Monday, 17 March 2008

Review - Hell's Fire by Chris Simms

Three local churches have been torched in as many weeks. Evidence of satanic rituals have been discovered in the smoking remains of each one. The Christian community are outraged and media interest reaches national levels. When the fourth church is burnt down the Greater Manchester Police pass the case to DI Jon Spicer and his colleagues in the Major Incident Team. The priest of this particular church tells DI Spicer about several other recent incidents, possibly involving homeless people and youths. When the smoke has cleared, a charred corpse and satanic symbols are found in the ruins of the church, and the series of arson attacks take on an even more sinister angle – suspected human sacrifice.

At the same time, Spicer’s younger sister Ellie announces that she has started to follow the Pagan way of the Wicca, despite their Catholic mother’s assertion that Wiccans are actually witches, and Wicca was a religion that would lead followers straight to Hell. Ellie, it seems, has been introduced to Wicca by a friend who works at a New Age shop and is determined to join her new friend’s coven.

Spicer thinks his sister’s decision is some form of retaliation against their mother for making Ellie and her other brother go to Sunday school as kids (Spicer himself was excused Sunday school thanks to rugby practice). Of the three siblings, it is only Spicer – the one who didn’t go to Sunday school – who has turned out relatively normal. Their brother has disappeared into the world of the homeless.

Meanwhile, Spicer’s wife is trying to persuade him that they should send their daughter Holly to the happy clappy Church of England nursery because of its links to the better primary and secondary schools in the area. In case you hadn’t guessed, this a book that has a lot to say about religion, and about Christianity in particular.
I could not believe this was written by the same person who wrote Killing the Beasts and the subsequent DI Spicer books. Read my full review at the Bookbag.

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