Marking Books - The Secrets of Pain by Phil Rickman

Greg introduced me to Mr. Rickman's work over a decade ago and I've been hooked ever since. So, when we finally had our hands on The Secrets of Pain, we were more than eager for "reading time."

Being the eleventh book in the Merrily Watkins series, The Secrets of Pain takes us back to the Vicarage of Ledwardine, Herefordshire to visit with what have become a cast of "old friends." This time around, Merrily, the vicar and diocesan exorcist, finds herself in unwelcome territory for a woman and priest as she faces the Hereford-based SAS while continuing to struggle with her job, her faith, and her now eighteen-year-old daughter. Gomer, Danny, Lol, and Jane are wrapped up in their own not-quite-so-unrelated mess and DI Francis Bliss walks a rail that nearly set me off screaming at him.

Never to disappoint, Phil Rickman blurs the edges between the rational and the unexplained -- twisting reality just enough to make you wonder, all the while serving up a dose of gritty and socially conscious reality that rings as true here in the United States as it does on the Welsh border.

Although I will admit that trying to read aloud dialog from "across the pond" was tongue-tying at times for this Pennsylvanian patriot, with Greg's patience and Mr. Rickman's addictive plots and subplots, I'll be happy to take on the "hexercise" any time.

If you enjoy mystery and suspense and haven't had the pleasure of reading Phil Rickman's work, I invite you to search him out. We still must import his books here in the U.S. -- a shameful thing indeed as we feel his work should readily be available on any store's bookshelf whether it be digital or brick and mortar.

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