Pray for Us Sinners by Philip Luber

Fawcett (first), 1998

Psychiatrist Harry Kline, Concord, Mass. widower, reluctantly agrees to help his girlfriend, FBI agent and former prosecutor Veronica Pace (although Kline’s daughter and others think he’s too old to have a “girlfriend”) discover who killed her mother in a break-in twenty years earlier. A nine-year-old Veronica had been in the house, saw her mother killed, held a gun on the intruder but couldn’t fire, and she has lived with the terror of the moment ever since. Luber writes very well, his characters are fully-formed and attractive, and the introduction of a couple of the Boston mob is a neat touch, but with all that and a good premise to boot, Luber has no story to tell. Kline takes us on a drive from Watertown to Concord and a walk from Concord center to the “rude bridge that arched the flood;” he writes about the “smart” people (should it be “gifted” people?) buried in the Concord cemetery, and how McLean Hospital differs from the VA hospital in Bedford — too much about irrelevant matters that only make it clear that there isn’t a full blown plot. Kline’s an interesting character, and he should be given the opportunity to prove that he can be less self-obsessed and more open to understanding the women in his life. I’d make an appointment for the return engagement — provided Luber has a story to tell, because he writes too well to waste the effort on nothing very much. (Kathy Phillips)

Originally published in Issue # 152 – January/February 1998

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