Adult Fiction)
2015 INDIES Finalist
Finalist, Science Fiction (Adult Fiction)

Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5

Religious fiction meets thriller as a priest and a group of supernatural investigators battle the evil that plagues a town.

Evil exists. Despite mankind’s efforts to address the world’s wrongs—crime, abuse, poverty, hatred, war—they remain. And in a supernatural thriller with a spiritual basis, author Louis Paul DeGrado poses the question, What if something is causing the evil, something near impossible to fight? And it’s winning.

When a teen boy brutally kills his family, a team of investigators dig into the truth of what happened. They call in the young man’s priest, Father Frank Keller, to assist, and it soon becomes apparent to Father Frank that these aren’t average detectives. They seek to uncover and destroy the forces behind the evil that plagues the city and the world. Father Frank, a decorated war veteran, is drawn into a fight against unseen spiritual powers. As they study the teen’s case, they find a possible key to battling the nefarious entities. But those powers will seek to destroy everyone on the team and all they love. Father Frank and the team must risk everything before they lose all chance of stopping evil. Forever.

After a slow start introducing the main character, DeGrado keeps the pages turning. The plot, however, doesn’t quite hit the high adrenaline rush most thrillers aspire to. The roller coaster is there, and is worth riding, but everything seems too safe. For example, when Father Frank steps into danger before being properly trained, his nonchalance overrides any suspense: “He thought he’d be afraid, but instead, confidence built in him and told him to stand strong.” Nevertheless, the plot keeps interest up and offers several creative twists.

The characters are intriguing and well varied, which makes it pleasant to “join” them in their quests. Since the book is plot driven rather than character driven, characters aren’t very well developed. In fact, some significant players are hardly drawn out at all. As Father Frank says of one key character, “It’s times like these we realize we didn’t really know the person he was.”

DeGrado’s chilling book asks what causes evil and, more importantly, what can overcome it. He attributes the various evils in the world—from war to brutality on the streets and in homes—to a simple lack of love and understanding. He stresses the value of religious and moral people uniting to make a difference. And he highlights the impact one person can have. He suggests that the time to act is now, or our world may be overcome. And he wraps it all in a thriller filled with intrigue.

The book is presented in the Christian fiction category. However, for traditional Christian readers, it should be noted that this book does not come from a classic theological tradition, but blends Christian teaching with new age beliefs and a philosophy of the equality of all religious faiths.

Overall, the book is worth recommending to thriller fans and to spiritually minded readers who seek an adventurous book. It will offer an enjoyable diversion.

Reviewed by Diane Gardner

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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