One cold spring morning in County Cork, two fishermen find a bundle of rags floating in the Blackwater River. It is the bloated body of Father Heaney. His hands and feet are bound, and his neck bears the marks of garrotting wire. Worse still, he has been castrated.
When a second priest is found murdered, his body bruised and beaten and the same savage wound hidden beneath his soutane, Detective Inspector Katie Maguire finds evidence of a sinister cover-up at St Joseph's Orphanage.
But the Catholic diocese still wields considerable power here, and the Garda are under pressure to close the case. Katie has to work alone if she is to catch the killer in time - but first she must shatter a wall of silence that for decades has hidden a terrible secret.
A secret that is beyond belief...
'Broken Angels' is a gripping novel that hooks you up from the first chapter to the last. Again, as with the first novel in the Katie Maguire series, we have several gruesome scenes of torture and mutilation which require a good empty stomach. At some points I found myself wincing and biting my nails and knuckles.
The novel starts with the discovery of a corpse by the river. Detective Superintendent Katie Maguire is immediately called upon the scene. The body is that of a parish priest still in his black soutane. He was the victim of a homicide since he was bound all over with wire and heavily bruised. He had also been castrated. Father Heaney, the victim, was one of a number of priests at the centre of a scandal a few years back involving child abuse.
Soon after, a second priest (who was also involved in that scandal), is abducted, tortured, similarly mutilated and murdered. The discovery of his body, puts Katie in a race against time to catch a vicious serial killer who is targeting priests with questionable pasts.
The investigation takes Katie to the St.Joseph's Orphanage where horrible abuses on children by priests allegedly took place in the past. For some reason, instead of helping her, the powerful Catholic Diocese leads Katie to a wrong direction. This convinces her that there is more than meets the eye around these murders. What filth is the diocese so desperately trying to hide? If Katie is to solve these murders, she has to find her way through a tangled web of corruption, secrets and transgressions within the diocese.
As I was reading 'Broken Angels', I had the feeling that this novel was written by a completely different author than the first one. In fact, I found the text so much more flowing and the reading so much more delightful than 'White Bones'. This could be because the author has written this novel many years after the first one or because when compared to the first novel, the use of Irish slang was reduced to a minimum.
I rated this book a strong 4 and not a 5 because once again I felt that the side stories and characters in this novel were left quite flat and needed some more beefing up. On the other hand we learn a lot more about Katie and her family and her tenacious character just makes you love her. All in all, this was a terrific read with a strong plot and I highly recommend it.