: John Desjarlais
When classics professor Reed Stubblefield is disabled in a school shooting, he retreats to a rural Illinois cabin to recover and write a book on Aristotle.
Oddly, in the chill of early March, the campgrounds and motels of tiny River Falls are filled with the ill and infirm -- all seeking the healing touch of the town's new parish priest, reputed to be a stigmatic, who bears on his hands and feet the wounds of Christ.
Skeptical about religion, Reed is nevertheless drawn into a friendship with the cleric, Rev. Ray Boudreau, an amiable Aquinas scholar with a fine library.
Then, as Fr. Boudreau carries the Cross up to the altar during solemn Good Friday services, he collapses and bleeds to death right in front of his horrified parishioners.
Or bloody murder?
Discovering he's the prime suspect in the unexplained death of his friend, Reed races to find the truth before he gets arrested . . . or killed.
Because not everyone in town wants this mystery solved.